St Helens Basketball have beaten Liverpool Basketball by 79-68 in a Division 3 round-of-16 clash.

Number one seed Saints beat 16th seed Liverpool to book their place in the NBL D3 quarter finals.

The closely contested game was held at the Broadway Sports Centre in St Helens, and the hosts did not disappoint the huge home crowd.

Saints were led by Connor Murtagh’s 25 points, Luke Gosney’s 20 points and a couple of key blocks by captain Danny Miller.

The game started at a very fast pace, with multiple steals and baskets within the first few minutes.

Liverpool took an early lead, but good shooting from deep by St Helens, and Murtagh in particular, put the home team up 22-19.

The second quarter was once again very close, as Liverpool opened the period with a three-pointer to tie the game.

A good run from Saints, including a huge converted ‘and 1’ play from the captain Miller, meant they were leading by 10 points in the second.

Liverpool hit a few shots in response and the half time score was 40-44 to Saints.

The third quarter opened with a big three-pointer for Liverpool, making it a one-point game.

Both teams exchanged lay-ups before Murtagh lit up the court late in the third, scoring back-to-back buckets including a tough corner three.

This left the game 62-56 going into the final quarter, where Liverpool fought back.

The away side tied the game up multiple times with a few minutes remaining, with the latest tie at 66-66.

However, undefeated D3 winners St Helens showed their class in the clutch, hitting important mid-range shots and free-throws in the final minute.

The hosts eventually pulled away from their opposition, and won the game 79-68.

Player of the Game Connor Murtagh said: “The key for us today was the fans, we came out and started off light, but the fans kept us going and were amazing throughout the game.”

Murtagh, coach Dominic O’Neill, and the rest of the Saints organisation, are still awaiting news on who they will face in the quarter-finals next Sunday.

(Photo Credit: Chris Cahillane)