Coláiste Cholmcille Ballyshannon completed their league and cup double in dramatic style as a fast break and some nerveless free throw shooting gave them a 31-29 win over Dominican College of Galway in the U-16B Girls All Ireland League decider.
Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon . . . . . . . 31
Dominican College, Galway . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
On their last trip to the National Basketball Arena, they were nine-point winners of the Subway Schools All-Ireland Cup, but this was an altogether closer affair.
Coach Stephen Carty credited the effectiveness of their fast break: “We like to move the ball quick and take it to the basket as soon as possible. It’s the most simple way to do it and a great way to win it. It’s a tough way to lose it though and after all the hard work we’d put in we just didn’t want to see that happen.“
Dominican College set up as a well drilled crew with the speed of Emi O’Connor in the back-court and Melissa Wiazowska bringing her experience from the Ireland International Underage Programme to bear. They were the ones on the scoreboard in the first quarter with O’Connor hitting a shot on the buzzer for a 6-4 lead.
Coláiste Choilmcille had an equally disciplined defence and mindful of another buzzer beater in the second quarter, they put their bodies on the line stop Dominican College on the stroke of half time. By then the Donegal side had build up a 16-11 lead – Emma Rooney and Tara Duffy with half the tally and Alannah Heatley-Ryan impressing off the bench.
Some big three pointers lit up the third quarter. First Wiazowska drained a monster three-pointer off the glass before Ballyshannon produced the perfect response on the very next possession. It was Sarah Robinson’s triple that put them 19-18 ahead heading into the final quarter.
Dominican College were penetrating better to the low post and living with the step up in intensity. Wiazowska rose high to pull off a block but came down hard on her right leg and suddenly the Taylor’s Hill School were without their go-to player when they needed her most.
Andrea McGlynn pulled down a big rebound and hit the outlet pass for Duffy to make a layup on the fast break. The shrieks of the crowd were bouncing off the roof of the National Basketball Arena as the MVP nailed the free-throws to claim the win with 20 seconds left.
Dominican College, Galway: Melissa Wiazowska 14, Emi O’Connor 8, Roisin Sweeney 2, Elena Santocanale 4, Naomi Villaruel 1. Substitutes: Emily Browne, Fiona Barron, Cleo Burke, Dilsouz Barden, Bronwyn Varette, Aissata Thiam
Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon: Emma Rooney 6, Andrea McGlynn 8, Katie Slevin, Saoirse McDevitt 3, Tara Duffy 6. Substitutes: Katherine McClay, Alannah Heatley Ryan 5, Valerie Harley, Megan Davitt, Sarah Drummond, Sarah Robinson 3, Rionach Sheerin.