The Panthers girls travelled to Athlone Saturday last to face what were going to be two tough opponents in Kestrels and Gliders.
Having narrowly lost out to Gilders already this year, the Portlaoise side were eager to get the win on this occasion. But first, they faced a talented Kestrels team.
Things looked promising for the Panthers from the outset as Orlaith O’Donovan netted a superbly taken three pointer but this was quickly cancelled out by three fast break lay-ups for the Kestrels girls.
On offence, Portlaoise controlled the ball well through their point guard Shauna Vandendries and the constant threat of Shauna Burke inside caused initial problems for the Kestrels defence. However, Portlaoise unfortunately lacked the killer instinct under the boards and struggled to finish their shot attempts.
On the other end however, despite some solid zone defence from Portlaoise through Chloe Mc Cabe and Eireann Brennan, Kestrels were converting their chances and this was to the detriment of Portlaoise.
Despite the offensive threats from Briana Mc Cann and Cliodhna Nic Gearailt, Kestrels ran out comprehensive winners on this occasion.
Next up for the girls was the Gliders side and despite some obvious fatigue, the Panthers girls got off to a great start with Gillian Hannigan finding her range from the outside and again, the ever present Shauna Burke causing serious trouble for the Gliders defence inside.
Despite having a fifteen point lead at the half, Gliders came out determined to close the gap and Portlaoise found it difficult to cope with their intensity which resulted in them taking the lead in the final quarter.
However, Shauna Vandendries on the point offered the Portlaoise girls some composure and they worked through their offence well confidently taking their scores.
The Gliders girls had no answer and Panthers came through as deserved winners on a scoreline of 34-30.