Team Silvers Portlaoise played host to Maree on Saturday night in St. Marys Hall with the away side holding out for an eight point victory. An excellent display of composure and skill in the second quarter gave the Galway men the platform needed to see out the second half. The home side can be happy with how they finished out the game winning the final quarter by seven points.
The Portlaoise men got off to the best possible start scoring seven points from their first four offences with both Daniel Debosz and Pierce Fagan showing great strength in getting to the hoop. Maree point guard Con Crowley stepped up to hit two jump shots to close the margin but Team Silvers stretched out their lead to five points by the end of the quarter with two off-the-dribble baskets from Declan Kearney and Peter O’Sullivan.
The second quarter saw Maree coming out and pressure the home side with great man to man defence leading to turnover after turnover with Liam Conroy punishing the home side on the break. Team Silvers were rattled and looked to the bench for a change of fortune. A three pointer from Greg Dunne and a fine basket inside from Juan Marchal could only halt the onslaught momentarily as Con Crowley stepped up to hit two massive three pointers to give Maree a thirteen point lead at half time. Team Silvers were stunned by the eighteen point turnaround and needed to come together as a team to get back into the game.
A tight third quarter ensued with Maree finding an answer for everything the home side threw at them. A three pointer from Declan Kearney was almost instantly cancelled out by another from Kenny Hansberry and both sides went on to trade basket for basket for the quarter with Maree finishing stronger to take a fifteen point lead into the last quarter.
Team Silvers had failed to bring the crowd into the game up until the final quarter but eventually gave them something to shout about when Peter O’Sullivan drained two three pointers in a row to close the gap to nine points with eight minutes left on the clock. The home side began to press the Galway men causing several turnovers, converted by Greg Dunne and Daniel Debosz. Maree’s experience at this level finally showed with Liam Conroy taking control from the top of the key scoring nine of his team’s fourth quarter tally leading them to a hard earned eight point win.
TEAM SILVERS: David Keane, Shane O’Neill, Declan Kearney 5, Juan Marchal 4, Peter O’Sullivan 11, Paul Leigh 2, Greg Dunne 7, Daniel Debosz 13, Ger Egan 5, Pierce Fagan 4. Coach: John Fennelly.