MARBLE CITY HAWKS 60 UL HUSKIES 57
It has been a long hard season for Kilkenny’s excellent Ladies National League basketball team but a very rewarding one. After Saturday’s incredibly exciting semi-final playoff against UL Huskies, who twice this season had already defeated the Kilkenny side, they girls will have one more trip on the long and winding roads of this season to the National League Final in Letterkenny and 5 hours to a date with destiny in Donegal.
It was Mc Hawks who started the brighter of the two sides on Saturday with Katie fox controlling the pace of the game at point guard and this helped them into a healthy 12 point lead at the break with some great scores by Team Captain Aine Sheehy as her team went in 36-24 ahead.
The third quarter was when Sarah Benidict and Cathy Cardell of UL showed their class and the reason why in the league table they finished second. It was a quarter where the MC Hawks ladies seem to lose concentration and paid the price as when the quarter ended found themselves trailing for the first time of the afternoon by the slimiest of margins 45-44 as they were outscored by 21-8 in that slack third quarter.
With UL now in the ascendance this final 10 minutes was the period that could be last of the season or when they could once again show that incredible self believe that Coach Julian O Keeffe has instilled in his squad and put them into their second final of this incredible season.
Julian decided to change his formation to Zonal deference to curb the Huskies pack from continuing their charge. It worked. Mc Hawks halted the slide and with Kelly O Halloran now showing her class the girls scored the all-important baskets and when the final siren sounded to the delighted of the large travelling Hawks loyal supporters the girls had a 3 point winning margin 60-57.
The Mc Hawks squad gave their all in this incredible close semi-final with Kelly O’ Halloran finishing as top scorer with 27 points , Aine Sheehy with 11 and Katie Fox hitting 7 points as the ladies now head next Sunday to Letterkenny to play Carlow IT in the National League Final.
ITC Basketball overcame Ulster Rockets 71-54 in the Women’s Division One semi-final to book a place in next weekend’s final. Jamiyah Bethune was the scoring star for the Carlow team, bagging a whopping 33 points on the day.