Mountmellick CS 31 Castleblayney 25
Boys U-16 Leinster Basketball Semi Final
After a string of hard-earned wins, the U16 Mountmellick Community School boys team are deservedly heading to the National Basketball Arena.
Mountmellick CS basketball has gone from strength to strength, with the U19 boys basketball team just narrowly missing their place in the Leinster final on a three-point margin.
The U16 team’s journey began last September when the local lads managed a three-point victory.
After nine tough games and eight wins, the Mountmellick boys have secured their place as one of the best in Leinster.
Last week’s home game against Castleblayney was one of the toughest and most thrilling games of the season.
The Monaghan side play in the Leinster competition as opposed to the Ulster one, and proved stiff competition for the Laois school.
It was a tough game, with Castleblayney quickly taking a four-point lead.
On the Mountmellick side, the points put up by Tadhg Culliton, Kristian Gormley and Martin Culleton had the scoreboard at 5-13 – Castleblayney leading by eight points at the end of the first quarter.
With the second quarter now underway, Mountmellick really put the pressure on.
The boys really proved their determination with Culliton pulling through to score four points and Kristian adding another two points to the board.
Dylan Thomas also stepped up with an outstanding display of efficient defence, stopping the opposition from scoring at all in the second quarter.
The Mountmellick boys had not yet gained complete court dominance, with the second quarter’s score coming to 12-13, still behind but plenty of time for a turnaround.
At the start of the third quarter, Castleblayney responded with an easy two points from the free-throw line.
The heads of the Mountmellick boys did not drop – the halftime speech from coach and mentors Mags Foynes, Caoimhe Foynes and Glen Comerford was inspiring them.
Tadhg played excellently, adding another four-points, as did Kristian, to make up the quarter-ending score of 23-17. It was an excellent display of team chemistry and captain Martin Culleton consistently delivered accurate passes to the tall lads inside.
Tensions were high as the boys relinquished their six-point lead entering the fourth and final quarter.
With the score at 23-25, the lads knew they couldn’t let it slip away. Kristian, determined and focused regained the lead by scoring four more points.
With less than a minute left, the rest of the team pulled through with Tadhg scoring two more free-throws and Conor Gormley adding two points onto the scoreboard, to regain the six-point lead.
One last play from the opposition had the boys on edge, but with some skilled defence from Martin, Jamie Lee and Etochi Frankline, the ball dropped dead as the buzzer sounded.
The Mountmellick Community School Sports Complex was filled with cheers of joy and the applause of the terrific turnout.
Both teams displayed some excellent skills on the court, but Mountmellick took the win and their place in the Leinster finals.
Many thanks to Mountmellick CS student Tadhg Culliton for sending on this great article.
This is a great achievement for the school and we wish them the best of luck at the finals in Tallaght, on Friday, February 1 at 2.30pm.