Final Reward for Hard Working Basketball Teams
On returning after the Christmas break it was straight back into action for four of the basketball teams at Our Lady’s College. They had qualified for semi-finals and these had to be played by Friday 10th. On Thursday the U19, Premier division and U19, Division 1 teams headed to Stillorgan. The neutral venue of Naomh Olaf would host both games. First up was the Premier Division semi-final, and their opposition was Maynooth Post Primary. A previous encounter in the league saw the Boynesiders win by 36 points. They knew this would not be the case in a semi and would need to be at their best. They had a poor start with many missed opportunities, but still led 6-2 at the break. Maynooth shot out of the block in the second quarter and won this quarter 9 points to 7. The squad was playing good basketball in patches, but some overzealous passes and easily missed rebounds saw them lose the lead at the end of the 3rd quarter. A slender 2-point lead now with Maynooth. They went 5 points up before the ‘College’ responded, thanks to Ava Prendergast. With 10 seconds on the clock and Maynooth 1 point ahead, Our Lady’s got a shot off, which narrowly missed but they secured the rebound. However, this too was unsuccessful, and time ran out. Unfortunately, the final has eluded them this year, by a single point 31-32. It was a poor performance, by their standards, on the day and realistically they should have won by 20 points. They will have learnt a lot in their first year in the U19 ranks and this will make them a stronger team going forward.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Oyin Adelegan 5; Ava Briscoe 9; Nikola Busa 4; Zoe Gardiner; Gretta McEvoy (injured); Ciara NicCríosta (injured); Ava Prendergast 7; Abby Rice 6; Ellie Riggs; Ava Russell and Abby Strutt.
The U19, Division 1 semi-final was next, and the opposition for this one was St. Dominic’s, Cabra. A recent encounter here saw the home side take the win, by a single point, after 3 periods of overtime. Dominic’s scored first after a nervy start by both teams and then Catherine Grey opened their account. With Lynn Victory accurate, as usual, from the free-throw line the side led 8-4 at the first interval. Katie McCabe lit the game up with her introduction in the 2nd quarter and scored 8 of her teams 9 points. Their defence also improved as they held Cabra to a single basket. Benita Assoua and Keelin O’Reilly particularly impressive under the boards. The 3rd quarter was a quiet affair with both teams scoring just 4 points. Despite leading by 12, Our Lady’s were not giving up their place in a final easily and scored a further 14 points in the final quarter to finish 35-15 up at the final whistle. This victory was particularly sweet as this team is the only team in the division that does not have any club players. They won the 2nd Division last year and had to step up a division. They have battled hard all year and fully deserve their place in the final.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Shona Bradley 4; Benita Assoua; Rachel Beirth 6; Eimear Clarke 4; Niamh Cullen; Caoimhe Doherty; Chantelle Gallagher; Catherine Grey 1; Katie McCabe 14; Josephine Ogbanga; Keelin O’Reilly and Lynn Victory 6.
On Friday it was the turn of the U16, Premier division & U16, Division 2 teams to try and secure a place in their respective finals. They headed to ALSAA Sports Complex at Dublin Airport, with the Division 2 semi first to be played at the neutral venue. St. Paul’s travelled from Tallaght to provide the opposition. Grace Woods opened and closed the scoring in this game and deserved a ‘player of the match’ for her performance. Both baskets in the first quarter were scored by Woods, while St. Paul’s only scored a single basket. St. Paul’s were quite aggressive in their defence and this caused problems for the Drogheda girls in getting to the basket. A single basket still separated the sides going into the 2nd half. A full court press turned the game around in the 3rd quarter, with Lily Mae Harmon and captain, Uyi Aghavbere getting on the score sheet. They led 15-6 at the start of the final quarter. The Tallaght side were not giving up and a late surge in the 4th quarter, saw them claw the game back. Success Agbonifo picked up a nice rebound and steadied the ship. Grace Woods scored their final basket, while Paul’s added another two baskets to their tally, before the final whistle sounded. Thankfully, the side held on and they make their 1st final, on a score line of 19-15.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Uyi Aghavbere 2; Success Agbonifo 2; Grace Awe; Molly Durnin; Lily Mae Harmon 2; Alma Harrak; Teigan Kavanagh; Stephanie Obisan; Desiree Ofodile; Gabriella Orackova; Katie Ryan and Grace Woods 13.
The last semi-final was the U16 Premier division, with Mt. Sackville from Chapelizod providing the opposition. These two sides met last in last years 2nd Year Premier final, with Mt. Sackville taking the spoils. They are a class act with a lot of talent, including Dublin, Leinster & International players and making matters more difficult for the ‘College’ was the absence of their Captain, Loveth Edomwande (holidays). However, the team were up for the challenge and roared out of the blocks, winning the 1st quarter 10-7. Captain, for the match, Sarahjane Hughes, scoring 6 of these points. Mt. Sackville realised they had a game on their hands and got down to business. They led 20-15 at the half and 36-19 going into the final quarter. Our Lady’s did not give up, and two quick scores from Rebecca Tully got the team on a scoring spree. They outscored their opponents 10 points to 2 in the final quarter, but it was not enough as the final whistle sounded. The final score 29-38 reflecting just how well this team had played. Although very disappointed, they can be nothing but proud of their performance, against a team brimming with super talent.
TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Sarahjane Hughes 6; Niamh Byrne 6; Subomi Dele; Jessica Duggan (not available); Loveth Edomwande (not available); Ella Flanagan; Keelin Foley; Kate McGuigan 2; Cliona McKernan 1; Neda Totilaite; Nicole Tully 6; Rebecca Tully 8 and Jowita Wyka.