Two Mayo schools crowned North West Basketball League champions
THE strong forces in Mayo schools basketball met in the regional Under 19 and Under 16 A finals last week at the De La Salle Hall, Castlebar, where two games of high quality were played.
St. Gerald’s were bidding for a double but had to settle for winning the Under 16 title in what was a very close contest, the Castlebar school emerging with a 45-42 victory in the end over Gortnor Abbey, Crossmolina, who were in this contest right to the buzzer.
The Under 19 final, meanwhile, witnessed some quality basketball in a game what produced nine three-pointers, four of those coming from by St. Gerald’s top gun, Aenghus Cowie, but, in the end, it was the better balanced team from St. Louis CS, Kiltimagh, who deservedly prevailed with eight points to spare (48-40).
Ballintubber’s Jack Diffily put in a man of the match performance as he nailed 27 points for St. Gerald’s in the Under 16 final.
The Castlebar student was really up for this one, nailing three three-pointers in his repertoire of scoring, and his strength was something Gortnor Abbey never came to terms with in what was a cracking game of basketball.
St. Gerald's took the first quarter 10-7, Ruaine McGowan coming up with three baskets and Diffily adding the other two, while Patrick Leonard and Andrew Barrett were the contributors for Gortnor Abbey.
Under coach Liam McHale, the Crossmolina schoolboys not only closed the gap but took the lead by the end of the second quarter, which they won 13-9, Andrew Barrett and Reuben Daly both hitting three-pointers, Daly adding two baskets to score seven for that quarter to put them ahead by one at 20-19.
By the end of the third quarter the lead had changed hands, with St. Gerald’s leading 33-32, taking the quarter 14-12.
Diffily stepped up big time in the third with two three-pointers plus two further baskets to bring his tally to 10 for that quarter alone, Sean Quinn and Rabbette coming up with a basket each as the game hung on a knife edge going into the fourth quarter.
Rabbette hit two early baskets in the fourth quarter, McGowan also adding one, but this game came down to the last few minutes as Diffilly stepped up to the plate with three baskets on the bounce to take the quarter 12-10, Daly, Barrett and Leonard each making huge contributions to a fine game.
Long-serving St. Gerald’s coach Niamh Loftus said the team put in a strong performance and were deserving winners, adding: “It is good to see basketball in a good place not only in St Gerald’s but around the county, and I’m delighted for the lads who continue to work hard, be it at schools basketball or playing with their own clubs.”
The St. Gerald’s scorers were: J. Diffily 27, D. Rabbette 9, R. McGowan 7, S. Quinn 2. For Gortnor Abbey, the top scorers were: P. Leonard 12, A. Barrett 13, R. Daly 12.
Three-pointers were the order of the day in a cracking Under 19 final, with the students of St. Louis CS in Kiltimagh emerging as deserving winners by eight on a scoreline of 48-40.
Aenghus Cowie pulled out four three-pointers for St. Gerald’s but it was the Kiltimagh school who had the better scoring spread, Eoghan McGovern finishing on 15, including three three-pointers, while just behind him was his brother, Darragh, who nailed 14 points and put in a man of the match performance. Oisin Mulderrig finishing on 10 points, including two three-pointers, with the Kiltimagh school nailing five three-pointers in total.
This was a tight game all through but a strong second quarter from the Kiltimagh students was to prove crucial as they led by 26-19 at half-time, St. Louis shading the first quarter, 12-11.
Four points stood between the sides at the end of the third quarter (35-31), but a strong fourth from St. Louis sealed a deserving win, two three-pointers in that final quarter from Oisin Mulderrig and Eoghan McGovern shutting the door on a battling St. Gerald's team, who fought to the very end.
Delighted St. Louis coach Amy Hopkins said the lads had put in a lot of work over the years and had played together as a team from a very young age.
“They are good bunch of players and I’m delighted for them as this was always going o be a tough game to win,” said Amy.
Scorers for St. Louis were: Eoghan McGovern 15, Darragh McGovern 14, Oisin Mulderrig 10, Oisin McNicholas 6. On the scoresheet for St. Gerald's were: Aenghus Cowie 14, Ethan Lyons 11, Ignaccio Perriato 6, Jack Diffily 4, Kamal Mamoh 4 and Luke Lydon 2.