U15 Girls Dublin League
Portlaoise Panthers 38 Liffey Celtics 24
Portlaoise Panthers u15 girls took to the floor in Colaiste Bhride Clondalkin on Sunday in what was poised to be the game of the season so far.
Having suffered defeat to Liffey Celtics earlier in the season, the girls had to win this game in order to keep themselves in contention for the league title. Not only did they need to win but had to do so by a minimum of eight points.
After a good warm up our girls came out of the blocks flying. They started the game very strongly and took an early lead which they were determined to maintain.
Liffey Celtics started the game very nervous and were struggling to deal with the intensity of the Panther defence. The Portlaoise press was too much for them to deal with and they were forced into making a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes which our girls capitalised on.
Ciara Byrne kept her composure and stepped up to the mark controlling the game from the top on offense making one of the best passes of the game and made some crucial interceptions setting herself up for fast break opportunities.
To keep a team of the calibre of Liffey Celtics to only 3 points in the first quarter is a rarity. Sarah Fleming kept her cool and settled the offense when introduced to the game and Portlaoise led 12-3 going into the second quarter.
The second quarter saw Liffey Celtics start to settle into the game. Although this was the lowest scoring quarter in the game it was by far the most intense with both teams excelling in defence.
It was a real battle with neither team giving up any 50/50 opportunities and both putting bodies on the line. Rebecca Reddin is a real fighter and made every 50/50 ball her own, catching rebounds that were not rightfully hers.
Gilllian Wheeler was super on both ends of the floor as well as making some crucial defensive stops, she had great vision on the floor creating some great scores.
While the Burke sisters caught great rebounds and made some important interceptions also drawing very important fouls putting Liffey Celtics top player in foul trouble. At half time Portlaoise held a ten point lead 16-6.
Portlaoise started the second half as they began the game and were not letting up. It was a very end to end quarter and the highest scoring quarter of the game so far with both teams exchanging scores.
The girls were doing the simple things right and were creating space for themselves on offense. They also rebounded superbly and were not giving our opponents any second chances baskets.
Hannah Collins was very composed under the boards and got herself into super scoring positions positions. Ellen Garvey made a big impact when she came into the game drawing players allowing her to set up teammates for good scores.
After a timeout from Liffey they began to settle more into the game and put pressure on our defence creating opportunities for themselves. While Liffey Celtics were now beginning to put scores on the board the lead held by our girls was being extended all the time.
Going into the last quarter the girls knew they had to hold their lead in order to keep their title hopes alive. Shauna Dooley was pivotal to the Panther defence, also hitting some massive shots when needed on offence.
Grainne O’Reilly when introduced to the game never let the level of intensity drop, she forced players into making mistakes and was very unlucky with a couple of good shots.
Although Liffey Celtics eventually won this quarter the girls had done enough to get the victory they needed thanks to their super performances in the earlier quarters and now put themselves in pole position to take the title.