The Portlaoise U-16 Boys’ basketball team played host to Athlone in their first game of this year's Midland Area League competition.
Portlaoise Panthers 47
U-16 Midland Area League
Athlone started the better with the first couple of baskets despite good work coming from the Portlaoise lads Eamonn Raji and Brochan O’Reilly.
Portlaoise settled into the game with strong work but while creating good scoring opportunities through Jack Byrne and Dylan Cahil, however they were unable to finish with baskets and found themselves down by 11 points.
A time out by coach Brendan O’Donovan worked wonders as they came out to get the next few baskets from Jack Byrne and Aaron Dooley to bring them right back into the game.
The second quarter saw the Panthers lads continue to play well finishing with good scores from Eoin Murphy and Dylan Cahill who got a couple of great offensive rebounds and went back up to finish well.
As the game went on both teams were working hard but it was the Panthers lads that started to dominate for the first time with Brochan O’Reilly and their captain Aaron Dooley finishing with scores after good work from Cathal McEvoy.
The big stat from this quarter that pleased coach O’Donovan was that Athlone were restricted to only 3 points after great defensive work from all his players to see them with a 6 point lead at the half-time whistle, 20 points to 14 points.
The second half opened up into a good running game with both teams playing well, exchanging baskets. Panthers got scores from Dylan Cahill and a big three-pointer from Brochan O’Reilly.
Athlone also were playing well and got fine baskets in what was turning into a good quality game. The Panthers boys continued working hard through Eoin Bell and Eamonn Raji but were unlucky with the final shot.
Athlone on the other hand went on to keep the scoreboard ticking over to level the game. The next couple of minutes saw the lead change hands a couple of times with the last score of the quarter coming from Brochan O’Reilly to see the teams level again at 31 points each.
The last quarter saw the Panthers boys up the tempo again to put in a huge work rate on the defensive end as they fought for every single ball with great performances from Eoin Murphy and Jack Byrne.
The Panthers kept the scoreboard ticking over with baskets from Brochan O’Reilly and Dylan Cahill - who was top scorer of the game with an impressive 22 points.
As the game came to a close Portlaoise extended their lead out to 9 points and then showed good composure to run the clock and go on to a well deserved win much to the delight of the home crowd.
Team: Aaron Dooley (Capt), Evan O'Brien, Dylan Cahill, Michael Gilsenan, Tom White, Jack Byrne, Cian O'Donoghue, Ikhide Cecil Ohiwgrg, Eamonn Raji, Aaron Walsh, Cathal McEvoy, Eoin Murphy, Eoin Bell, Brochan O'Reilly, John Hrusovschi.
Coaches: Coach - Brendan O Donovan, Asst. Coach - Tiernan Dempsey.