Basketball Finals: Two out of three ain’t bad.
Last Thursday was finals day for three basketball teams in Our Lady’s College. The team bus with the U19A, U16A & U16B teams travelled to the National Basketball Arena, accompanied by a bus full of supporters. There were six finals in the Secondary Schools Association on the day and Our Lady’s would contest the last three. This is a huge achievement for the school as we were the only School competing in three finals. Our first final was the U19, Division 2 where the opposition was St. Dominic’s, Cabra. Both teams took the 1st quarter to settle in with the score line low, 6-4 in favour of the ‘College’. Cabra were playing a very aggressive defence but this got them into foul trouble and were punished in the resulting free-throws. Oyin Adelegan particularly successful from the free-throw line. Our Lady’s had extended their lead, 16-9 by half time. Captain, Aoife Howard was leading by example,scoring immediately after the interval tip-off and her side went on to hit 15 points in this quarter. Lynn Victory and Garoa Villaverde running in some nice lay-up off defensive boards. Cabra plugged away but never threatened and the title of U19 Division 2, SSA Champions 2018-19 went to Our Lady’s College,as they finished on a score-line of 39 to 18. After the mayhem had died down the presentation of medals were made and Aoife Howard collected the trophy, Lynn Victory was announced as the Most Valuable Player in the final much to the delight of the supporters and the team.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Aoife Howard 8; Oyin Adelegan 9; EimearClarke; Niamh Cullen 2; Caoimhe Doherty 2; Lindsey Eriamietor 8; Chelsea Imafidon; Sinead Lewin; Laura Rice; Lynn Victory 2 and Garoa Villaverde 8.
Next up was the U16, division 2 team who were playing St. Mary’s, Killester. Scores were hard to come by in the 1st quarter, with Bronagh Lane opening the account and Katie McCabe following with two more baskets. The team led 6-5 at the break. They settled in quarter two and their defence was superb as they held Killester scoreless. Baskets by Captain, Benita Assoua, Erin Lane,Caoimhe Kearney and McCabe saw the team leading 15-6 at the break. Killester regrouped and the teams exchanged basket for basket in the 3rd quarter. The final period was a tense affair, with the‘College’ making some dubious decisions and not finishing with a basket. Keelin O’Reilly closed their account seconds before the final buzzer, and Our Lady’s picked up their second title of the afternoon. The final score a comfortable 27 – 13. Again, the supporters were very vocal in their appreciation of both teams. Captain, Benita Assoua picked up the winning plaque on behalf of her team after medals were presented. Unfortunately, we did not get the MVP in this one as it went to a St.Mary’s player for her defensive performance. However, the team will take the title of U16 Division 2, SSA Champions 2018-19. This team deserves an extra mention for their commitment and dedication as this is their third year in a row to be in a final, winning two.
TEAM& SCORES: Captain, Benita Assoua 3; Alice Bermingham; Carla Grennan; Caoimhe Kearney; Bronagh Lane 5; Erin Lane 5; Katie McCabe 10; Joy Njekwe; Kaylin Nugent; Lois O’Hare and Keelin O’Reilly 4.
The last final of the day was the U16, Premier division where we would take on Manor House from Rahney. Captain, Ava Briscoe was first out of the blocks in this one, but her side trailed 5-7 at the break. Baskets in the next period from Ava Prendergast and Ellie Riggs left a single point separating the sides at the half time interval, 12-13. The team ran their fast break to perfection in the 3rd, primarily due to excellent defence under the boards by Abby Rice and Nikola Busa. They outscored Manor House 12 points to 5,the lead now with them, 24-19 going into the last quarter. Rahney were not giving up easily and they hustled their opponents into making trivial mistakes and capitalised on these. The scores were tied at 30 points each when Manor House scored with 7.4 seconds left on the game clock. The Boynesiders managed to get a lay-up off but it failed to drop as the buzzer sounded. This was a tough way to lose a final, but a tremendous game by both teams,as their displayed their exceptional talents. This team won last years 2nd Year Premier division final, so to be back in the National Basketball Arena again at this level is no mean achievement. The team was understandably very disappointed and there were some very long faces as medals were collected. However, Coach Denise Rice has no doubt they will bounce back and look to contest next year’s final.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Ava Briscoe 16; Nikola Busa 2; Zoe Gardiner; Ruby Matthews; Gretta McEvoy 4; Ciara NicCríosta (injured); Josephine Ogbanga; Ava Prendergast 6; Abby Rice; Ellie Riggs 2; Ava Russell and Abby Strutt.
Coach, Denise Rice would like to thank the supporters who never waned in their very vocal enthusiasm throughout the long afternoon of games.