Portlaoise Panthers U-18 boys team continued their good start to the season on Sunday afternoon as they welcomed Old Leighlin to St Marys Hall.
This was the Portlaoise sides first outing in the Kilkenny league. Old Leighlin are always a tough team to play against. Their style is definitely unorthodox but is very affective.
As the game started it was obvious this game would be a low scoring affair. Both sides defences were working well. Portlaoise got off the first score of the game through Daniel Wolksi, himself and Captain Conor Donovan are working well together inside to date this season.
Portlaoise were doing themselves no favours on offence, they continuously turned the ball over which reslkted in Old Leighlin getting some easy scores on the board. Coach Jack Scully was clearly frustrated with this aspect of the game and made a few changes to try and settle the ship. Young Liam Kinsella was put on.
His pace added another dimension to the Portlaoise attack. Shane Maughan added further baskets and Portlaoise led 10-9 at the end of the first quarter.
As the second quarter began Portlaoise upped their performance. Their squad depth was really starting to show as Jonathan Massa, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Paw Tierney came on.
Their fresh legs kept the tempo of the game up and Old Leighlin struggled to keep up. Portlaoise started to add scores on the offensive end through Kinsell, Maughan and Shane San Augustine. Portloaise won this quarter 16-5 and led 26-14 at half time.
The third quarter was one which the Portlaioise lads will want to forget. A bit of complacency was evident and old leighlin punished Portlaoise time and time again. Portlaoise had numerous unforced errors and turnovers in this quarter.
They were struggling on both ends of the floor and OLd Leighlin were taking full advantage. They outscored Portlaoise 11-6 in this quarter. Portlaoise led by seven heading into the final quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter Portlaoise put on a full court press. Old Leighlin struggled to break this press and Portlaoise started to turn the ball over. This resulted in some good baskets from Donovan, Wolski and Maughan. Old Leighlin never really got to grips with the full court pressure and Portlaoise Ran out 45-33 winners.
Team- Conor Donovan(captain) Shane Maughan, Dan Wolksi ,Andrew Meehan ,Shane San Augustine, Liam Kinsella , Jonathan Massa, Tom Healy, Barry Mc Nicholl, Paw Tierney, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Conor Whalley. Coach - Jack Scully. Assistant Coach - Kyle Burke