Ambassador UCC Glanmire 79 Pyrobel Killester 82
A tremendous second half from Pyrobel Killester saw them book a place in the Hula Hoops Paudie O’Connor Women’s National Cup final when they overcame Ambassador UCC Glanmire at the Neptune stadium.
In a game where Glanmire lost a 16-point lead Killester to their credit never panicked and it was clear to see coach Mark Scannell was upset following this defeat.
“I suppose we looked to be in good shape but suddenly Killester came at us and got themselves back in the game,” said Scannell.
The Glanmire chief believes an injury to his American Tatum Neubert in the third quarter didn’t help his team in this crucial game.
“I just feel we lost our rhythm but look at the end of the day we still had our chance to win but some of our shot selections didn’t drop. In a game of this magnitude you need that little bit of luck but good luck to Killester they played some great basketball on the day,” added Scannell.
The mood in the Killester camp was one of elation as coach Karl Kilbride was smiling like a Cheshire cat.
“When we played Glanmire in the league they demolished us when they got a good start and to be honest today our character was tested again but as everybody saw we came through with flying colours.”
The Killester chief is under no illusions that his side have some work to do before the final.
“We cannot afford to start slowly in the final and if we play to our strengths there is reason why we should fear any team at this level,” added Kilbride.
Glanmire started the game playing high tempo basketball and with American Shrita Parker scoring eight points in a three-minute period the Cork side went into 11-2 lead.
Killester looked in serious disarray and two minutes later following another Glanmire shoot-out they trailed 20-4 with 5.31 remaining in the quarter.
Suddenly Glanmire went into meltdown and 10 consecutive points reduced the deficit to seven points with the Glanmire coach Mark Scannell refraining from calling a time out to stop the flow.
Suddenly the Parker influence had dried up and Killester inspired by Rebecca Nagle and Adellea El Randle punished the Cork side at will with some baskets that reduced the deficit to 26-19 after outscoring them 15-4.
On the restart, Killester continued to hustle Glanmire and wIth Parker’s scoring averages dropping they struggled to break down Killester’s defence.
When Glanmire look back on this game they will rue the performance of their Irish players who could only amass 23 points over 40 minutes.
The facts are the Glanmire Americans outscored their Killester counterparts 56-44 but it just didn’t go to plan for the Irish players who were outscored by 15 points.
In the closing minutes to the break, both sides traded baskets but Glanmire were fortunate to go in with a six-point lead 44-38.
The home fans would have expected their team to raise their game on the restart but again with Parker restricted Killester continued to hang around.
Indeed the Dublin side took the lead for the first time in the game with 3.50 remaining in the third quarter following a superb Rebecca Nagle three-pointer.
Killester pushed on from this and commanded a 62-56 lead entering the final quarter.
Amazingly the return to the court of Neubert gave Glanmire a huge lift and with Parker finding her shooting rhythm they edged into a 70-65 lead with six minutes remaining.
Credit to Killester they were superb coming down the stretch and with Christa Reed and Aisling McCann nailing crucial baskets Glanmire were left to rue their poor finish.
Scorers for Pyrobel Killester: C Reed 23, A Randle El 21, A McCann 14.
Glanmire: S Parker 38, T Neubert 18.
Ambassador UCC Glanmire: A McKenna, L A Wilkinson, C Grace, M Furlong, A Murphy, N Braham, A Braham, T Neubert, A Dooley, S Parker, M Breen.
Pyrobel Killester: A Randle El, M Clarke, L Rutherford, R Nagle, A McCann, M Stankovic, C Reed, E McCluskey, S Boyle, C Curran, R Malone, J Howe.
Referees: I Freire (Dublin), A Statkus (Dublin), L Aherne (Dublin).