Last Wednesday saw both teams meet for the first time on Kestrels home turf. This was sure to be a tough game for both sides with Portlaoise undefeated in the Midland league and Kestrels having a very strong youthful panel.
Kestrels started off impressively well with Shauna McNamara opening the score for the home side. Holli Dunne fought hard and continued to tot up the scores for Kestrels. Donna Colohan settled the nerves for Portlaoise by landing her sides first score.
Emma Colohan’s excellent defence kept the home side from scoring and her rebounds allowed Portlaoise to maintain possession. Becky Kelly fought hard under the boards and kept the scores adding up. Danielle Keane stepped on court and upped the intensity on defence and helped along her team mates.
Portlaoise came into their own in the second quarter. Easy baskets from Emma Colohan and Anna Fraizer helped push the score even further apart. An effortless shot from Niamh Sweeney added her name to the score sheet. Dorothy Fahy was a constant threat under the boards and scored a well deserved free throw after being fouled inside the key. Kestrels put up a great fight but came out behind in the second quarter.
Megan Dunne opened up the second half with an impressive three pointer on the top of the arc. Impressive offensive and defensive rebounding from Aoife Brennan and Amy Dunphy saw both players increase the score for Portlaoise. Sharon Regan was rewarded for her intensity with a great basket from the fast break assisted by Donna Colohan.
It was in this quarter that Leanne Hayes netted the shot of the game landing an impressive three pointer from just inside the half way line.
Throughout the game Assistant Coach Jack Scully ran the bench extremely well, Portlaoise finished the game strongly with Zoe O’Dea fighting hard for every ball on offence. Danielle Keane also landed an excellent three point corner shot to round off the score for Portlaoise. Another great win for Portlaoise means they currently remain in pole position in their league however they have some tough games ahead.
Portlaoise were determined to continue their unbeaten run with this home fixture against Mavericks on Sunday evening. Portlaoise started well moving the ball and getting great options with scores from Sharon Regan and fine lay-ups on the break from Donna O’Connell. Mavericks did not sit back as they added scores from Jessie Curley and Martina Delaney.
Portlaoise played rewarding defence to hold Mavericks to only seven points in the first quarter while piling on the pressure in offence. Panthers led after the first ten minutes on a scoreline of 22-7 while playing sublime basketball throughout.
Portlaoise came out in the second quarter with a changed five to spice things up. Portlaoise started penetrating the basket and getting great scores off fast breaks from Sharon Regan and Donna O’Connell. Portlaoise put pressure on the away side with great team defence. Mavericks started to fight back with fine offensive scores from Lorraaine Gee but this was not enough against Portlaosie.
Coach O Neill had little to do as the girls were well focused to see it to the half time. Portlaoise kept up the intensity with well deserved scores from Emma Colohan. Mavericks were struggling to put scores on the board while also finding it equally difficult to stop the threat both inside and outside on defence. Portlaoise finished at half time in cruise control, Portlaoise 45 Mavricks 15.
Portlaoise started the third quarter with convincing play from Danielle Keane and Dorothy Quigley. Portlaoise continued as the finished with fine team play and baskets from Anna Fraizer. Portlaoise also stepped up their defence to shut out Mavericks with great rebounds from Grace Delaney and Anna Fraizer. Portlaoise started back with lay ups off of fast breaks. Mavericks defence was falling apart as Portlaoise was in the driving seat and was looking good at the end of the third quarter. Portlaoise 56, Mavericks 21.
Portlaoise coach Shane O’Neill changed the team, but also kept it strong, to see out the fourth quarter. Outstanding rebounding from Aoife Brennan and Dorothy Quigley kept out the Ballyroan pressure and quick movement of the ball around created the space for Amy Dunphy and Aoife Brennan to add scores. Portlaoise continued with great defence and fantastic offence to finish well deserved winners to continue their winning streak. It was the best team effort of the league so far and moves them to eleven games unbeaten, a very impressive run.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Leanne Hayes, Emma Colohan, Niamh Sweeney, Donna O’Connell, Anna Fraizer, Danielle Keane, Dorothy Quigley, Rebecca Kelly, Sharon Regan, Amy Dunphy, Aoife Brennan, Grace Delaney, Zoe O’Dea, Jane Dowling. Coach: Shane O’Neill, Asst. Jack Scully.