O’Loughlins Panthers got their fist victory of the season on Saturday night away to Athy in convincing fashion with all nine players getting their names on the scoresheet.
The visitors were in control throughout the game rotating their five from start to finish with Athys small panel of players unable to withstand the constant pressure.
The first quarter saw Portlaoise get off to a great start with Shane O’Neill hitting his first three pointer of the game followed by five points from Gedas Simkus. The onslaught continued from outside the three point line with Conor Dunne and Tiernan Dempsey also finding their range.
At the other end the Panthers defence was particularly tight as Athy continuously turned over possession. With Portlaoise clearing up under the boards, Athy found it hard to gain any momentum and could only register the one basket in the first quarter.
In reply Portlaoise had already amounted twenty eight points to show their dominance.
A switch of five at the start of the second brought Peter O’Sullivan back on the floor and he got himself on the scoreboard with two three pointers from the top of the key followed by a three point play.
Athy began to get points on the board after some good individual play from their captain D Cardiff. Further three pointers from Dunne and O’Neill added to the growing lead between the two teams.
With such a gap at half time it was over as a contest and Athy could only hope that they could close the margin, half time 43-12.
The third quarter saw O’Loughlins up the tempo even more as they began to punish Athy on the break after some soft turnovers. Robbie Mc Sweeney and Conor O’Donovan were working extremely hard both ends of the floor and began to reap the rewards with scores inside the key.
Team veteran Gedas Simkus showed his versatility in offence with baskets inside and outside the key. Further baskets on the break from Benny Carroll and Tiernan Dempsey broadened the gap to over fifty points by the end of the third.
The last quarter was a formality for the visitors as they continued to play to a high level as requested by their coach Jack Scully. Portlaoise worked through their offences and continued to take the right options time and again. A further four three pointers and fast breaks baskets from Shane Maughan wrapped up proceedings.
The game gave Portlaoise the opportunity to introduce their younger members to senior basketball for the first time as this new look squad gain much needed experience ahead of much tougher contests in the next few weeks.
O’Loughlins Portlaoise: Peter O’Sullivan, Shane O’Neill, Gedas Simkus, Benny Carroll, Shane Maughan, Tiernan Dempsey, Robbie McSweeney, Conor O’Donovan, Conor Dunne. Coach: Jack Scully.
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