The Portlaoise Panthers girls had two deserved wins in the u18 Midland League on Saturday the 2nd of February in St.Mary’s Sports Hall.
U-18 GIRLS MIDLANDS LEAGUE
Their first game was against Clonaslee with both sides trading baskets throughout the first quarter. At the end of the second quarter the girls had a six point lead with scores from Shauna Burke and Áine Fitzpatrick.
However Clonaslee were not to be written off and made a strong comeback in the second half. Good defensive play by Rachel Cross, Claire Dollard and Fiona Kelly along with strong shooting from Aedin Dunne and Gillian Hannigan kept the Portlaoise girls in the game.
With the teams level at 32 points a piece it looked like the game may go to overtime but the impressive Shauna Burke kept her cool to score the winning basket to leave the final score 34-32 in favour of the Portlaoise side.
The Panther’s second game was against league leaders Athlone who were unbeaten in the competition so far. The girls started well leading 13-9 after the first quarter, with good shooting once again from the in-form Shauna Burke.
Athlone showed their talent in the 2nd quarter but good defensive play from Eimear O’Sullivan and Aedin Dunne and scores from Claire Dollard and Áine Fitzpatrick showed that the Panthers were not going down without a fight.
Sure enough, the Portlaoise side came to life in the 3rd quarter as Áine Fitzpatrick sunk a fantastic three-pointer, her second of the game, while Gillian Hannigan also displayed her good shooting skills in this quarter.
Going into the last quarter the girls now had a two point lead and maintained this until the final buzzer in what was a tense final eight minutes, with brilliant defence from Fiona Kelly leaving the final score at 32-30. Coach Leanne Hayes was delighted with the girls’ performance and hopefully these two victories are a sign of things to come.
Team: Shauna Burke, Gillian Hannigan, Áine Fitzpatrick, Rachel Cross, Claire Dollard, Eimear O’Sullivan, Fiona Kelly, Aedin Dunne. Coach: Leanne Hayes.