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Basketball Semi-Finals - 2 out of 3 Not Bad

Last Friday saw three basketball teams from Our Lady’s College depart for ALSAA Sports Complex at Dublin Airport to compete in the semi-finals of the S.S.A. League.  For some it was their first time to compete in semis and for others this was second time around.

First up, was the 2nd Year, Junior B side.  This side won the 2nd Division at 1st year level last year and so had a ‘little’ experience.  However, having made the step up a division, it has been a tough campaign as every team they played have had at least one ‘Club’ player and they do not have that advantage.  This has not stopped them in their league campaign, and having lost only once this season, thoroughly deserve to be in this semi-final.  Their opposition was St. Pauls, Tallaght and this game was nip and tuck throughout.  The Boynesiders started well with scores from Bronagh Lane, Leah Bastinelli and Shona Bradley to give the side a slim 6 – 4 lead.  With a different 5 players taking to the floor in the second quarter, both sides struggled to score.  Oyin Adelegan picked up 3 personal fouls early in this quarter and had to side out.  Bastinelli was their only scorer in the 3rd quarter, as St. Paul’s ‘club’ player started to dominate and scored her sides 4 points.  The sides were level on 8 points each going into the final quarter.  Adelegan was back in the game and scored the next 4 points, giving Our Lady’s a 4-point cushion for the first time in the match.  An unmarked St. Paul’s player pulled the score back to 2 points before Adelegan once again bagged herself another basket.  With 23 seconds left on the game clock, St. Paul’s ‘club’ player drove to the basket and was rewarded with two free throws, both made successfully.  It was a nervy 23 seconds as the ‘College’ hung onto their 2-point advantage.  The final whistle eventually came and they will now contest their second final in as many years.  A close encounter, which could have gone either way, but the 14 – 12 victory was theirs on the day.

TEAM & SCORES: Captain, Abigail Woods (injured); Oyin Adelegan 6; Leah Bastianelli 4; Shona Bradley 2; Martyna Chomiak; Chantelle Gallagher; Holly Garry; Catherine Gray; Bronagh Lane 2; Lauren McHugh (absent); Ofu Obhakhan; Ronke Olatinwo; Ellie O’Reilly and Maia Savage.

The second team up on the day was the 2nd Year, Junior A team.  This team consists of 9 first year players and 3 second years, 10 of whom play their Club basketball with Drogheda Ladies B.C.  This puts them competing in the Premier division.  Their opponents were Mt. Sackville, from Chapelizod.  A single basket separated these two sides in their first encounter earlier in the season. Our Lady’s pipping that one at the post.  Nikola Busa opened the ‘College’ account and Ava Prendergast contributed before the first quarter whistle sounded.  The side were only 4 – 8 down but the second five players out failed to score as Mt. Sackville ran in 10 points, leaving them 4 – 18 down at the half time interval.  The side battled against a much taller and more skilful team, but did manage to outscore them in the 3rd quarter but only by a single point.  Unfortunately, it did not improve for them in the last quarter, as they failed to run offense after offense, and lost this one 12 – 30.  They will learn from this year, most of them playing a year up and against stronger players and will bounce back for next season.

TEAM & SCORES: Alice Bermingham; Ava Briscoe; Nikola Busa 4; Chloe Kenna; Ruby Matthews; Greta McEvoy 2; Ciara NicCriosta; Ava Prendergast 4; Abby Rice 2; Ellie Riggs; Abby Strutt and Garoa Villaverde.

The last team out was the 1st Year A team, playing in Division 2.  They too would take on Mt. Sackville.  A slow start, with Caoimhe Kearney being the only scorer for the Boynesiders, which left them 2 – 4 down at the break.  The next five players to take to the court looked to turn this deficit around and Keelin O’Reilly did just that with her first two baskets.  A further 3 points from Katie McCabe left her side 9 – 6 up at the half time interval.  Dannan Jackson and Kearney dominated the 3rd quarter and extended their lead 16 – 8 going into the last.  If there was ever a time to score your first basket this was it, and Rebecca McGrane did just that.  The side never looked in trouble after that and it was a comfortable win for them, 28 – 14 at the final whistle.  Katie McCabe was impressive with 11 points, but it was the teams’ overall performance that earned them this victory. 

TEAM & SCORES: Benita Assoua; Ava Carolan (injured); Ellen Donnelly; Zoe Gardiner; Emily Farrell; Carla Grennan (absent); Dannan Jackson 4; Caoimhe Kearney 5; Erin Lane; Zoe Lennon; Katie McCabe 11; Rebecca McGrane 2; Joy Njekwe; Kaylin Nugent; Lois O’Hare; Keelin O’Reilly 6; Ava Russell and Niamh Skelly.

The 2nd Year Junior C team, Division 2, will play their semi-final on Monday 13th in ALSAA Sports Complex against Maryfield College A.  Finals will take place on Thursday 23rd, March 2017 in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.

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