St Marys Hall played host to the second round of the U-18 midland league which produced great quality basketball throughout the day. Portlaoise Panthers got the day off to a brilliant start as the host team defeated Kildare Gliders on a scoreline of 54-29. Coach Leanne Hayes was very impressed with her team’s performance as they have improved with game experience.
Gliders failed to contain the Panthers offence throughout with Aine Fitzpatrick and Shauna Burke combining for 38 points between them. Portlaoise rotated the team well giving every player the opportunity to impress before their second and most challenging game of the day.
Kestrels were the opponents in the second game and the visitors got off to a great start with their two star players Holli Dunne and Sarah Fallon proving hard to handle. A switch to zone in the second quarter saw the game change as Portlaoise went to work on the double digit deficit. By the end of the third quarter after excellent work from Rachel Cross and Claire Dollard, Portlaoise had drawn level and were playing some great basketball.
Unfortunately Kestrels just got the upper hand in the last minute and saw out the game to win by three points. This age group looks too close to call and will provide some class games over the next few months.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Claire Dollard, Rachel Cross, Gillian Hannigan, Sarah Phelan, Shauna Burke, Aine Fitzpatrick, Fiona Kelly, Shona Whelan, Eimear O’Sullivan, Aedin Dunne. Coach: Leanne Hayes.