Portlaoise Panthers U-12 girls travelled to Portarlington on the 16th Feb for the next round in the Midland League. The girls played exceptionally well in both games bringing home two great wins.
The first game was against Kestrels Red. It was clear from the start that Portlaoise were going to finish with a big win in this game. Sophie Delahunt opened up the score for Portlaoise and that helped settle the nerves. Amy Byrne had a super day with her persistent tough defence and a personal tally of 24 points in this game. Shannon Carroll O’Reilly also helped keep the pressure on at all times.
The girls worked just as hard in the second quarter. Ciara Byrne added her name immediately to the score sheet followed quickly by Sarah Fleming and Shauna Dooley.
The girls pulled even further away from Kestrels in the second half of the game. Sophie Delahunt made two great free throws after landing herself on the line. Maria Carroll got an easy rebound and effortlessly netted a basket. More easy baskets were added from Shauna Dooley and Lauren Dwyer to put Portlaoise completely out of reach.
In our second game of the day we played Athlone. It was a close game from the beginning. Amy Byrne and Sophie Delahunt began the scoring for Portlaoise but Athlone were never far away. Saoirse Lawlor worked really hard and played tough defence. Great rebounding from Sinead Grant got her fouled under the net and landing her free throw added her name to the score sheet.
The second quarter was still a close contest as both teams stepped up their defence. Grainne O’Reilly was a huge threat at all times. All her work paid off when she made a great layup. Shauna Dooley was a constant threat under the boards and scored two well deserved free throws after being fouled inside the key.
Going back into the game after half time our girls were tired but refused to go out without a fight. Maria Carroll was fouled under the boards and gained another good basket. In this quarter Sinead Grant made some excellent offensive rebounds again and put them straight back up into the basket. Amy Byrne fought hard on defence and finished the quarter with a good score.
The last quarter was the test for Portlaoise, five points behind and exhausted after the day. Shauna Dooley and Sarah Fleming were both rewarded for their intensity with great baskets from the fast break assisted by each other on both occasions. But it was in this final quarter that Lauren Dwyer stood out from the rest. Her impressive rebounding and her consistent efforts pulled back the score and closed the gap. Final score 38-36 in Portlaoise’s favour.