Jack Dooley, Portlaoise about to score a basket on Sunday night against Kildare Gliders. Pic: Denis Byrne.
Portlaoise Panthers 71 Kildare Gliders 41
Portlaoise Panthers Mens team cemented their position at the top of the table with another all round performance against Kildare Gliders on Sunday night.
Gliders have a new look team that have plenty of National League experience with a number of players transferring back to their local club. Portlaoise never looked back following an amazing start to the game which saw them take a 15-0 start and they continued to control the game from start to finish.
Portlaoise stormed into a big lead early on with point guard Benny Carroll using his pace to get to the basket. Jack Scully, Peter Duignan and Jack Dooley all contributed two baskets each in the quarter as Kildare struggled to get a foothold in the game.
They were shell-shocked in the opening few minutes as the full court press troubled the visitors time and again. A further basket by Benny Carroll and a first from Liam Kinsella rapped up the scoring in the quarter to give the Panthers men a 23-8 lead after ten minutes of play.
The second quarter was another scoring masterclass for Portlaoise as they notched up a further thirty points in the quarter while again keeping the opposition to just eight points. Most of the scores were coming from inside the key as Kyle Burke and Jack Scully backed their players down and finished well to the rim.
Jack Dooley was a constant threat from the outside as he penetrated to the board using his strength to his advantage. Shane San Agustin and Craig Scully came off the bench and made immediate impacts on the game with some well taken scores in the key. At the break the game was over as a contest as Portlaoise led 53-16.
Portlaoise came out at the start of the third intent in maintaining their high standard of play. This was Gliders first game of the Midland League season and will eventually come together as a team but Portlaoise just looked that step ahead throughout. A Jack Scully reverse lay-up followed by a free throw each from Burke and Dooley pushed the lead out further.
Gliders increase their work rate both ends of the floor in this quarter and former Panthers player Kevin Donoghue scored three baskets in a row for his side. Free throws from Peter O’Sullivan and Craig Scully and a nice shot from Peter Duignan rounded off the quarter leaving the score at 68-28 heading into the final quarter.
The final quarter saw new recruit Kieran Lillis enter the game for his first experience in St Marys hall along with a first appearance from Tiernan Dempsey. Along with Shane O’Neill, Liam Kinsella and Shane San Agustin they held Gliders for long periods of the quarter.
The Panthers men found it hard to find a score at the offensive end but the hard work had been done earlier in the game. Benny Carroll came back into the game and scored a three point play which was to be his teams only scores of the last quarter.
Kildare capitalised on some second chance opportunities and some turnovers to bring their score to 41 at the buzzer but Portlaoise were deserved winners helping themselves to a thirty point victory to continue their winning streak.
Portlaoise Panthers Team: Jack Scully, Craig Scully, Kyle Burke, Peter Duignan, Jack Dooley, Peter O’Sullivan, Kieran Lillis, Liam Kinsella, Benny Carroll, Shane San Agustin, Shane O’Neill, Tiernan Dempsey.