Aquinas U15 basketballers have claimed the Ulster U15 B championship with a great 51-46 win over Rathmore in a tightly contested final.

Aquinas had won five out of six games in the regular season with their only defeat being to Rathmore (coached by pro basketball player Paul Dick) at the start of the season.

Both teams started off the first quarter with Lughan O’Hare notching an impressive six points to keep Aquinas in touch  as McIlvenny and Kennedy helped Rathmore to an 11-8 lead.  The second period belonged to Aquinas’ Christian Onella as some great drives brought the scores level.  Evin Maguire dominated on the defensive end and at half time both teams went in at 19-19.

The second half was high octane basketball.  While Aquinas dominated possession, the bigger Rathmore team scored a lot of second chance points on the offensive boards.  A time out by coach George Horner saw a defensive switch to nullify the scoring threat of Kennedy.   O’Hare, Onella and Lorcan Sheridan scored the majority of points as Aquinas entered the last quarter with a 35-33 lead.

Christian Onella hit a huge three pointer to give Aquinas five point lead but Burke from Rathmore hit four unanswered points to reduce the deficit again..  A couple of great scores from Lughan O’Hare helped settle the nerves of the Aquinas coaching staff and bench and finish the game out with a 6-0 run to secure another Ulster title for Aquinas.

Christian Onella led all scorers with 22 points and Lughan O’Hare had 16 points.   It was a great way for the boys to end the season and some players really stepped out their game since their first defeat back in January.  Credit must go to coach George Horner who has taken the boys this year and done a fantastic job, not only bringing his first Ulster title to Aquinas, but also help with the development of the fringe players on the squad.  While a lot of praise will go to the main scorers in the final, it’s been a great team effort the whole year.

 

basketball 20115

Squad:

Evin Maguire (c), Christian Onella, Lughan O’Hare, Lorcan Sheridan, Thomas O’Rourke, Kevin McColgan,  Ruairi McMahon, James Smyth, Cian Crolly, Anton Debroka, JJ Gracey, James Doherty, Conor Curran, Callum McBrien.

Coach:  George Horner