Having closed the chapter on their National League season Portlaoise Panthers focused on the next job on hand which was fulfilling their Midland League fixtures. A depleted but determined side travelled to Kilkenny on Saturday to take on league newcomers Berkley.
LADIES MIDLANDS LEAGUE DIVISION 1
Portlaoise Panthers 62
Berkeley (KK) 43
The game started at a fast pace with both teams running the court. Catherine and Maeve O Sullivan shot well from inside and outside the arc but these scores were quickly cancelled out by Berkley sisters Sheila and Aine Sheehy who worked well inside and made it difficult for the Portlaoise girls to take any significant lead into the second quarter. With both teams trading score for score, Portlaoise went into the second quarter with the narrowest of leads on a scoreline of 21 points to 20.
The second quarter saw Portlaoise apply a full court press in order to put pressure on the Berkley offence. This started to pay off with Berkley turning over the ball and Sinead Melia and Deirdre Tomlinson jumping on the loose balls and converting them into scores. Portlaoise started to pull away and at the half time whistle lead by 12 points on a scoreline of 27 points to 39 points.
Portlaoise still had to stay focused as the Kilkenny League Champions were not going to lie down easily. The Portlaoise girls continued to work hard in defence and this was exemplified by Shauna Burke. Claiming huge defensive rebounds and powering down the court she made it easy for Sinead Melia and Grainne Tomlinson to run in lay ups and the Portlaoise girls led 51-40 with ten minutes to play.
At this stage of the game it was Portlaoise’s fitness that carried them to the end. The Berkley girls bent under the pressure of the press and they were tiring from the constant fast break game the Portlaoise side were playing. Portlaoise continued to push on and won the game comfortably on a scoreline of 62 points to 43. This takes the girls one step closer to retaining their Midland League title with two tough games to play.
Team: Catherine O’Sullivan, Maeve O’Sullivan, Shauna Burke, Sinead Melia, Deirdre Tomlinson, Grainne Tomlinson.