Portlaoise Panthers 62 Dublin Lions 67
Hula Hoops Under 20 Men’s Cup Semi Final
A poor second quarter showing cost Portlaoise Panthers U-20s dearly as their cup dreams ended this afternoon.
Jack Scully’s side allowed Dublin Lions to build up a sizeable lead in the quarter before half time and although they made several comebacks, it was that period that cost them dearly in the end.
The fouling-out of the influential James Gormley at the start of the final quarter was also detrimental as his scoring power was really missed when the game became tight.
Indeed, with 48 seconds to play, the gap between the teams was just two points but Portlaoise failed to score again as the Lions finished the game stronger.
The first quarter was incredibly tight with the lead changing hands on a number of occasions.
The Panthers started well though with James Gormley, Trevor Swayne and James Phelan finding the basket to give the Panthers an 8-2 lead early on.
However, the Lions are a powerful unit and they came back into the game to level things up at 16 each as we headed for the final few minutes of the quarter.
The aforementioned Panthers trio continued scoring but a late Finn Hughes score left Lions ahead by 22-20 at the end of the quarter.
Lions continued to execute the full court press and extended their lead to eight points on the resumption.
Gormley, Swayne and Sean Condon tried to keep Portlaoise Panthers in touch but some lovely three pointers saw the Lions moved 39-26 ahead at the midpoint of the quarter.
Phelan, Swayne and Condon all scored before half but when the hooter sounded, the Panthers trailed by 45-36.
Whatever manager Jack Scully said to the lads at half time clearly worked as they tore into the Lions on the resumption of play.
Trevor Swayne, Gormley and Sean Condon all found the basket as the Panthers narrowed the deficit to three in a matter of minutes.
Lions recovered with a Chris Maguire two-pointer but the Panthers came again as James Phelan, James Gormley and Rian O’Connell all scored to give Panthers the lead for the first time since the start of the match.
Lions finished the quarter the stronger though and led by 57-54 as we headed for the final period.
Trevor Swayne cut the deficit to one but the Panthers were then dealt a severe blow when the 7-foot tall scoring machine James Gormley was adjudged to have committed his fifth foul and his involvement in the game was over.
The scoring really slowed down in the final quarter as Lions went five ahead before a Rian O’Connell free throw reduced the margin to four with just a couple of minutes to play.
Finn Hughes looked to have won it for Lions with an incredible three-pointer but Panthers showed incredible spirit to battle back.
Sean Condon got a basket and a free-throw before Gary Morrissey scored following a great Liam Kinsella steal to leave two between them with 48 seconds to play.
However, the comeback just fell short as Lions advance to play Neptune in the final.
SCORERS – James Gormley 14, Trevor Swayne 18, James Phelan 12, Sean Condon 11, Rian O’Connell 3, Gary Morrissey 2
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS: Liam Kinsella (C), Rian O’Connell, Gary Morrissey, Trevor Swayne, Pierce Bolger Hinds, Conor Byrne, James Phelan, Sean Condon, James Gormley, Dylan Dunne, Shane Buggie, Edvinas Rosenkovas, Sam Whynn, Tom Gbenoba, Glenn Comerford, Aaron G Murphy, Bright Osadolor, Joe Gibbons