Calanctius College were crowned U16 ‘A’ All-Ireland Girls Schools League champions after snatching a dramatic 38-36 overtime victory against Intermediate School Killorglin.
Aisling Jordan, with 17 points was awarded the MVP award.
The teams traded superiority in the opening two quarters. Naoishe Burke, Mary Kate Smith and Sinead Clifford contributed to a strong start for Intermediate School Killorglin, stepping up at various intervals to make shots and give the Kerry school a 14-5 lead at the close of play in the first.
Calasanctius College found their stride in the second. Aisling Jordan took the game by the scruff of the neck in making three of the first five buckets. Ably assisted by Kate Burke, the Galway side reduced the deficit to a manageable 5 points as the teams heard the half-time buzzer, 22-17 Killorglin at the break.
Rachel Boyle kept the scoreboard ticking for Intermediate College Killorglin to start the third, but Jordan’s onslaught on the basket continued and when she made her third bucket of the quarter with a driving lay-up, Calasanctius College found themselves 27-26 in front. Mary Kate Smith responded for the Kerry school, but it was Calasanctius College who took a three point advantage, 29-26 into the final quarter.
The defensive intensity stepped up a level, as did the in the final ten minutes and both teams found scoring tough. Each set of fans thought their team had sealed the game late on when Grace McAnespie drained a jumper and Mary Kate Smith made free-throws, but the contest was destined for overtime.
The extra-time played out in a similar fashion to the end of the game. Each set of players made some outstanding defensive plays, missed shots and fought bravely. Mary Kate Smith appeared to have capped a fine individual display when she put her team back in front with just 21 seconds left on the clock, but up stepped Kate Burke to make a crucial shot beneath the basket under immense pressure.
Aisling Jordan sealed the win with her 18th and 19th points from the free-throw line as time expired and the National Basketball Arena drew a collective intake of breath following a classic.
Calasanctius College: Aisling Jordan (19), Kate Burke (9), Grace McAnespie (4).
Intermediate School Killorglin: Mary Kate Smith (17), Naoishe Burke (11), Emily O’Sullivan (4)
Laoise McDonagh, Bibi Hogan, Jessica Ross, Laura Colleran, Cara Cormican, Aisling Jordan, Isabelle Schumacher, Ellie Martyn, Kate Butler, Grace McAnespie, Kate Burke, Katie Ross.
Coach: Richard Burke
Ass. Coach: Mary Rockall
Intermediate School Killorglin:
Mary Kate Smith, Naoishe Burke, Emily O’Sullivan, Sinead Clifford, Leona O’Sullivan, Aoibhinn O’Donovan, Naoishe O’Donoghue, Aine Hassett, Mary Ellen McDonnell, Rachel Boyle, Avril Rooney, Nicole McCormac.
Coach: Ann Moynihan
Ass. Coach: Angela Hassett