Star's cup runs over at death
Star of the sea's frustrating experience in cup competition in the '90s looked like continuing on Saturday night in Waterford until their brilliant point guard Adrian Fulton turned a one-point deficit into victory by scoring the winning lay-up with just five seconds remaining.
It brought an end to a tremendous tussle which had run almost basket for basket for the duration.
Star went into an early seven-point lead before Waterford's emphasis on defence halted their slide. By the end of the first quarter, they had cut the deficit to three helped by twelve points in 10 minutes from Roscoe Patterson.
By half time, Waterford actually had gone ahead by a single point (35-34) but by the end of the third quarter it was Star who led by the minimum margin, 51-50.
The scene was set for a pulsating final quarter with each team surging ahead, only to be pegged back until those closing seconds when the home crowd had their dream of a first ever appearance in the cup play-offs cut short by Fulton's nerveless execution of the winning lay-up for Star. Two cup specialists, Notre Dame and St Vincent's have also qualified for the last four and indeed, the play-offs have a quality look about them, with Blue Demons also making it to cup weekend in Tallaght in January.
Notre Dame had a tougher time than might have been expected away to regional league side Tralee and it took a couple of big three-pointers from Anthony Jenkins in the last quarter for the cup holders to safely clinch their semi-final place 80-72.
Demons were also pressed harder than predicted by struggling Tolka Rovers who only went down 84-77 in Gurranebraher.
St Vincent's had the easiest passage to the semi-finals as they gained revenge against Limerick for a recent league defeat by winning 82-62. St Vincent's led 40-32 at half time and were seven points ahead with eight minutes remaining when Charles Williams fouled out for Limerick. In the women's Sprite Cup quarter-finals there were easy wins for both Tolka and the holders Wildcats, with the only close tie resulting in a 68-63 win for Killester over Limerick.