The U12 girls season came to a disappointing end with a loss to league leaders Clonaslee on Sunday 25th of March.
The girls although disappointed are delighted with their first year of competitive basketball coming out at the end of the season as league and cup runner –up. The girls have come up against strong, well established teams in their road to the final, such as Kestrels from Portarlington, Gliders from Newbridge, Clonaslee, Athlone and Tullamore and gave a good account of themselves at every tournament.
Panthers played their cup semi-final on Wednesday 21st March against a strong Athlone outfit who tied with the Portlaoise girls in the league standings.
Portlaoise were determined to get to a cup final and were fully focused on the task ahead. The Panthers girls were fastest out of the blocks and worked hard throughout the game both offensively and defensively with some great individual play by Maeve Phelan, Erone Fitzpatrick, Amy Byrne, Caoimhe Grant and Ciara Hogan.
Unfortunately the game was marred by an injury to the co-captain Maeve Phelan, which unfortunately ruled her out of the final the following Sunday. Overall it was a superb performance and the Panthers girls booked themselves into the cup final four days later.
The final was played in front of a great crowd of supporters from Clonaslee and Portlaoise. Clonaslee were well deserved league winners and Portlaoise had it all to do from the outset.
A disappointing first half saw Panthers only clocking up 4 points after 14 minutes to play. The half time break gave the girls a chance to re-group and focus on putting some scores on the board. Finals MVP Erone Fitzpatrick stepped up to this challenge clocking up an impressive personal tally of 13 points to bring Portlaoise back into the game and only trailing by a basket going into the last quarter. Alas, the last quarter belonged to the champions, Clonaslee who proved their class and ran out well deserved winners in the end.
The Portlaoise girls should be proud of their achievements this year and we look forward to many years of basketball ahead.
Portlaoise Panthers: Maeve Phelan, Erone Fitzpatrick, Amy Byrne, Ciara Hogan, Chloe Power, Beth Carroll, Maria Carroll, Leah Ethon, Caoimhe Grant, Chloe Grant O’ Shea, Alyssa McCann, Ehlana Hussey, Aoife Fitzpatrick, Caitlin Carroll O’Reilly, Kirsha Murphy and Aishling Kelly. Coach: Grainne Tomlinson.