Portlaoise Panthers covered opposite ends of the country today as the women traveled North and the men traveled south.
It was a super win for the women’s team while the men were unlucky to lose out in a hard fought battle.
Portlaoise Panthers 93 Ulster Rockets 78
Women’s Division 1 National League Basketball
The Portlaoise Panthers women bounced back from last weeks loss this evening as they beat Ulster Rockets 93-78 in Rockets home court.
The win means Panthers are joined top of the table with Galway’s Maree.
Top scorers for Panthers Claire Melia and Ciara Wheeler put in a strong performance to deny the Rockets a win.
It was all square at the end of the first quarter after Claire Melia got the first basket for Portlaoise followed by scores from sister Sinead Melia, Jamie Sherburne and Ciara Wheeler who all contributed to the quarter. The score was 23-23 at the end of the 10 minutes.
Ciara Byrne opened the second quarter with two baskets back-to-back. Wheeler and Sherburne were next to the basket before Byrne dropped a three pointer.
Wheeler finished the quarter with 4 points before half time but Panthers headed for the second half trailing 38-42.
It was again Wheeler who got the third quarter up and going complementing moments later by a Sherburne basket.
The joint expertise of Claire Melia, Sherburne, Catherine Ashe, Sinead Melia and Maeve Cahillane saw Panthers outscore the home side by 29-17 in the third quarter leaving them 8 points ahead at 67-59 heading for the final ten minutes.
It was important for Panthers to start strong and keep their lead in the final quarter and Claire Melia and Cahillane made sure of that.
Sinead Melia, Claire Melia and Ashe all scored for Panthers in the fourth quarter before Wheeler and Melia also added to the scoreboard.
Sherburne scored the last two free throws of the game to see Panthers take the win outscoring the Rockets by 26-19 to lead by 15 points at the final buzzer.
SCORERS – Claire Melia; 22, C. Wheeler; 22,, Sinead Melia; 16, Jamie Sherburne; 15, Ciara Byrne; 7, Catherine Ashe; 6, Maeve Cahillane; 5.
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS: Maeve Cahillane, Ciara Byrne, Deirdre Tomlinson, Gillian Wheeler, Sinéad Melia, Catherine Ashe (c), Claire Melia, Sharon Melia, Jamie Sherburne, Shauna Dooley, Ciara Wheeler, Ann Marie Troy.
Portlaoise Panthers 76 Scotts Lakers St Pauls Killarney 80
Men’s Division 1 National League Basketball
Elsewhere down in Killarney, Portlaoise Panthers Men’s team had a daunting task of facing into the game without 6 players, including the National League’s top scorer Mike Pierre.
The Men fought a hard battle and were unlucky in the end to come up short by 4 points after leaving everything on the court with thanks to the 3 top scorers Mantas Vilimas, Jack Dooley and Kyle Burke.
Despite the loss, Panthers were off to a strong start going 7 points ahead after a few minutes of the first quarter.
St. Paul’s got back into the game and took the lead leaving the score at 23-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Panther’s went on an 8 point run in the second quarter with baskets from Mantis Vilimas and Trevor Swayne taking the reigns for the visiting side.
With just 3 minutes to go until half time, there was only 2 points in the game but again, St Paul’s pushed on to leave Portlaoise trailing 46-41 at half time.
It was a nail biting second half as St Paul’s were off to a slow start in the third quarter allowing Panthers to take the lead after 5 minutes.
Lakers began to find their feet and lead 63-56 at the end of the third.
The final quarter had supporters on the edge of their seats as Panthers brought the Lakers lead back to only 3 points with 5 minutes remaining.
Lakers proved too strong as the final minutes saw them lead by 8 points before a strong finish from the visitors saw them finish 2 baskets behind at the buzzer.
SCORERS – Mantis Vilimas; 29, Jack Dooley; 13, Kyle Burke; 12
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS: Jack Dooley, Sean Condon, Gary Morrisey, James Gormely, Kyle Burke, Mantas Vilimas James Phelan, Trevor Swayne, Liam Kinsella, Connor Byrne, Edwinas Roscenkovas, Pierce Bloger-Hinds, Shane Buggie, Dylan Dunne, Rian O’Connell