Ryan Pepper was the top scorer for the Vikings with 29.
Men’s Division one League
Tolka Rovers Dublin 76
Waterford IT Vikings 88
It was bad news for the Waterford side before the game even started. Already without Sheehan, Dale Kavanagh, O’Rorke and Oshiogwemoh, Manny Abana went over on his ankle during the warm up and was out of the game.
With just eight fit players it was going to be a tough ask for the team to get a result in what has always being a difficult hunting ground for Waterford teams. The game started with Tolka first to register a score before Noe responded for the visitors. Tolka pushed ahead again but two baskets from O’Neill and another from Noe saw the game tied at 8-8 after four minutes. The next six minutes saw Tolka just blitz the Vikings ending the quarter with two three pointers in a row to put the home side 18 points in front 33 points to 15. If the first quarter belonged to Tolka then the second belonged to the visitors. Three three pointers from Pepper, two from Noe, another from Dunphy and 4 baskets in a row from O’Neill and it was the Vikings that were on the march. Tolka were now finding the scores difficult to come by, thanks to some excellent defence from Robinson, Lanigan, Murphy and Dunphy. As the half ended the lead was down to three, 48 to 45 in favour of the home team but Vikings were back in the game.
With just eight available players could Vikings keep up the pressure on the defensive end? Tolka were crowding out Noe inside but leaving space on the perimeter and the question was could the other Vikings capitalise? The answer to both was yes. Tolka managed just four points from play and six from the free throw line while O’Neill, Murphy, Robinson and Pepper all combined for a 19-point total to give the visitors a six-point lead at the end of the third, 64 to 58.
Tolka made a huge effort into the final period using a full court press to pull themselves back into the game but having found this kind of defence difficult to cope with in the past, the Vikings were up to it this time. Tolka again worked on keeping Noe out of the paint and away from the basket but the big American turned provider for his team mates and baskets from Pepper, Jay Kavanagh, Murphy and Robinson increased the Vikings lead. Tolka fouled to get the ball back in the final minutes but Pepper in particular stepped up to the line and made the free throws when it mattered to ensure the win, 88 to 76.
Positives from the game: the fight back in the second period; the defence in the third; holding their composure under severe pressure in the fourth; hitting 10 three pointers in the game. Ryan Pepper 29 points including five three-pointers.
Negatives: Manny Abana getting injured in the warm up, a very poor six minutes in the first quarter that could have proved costly.
WIT Vikings Team and Scorers: O’Neill (17), Lannigan, Kavanagh Jay (10), Pepper (29), Robinson (4), Murphy (10), Dunphy Scott (3), Noe (15), Emmanuel Abana.
This coming Saturday WIT Vikings are at home to another Dublin Team Kubs, tip off in WIT Arena is 7pm.