Team Club23 took on Athy 1 on Sunday evening in their second outing of the Midland League with a win seeing them go top of the table. Some of Team Club23’s squad were looking to bounce back from the previous nights loss in the National League and restore some confidence against Athy.
The game started and both teams struggled on defence with both offences getting easy opportunities and finishing well. The crowd were enjoying the open style of basketball on display but neither coach was impressed with their teams efforts on defence. Portlaoise ran the ball well with Jack Scully and Denis Curtin finishing on the break. Young Mark Bartley really stepped up and took the ball strong to the board and finished well. The quarter ended with Portlaoise leading 18-14.
The second quarter began much the same as the first quarter, poor defence by both teams made for a free flowing came of basketball. Portlaoise have a very good blend of youth and experience and with their twelve players in constant rotation they showed what a strong overall squad they have. Jamie Dooley, Chris Higgins and Kyle Burke came in and made an immediate impact despite limited court time so far this year.
They pushed the ball hard down the floor moving the ball very well resulting in them opening up their lead to ten points at half time. Jack Scully and Kyle Burke were scoring well in this quarter with Jack Scully quickly notching up a game high thirty-one points with an array of different type scores.
In the third quarter Portlaoise really put the foot down and opened up a lead that Athy would struggle to claw back. They put on a full court press which resulted in some turnovers with the Dooley brothers finishing strongly.
Chris Higgins and Evan Maher showed their speed and fitness upping the tempo of the game. Athy struggled to keep up with the home side and Portlaoise ended the third quarter with a twenty one point advantage.
The fourth quarter was used by both coaches to run there bench. It gave well deserved court time to the squad players who have yet to play substantial minutes and it will now give the team coach food for thought when they play their next fixture.
Club23 Portlaoise Panthers Team: Jack Scully, Jack Dooley, Jamie Dooley, Paul Leigh, Chris Higgins, Robbie Mc Guinness, Mark Bartley, Kyle Burke, Stephen O’Keeffe, Sean O’Neill, Evan Maher, Denis Curtin.