The Portlaoise boy’s U-12 basketball team travelled to play Waterford in the quarter final of the Kilkenny Area Cup competition.
Waterford made the better start with good baskets from Jay Kavanagh. Portlaoise Panthers were slow to get on the scoreboard despite good play from Colm Byrne and Ben O Reilly.
As the quarter went on their was little or nothing between the teams with both playing well, Jack Coss and Eddie Critchley put in good performances for Portlaoise. The second quarter saw Portlaoise up the tempo with quick movement of the ball resulting in baskets from James Phelan and their ball handler Dylan Phelan.
Waterford kept battling hard for every ball but failed to score on a number of occasions down the floor, which let Portlaoise open up a 4-point lead thanks to baskets from Niall Carey and James Phelan at the halftime whistle.
At the start of the second half Waterford came out stronger to regain the lead within the first couple of minutes. Portlaoise seemed to loose concentration missing several opportunities and were guilty of poor passing and shooting. Waterford took full advantage as they finished the quarter with a seven point lead thanks to fine shooting from Peter Hogan and Jay Kavanagh.
In the last quarter Portlaoise upped the tempo again with a strong man to man defence which turned over possession resulting in baskets from Dylan Phelan and James Phelan who was eventually to be top scorer with an excellent 12 points.
As the game came to a close Portlaoise kept up their great work rate with Niall Carey and Stephen Mc Cabe helping their team maintain the gap to go on to a win that sees them into the Semi Final against Old Leighlin from Carlow.
Portlaoise Team: Dylan Phelan (Capt); Rian O Connell; Colm Byrne; James Phelan; Ben O Reilly; Jack Coss; James Connolly; Eddie Critchley; Darren Moore; Stephen Mc Cabe; Leon Houlihan; Sam Wynne; Aaron Mc Gowan; Niall Carey;