Castleisland Community College U14A girls basketball team travelled to Tallaght on Wednesday for the final of the All Ireland Schools Cup. After a scoreless first quarter, Castleisland CC finished the game with 40 points and the cup for 2014 as they proved too much for Presentation Thurles who ended up with just 26points.
The Castleisland school team was led by the eventual MVP, Labhaoise Wamlsley, who completed a personal statistic double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds.
The first quarter got off to a slow start where nothing really fell for them. Some strong defence from Maebh Young and Shauna Ahern helped limit the Thurles lead to 5-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Castleisland CC exploded into the second quarter turning the tides with Nicole Downey starting off the scoring. They took the lead 7-5 early in the this quarter and revived the Castleisland crowd by scoring 17 points in six minutes of play, while holding Presentation to zero. Siobhan Collins and Labhaoise Walmsley dominated under the boards scoring 14 points between them. Some excellent steals from Danielle Reidy and strong rebounding and defence from Julieanne O’Connor saw Castleisland scoring 18 to Thurles 0. The teams headed into half-time with Castleisland leading 18-5 after a remarkable second quarter performance.
The girls from the Castleisland picked up right where they left off in the second quarter, led by Labhaoise Wamlsley who was scoring and rebounding at a rapid rate. Presentation put up a much better scoring effort in the third quarter, but Castleisland’s offence still proved too much for them. Again, in the third quarter Castleisland were up tempo with Sarah O’Sullivan adding to the scoreboard on fast breaks. Thurles tried to put CCC under pressure with a full court press but the ball skills of Nicole Downey and Maebh Young kept the game on CCC side and with Labhaoise Walmsley proving too strong under the boards there was no way back for Thurles.
Castleisland took a 32-10 lead into the fourth quarter. This quarter saw all 11 girls on the court and they ran out as deserving winners as Presentation faced a deficit too large to overcome. The game ended with a final score of 40-26 in favour of Castleisland.
Presentation SS Thurles 26 (10) (D Wall 10, R Daly 2, C Sherman 2) Castleisland CC 40 (18) (L Wamlsley 22, S Collins 5, S O’Sullivan 4) MVP: Labhaoise Wamlsley (Castleisland CC)
It was the first year that Basketball Ireland ran this competition and to win the cup in its inaugural year made the victory all the sweeter. Joint captains, Nicole Downey and Maebh Young were thrilled to accept the cup on behalf of the school with Labhaoise Walmsley picking up a most deserved golden ball for MVP on a massive 22 points.