Two depleted sides met on Saturday night as they contested the last few games in their league before the league is split for the second half of the season. Both sides were down on numbers but showed great resilience with Portlaoise just coming out on top.
Portlaoise Panthers 47
Kildare Gliders 43
Portlaoise started out the better with Pam Grogan finding her range from the tip off and slotted home two long range efforts from just inside the arc. This was quickly followed up by a long range score from Skirmanie Zemaityle before Grace Delaney and Anna Connolly combined superbly inside to add more scores to the Portlaoise tally.
Deirdre McCaul pushed the game down the court creating ample opportunities for her team mates. Portlaoise maintained the lead for the entire quarter but Gliders closed the gap with some great scores inside by Helan Moran and at the end of the quarter Portlaoise led 14-11.
The second quarter continued in the same vein. Nacola Nerney took to the floor and made an immediate impact with a score from inside and outside the arc to push her side further ahead. Lisa Clancy and Grainne Tomlinson pushed the ball at the tiring Kildare side creating scoring opportunities for Ann Marie Troy who made no mistake with the finish.
Kildare continued to plug away with Emer McNally converting her opportunities into scores for her side and at the half time whistle the scoreline read 28-23 in favour of the home side.
Portlaoise went on a scoring spree in the third quarter with Kildare struggling to contain inside players Grace Delaney and Ann Marie Troy who asserted their dominance inside the key. Defensively Portlaoise became more vocal and held firm for the quarter limiting Kildare to just four points.
Pam Grogan continued to lead from the point and put breathing space between the two sides. A steal and a well taken shot by Clancy ended the quarter and Portlaoise took a fourteen point lead into the final quarter.
With nothing to lose, Kildare come out all guns blazing in the final quarter and nearly caused an upset for the home side. All five of their players got on the scoresheet as the hassled and harried every ball causing Portlaoise to turn over the ball which they converted into score.
A calm head was needed and this came in the form of Anna Connolly who scored three big inside basket to keep Portlaoises nose in front. Anna Holmes steadied the floor and Portlaoise held out to take the victory on a score line of 47-43 points for a hard fought win.
The Panthers ladies were up against an organised Heywood team on Sunday evening in St Mary’s Hall, in what was their second game in consecutive days.
Without showing any fatigue from the game Saturday night, the home team started the game the better side with great passing and movement to create scores from Anna Connolly and Shauna Burke ender the boards.
Heywood evenutally worked their way into the game on the offensive end as Eimear McWey added some scores for her team.
The Panther defense was excellent as they put severe pressure on the visitors resulting in Heywood turning over the ball which the home side capitalised on as Lorraine McCormack hit two big shots form outside the arc. Portlaoise were in control the game to half time and held the lead at the break.
Heywood kept up the fight after the break with some great shots from Catherine Malone. Portlaoise reacted positively as they stepped up the pressure and played some excellent counter attacking basketball with great scores from Ann Marie Troy and Shauna Burke to extend the lead at the end of the third.
Heywood stepped up and played some great team defence and were rewarded with scores from Catherine Walsh on the other end of the court. Lisa Clancy added some more scores for her team and Heywood found themselves in foul trouble which led to one of their main players having to take a seat on the bench having been fouled out.
Portlaoise pushed the ball for the remainder of the game and finished with scores from Grace Delaney and Grainne Tomlinson. Portlaoise ended the game comfortable winners with some great team performance.
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