Portlaoise Panthers U-16 boys finished the first half of there season with an impressive win over Tullamore, this Tullamore team have been unbeaten so far this year and this is a great win for the Portlaoise boys.
Portlaoise started the game very strong with some great scores from Conor McKenna which included excellent finishing from the free throw line, while Christopher Carew dominated on defense and fought very hard to get rebounds.
The second quarter saw Portlaoise up the tempo of the game and as the quarter went on Tullamore continued to battle hard but failed to score because of the tough defense and great scoring inflicted on them by James Phelan and the rest of the Portlaoise lads.
The introduction of Thomas Maher in this quarter guaranteed that Portlaoise remained in control as he ensured good movement of the ball.
In hindsight the game was won and lost in this quarter as Portlaoise’s Jack O Reilly and Liam Kinsella stepped up providing some very skilful scores at the end of the first half Portlaoise lead by eleven points with a score line of 31 - 20.
The third quarter proved to be the toughest for the Portlaoise lads as the baskets were just not falling, Tullamore also increased the pace of the game and Tullamore’s Ciaran Farrell had some great scores.
As the quarter went on both teams were battling hard for every ball but tough defense from Billy Whalley and Liam Keenan ensured that Portlaoise maintained the lead by just five points going into the last quarter.
Portlaoise put an impressive twenty points on the score board in the last quarter thanks to scores from McKenna, Kinsella and O’ Reilly while Carew and Phelan’s high pressure defense ensured limited scores were made by Tullamore.
This was a hard fought game but Portlaoise held their composure throughout and had a well deserved win with a score line of 61 points to 43.
In their second game of the day Portlaoise faced a very talented and well organised Kestrels team.
The first half of the game belonged to Kestrels as they limited Portlaoise scoring opportunities to Liam Kinsella and Conor McKenna, while Liam Keenan fought hard for every rebound and worked hard on defense.
The second half of the game was a closer affair as the Portlaoise boys responded to the pressure enforced by Kestrels with some great scores yet again from Jack O Reilly and Thomas Maher while James Phelan and Kinsella ensured control and good movement of the ball from the point and their reward was some great scores.
Billy Whalley’s reintroduction into the game in the final quarter made sure the correct option was always taken on the offensive end, he also played tough defense and collected some great rebounds. Portlaoise never gave up but Kestrels lead was just too big to close.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Liam Kinsella, Jack O’Reilly, Conor McKenna, Christopher Carew, James Phelan, Liam Keenan, Thomas Maher, Billy Whalley. Coach: Emma Scully