On Saturday, March 16, Panthers U-12 girls travelled to Kilcullen to play in the last round of league matches.
In the first game Portlaosie came up against Kestrels black. The girls were nervous going into this game and it showed with the girls having a very bad start. Kestrels opened up the scoring and continued to score for the first half of the game. This set Portlaoise back but they didn’t give up the fight.
Tough defence from Grainne O’Reilly and Maria Carroll made it hard for Kestrels. There was super rebounding from Lauren Dwyer and Sinead Grant but the ball didn’t seem to fall for Portlaoise.
Going into the second half Portlaoise had their work cut out for them. Sophie Delahunt wasted no time in getting the ball rolling for Portlaoise and netted two great scores. Danielle Klerasthlisa added her name to the score sheet with another great basket. Shannon O’Reilly kept the pressure up on defence.
Shauna Dooley and Sarah Flemming both worked well together and each got their name on the scoreboard. Chloe Grant worked hard throughout the game. Lauren Dwyer made two great free throws after landing herself on the line. It was in the final minutes that Portlaoise realised their faith that they were getting the win because Kestrels did not have enough players on the day. Portlaoise were very lucky as the final score was 17-15 to Kestrels.
The teams’ second game of the day was the decider game for 3rd or 4th place in the Top 4. A win against Tullamore would put Portlaoise in 3rd place. Sophie Delahunt opened up the scoring immediately for Portlaoise and this settled the nerves. The girls appeared far more relaxed in this game and it showed.
Sinead Grant and Grainne O’Reilly both followed suit and netted baskets each to end the quarter 8-0 to Portlaoise. In the next quarter the girls fell back, the defence was great but Tullamore had a stronger five on the florror.
Danielle Klerasthlisa and Shannon Carroll fought endlessly. Chloe Grant and Lauren Dwyer had great rebounds but again nothing fell. Going into the second half Portlaoise had work to do. Amy Byrne dominated this quarter with all the baskets and it pulled Portlaoise back up.
Maria Carroll and Sarah Flemming were a constant threat. The last quarter Portlaoise had to keep up the fight and pressure. Shauna Dooley made two effortless lay-ups to start it off followed swiftly by Lauren Dwyer. Ciara Byrne landed herself on the free throw line after been fouled under the boards and scored both baskets.
The final score was 24-22 in favour of Portlaoise who will now avoid the league winners in the semi-finals. Well done to the girls.