U16B Ulster Final

Aquinas U16 basketball team claimed the Ulster title with a 42-33 victory over St Joseph’s Derry in UUJ.

Alex McConaghy scored four points as Aquinas raced into an early lead but the Derry school fought back with three pointers from McCourt.  A three point play by Saul Caskey allowed Aquinas to hold a 13-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The second period belonged to St Joseph’s and very soon they had raced into a 26-18 lead.  However, baskets by Aidan O’Kelly and Dominic McConville reduced the deficit to four points (26-22) at half time.

Aquinas dominated the second half.  Eight unanswered by Tomas Flanigan and some great defence by Rory Maguire and Aidan O’Kelly saw Aquinas race into a 34-26 lead entering the last quarter.

The introduction of Vittorio Angelone steadied the Aquinas’ nerves as St Joseph’s pushed hard for to narrow the gap.  However, Aquinas held on to the buzzer to secure a well deserved win and first Ulster title for this team.

Tomas Flanigan led all scorers with 16 points.  Alex McConaghy had a much improved offensive game and landed 10.  Saul Caskey (7 points) hauled down rebound after rebound and Aidan O’Kelly (5 points) did a tremendous defensive job on the St Columb’s playmaker.

Rory Maguire had his best game for Aquinas this year.  His tenacity on the offensive and defensive ends caused problems for the Derry school as he set up easy scores for his team mates and put pressure on the outside shooters from St Joseph’s.  Vittorio Angelone (2 points) who missed the semi final through injury, and Dominic McConville (2 points) demonstrated the strength in-depth of Aquinas.

 The Ulster title now ensures that Aquinas get an automatic spot in the All-Ireland play-offs at the end of January.