National Cup finals are no place to produce your worst performance of the competition and that is exactly what happened to this Singleton’s SuperValu Brunell U18 side who were well beaten by Meteors in the U18 Women’s National Cup final played in the National Basketball Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Having played so well in the quarter-final and semi-final win over Limerick Celtics in particular, the Cork side failed to reproduce that type of performance and the better side won on the day.
You can’t deny that, but this young Brunell side deserve great credit for the way they kept battling, fighting and giving their all even though they knew from a long way out, it was always going to be a losing cause.
Issy McSweeney, Rachel Lynch, Ava Walshe, Rebecca Sexton and Saoirse Breen all played well in patches individually, never as a unit, but it was not enough and while they were visibly upset at the final whistle, if they learn from this loss, it won’t all have been bad.
Players always learn more from defeat than victory, so if they can take the lessons on board, they will all be better, stronger players for the experience.
Brunell trailed by six at the end of the first quarter 12-18. The bigger, stronger Meteors side were proving very difficult for Brunell to contain.
They were hitting shots from all over the court with several players contributing, while for Brunell, they were relying mainly on inside player Rachel Lynch to do the bulk of the scoring for them and she struggled in the opening quarter, only hitting two of her seven shots.
Brunell struggled to score early in the second, Meteors' big zone defence causing them problems and with Lynch completely tied up under the boards, it was left to captain Izzy McSweeney to make some shots and keep them in the game.
With five to go they trailed 15-25 and at the half it was an eight-point game, 23-31, thanks to some late scoring from Ava Walshe, but Brunell would need to play much better in the second half if they were to win this final.
They shot 20% from the floor in the opening half (8/40) and turned the ball over 10 times.
They needed to improve all over the floor on both ends.
Meteors dominated the third quarter, hitting 24 points themselves and keeping Brunell to just nine points to lead 55-32 entering the final 10 minutes and the game was over as a contest at this stage.
Brunell kept battling in the fourth, hit some nice jump shots, reduced the deficit a little, but still struggled to contain a rampant Meteors side who were excellent and now playing their bench players and in the end, they ran out very comfortable winners by 17 points.
There is no shame in losing to a better team.
That's simply what happened here.