Killester’s final ambition

by Gazette Reporter

PYROBEL Killester are on their way back to the Hula Hoops women’s basketball National Cup final this year following a dramatic win over Maxol WIT Wildcats in an action-packed thriller in Cork’s Mardyke Arena, 72-65.
Speaking afterwards, head coach Karl Kilbride was relieved to hear the final buzzer.
“We’re very happy, the performance could have been better, but we kept the pace up at the end and it paid off.
“It feels absolutely brilliant; to get to a second final and to get another chance to win it this year is something else. They got a run on us in the third quarter, but we kept at it and once we got that lead we knew we weren’t going to lose it,” added Aisling Sullivan.
A closely-contested first quarter saw fantastic scoring at either end, with Mel Stone, Sullivan, Raeshel Contreras and Jazmen Boone landing exquisite baskets in the early stages as the Wildcats led early on.
This was extended by Stone but a brilliant move down the baseline by Contreras at the other end tied the game at 23 apiece.
Boone again responded in style, but Ali Maguire put the pressure on to force a turnover and the crowd roared as Killester were back on the attack once more.
Two perfectly crafted jump shots from Helena Rohan seemed to give Wildcats some breathing room, but fantastic rebounding from Anna Pupin and a three-pointer from Contreras made it game on yet again. Michelle Clarke jumped high to hit the target to send Killester into the dressing room at half-time 36-31 ahead.
The third quarter was an absolute thriller as Wildcats hit their stride once more. Rohan got the scoring off to a great start, and despite baskets from Aoibheann Byrne at the other end and pressure from Katie Fox, Wildcats took control and enjoyed a 14-0 run to put them into the lead.
However, Killester got back into the game when Aine McDonnell finally interrupted the scoring spree, netting two baskets in quick succession off the fast break. Contreras added a three and as the buzzer sounded, Wildcats had just a one-point lead to bring them into the last quarter.
It was all action once more in the fourth, with Killester’s Pupin taking a lay-up in the opening seconds, before Boone responded for Wildcats and it was end-to-end action as each side vied for supremacy.
Control of the scoreboard changed with every attack, as one point remained between the sides for most of the closing quarter, and just as Killester took the lead, Boone was on hand to give Wildcats a one point advantage once more.
Kavanagh soon increased their lead to three, but it wouldn’t be for long as Sullivan was again on hand to bring her side back into it.
Tensions mounted as the clock ticked down and Killester’s Rebecca Nagle hit an impressive three-pointer, followed by two points from Pupin to open up a six-point gap with just over two minutes to go.
Killester had the edge, and they weren’t going to let it go and they closed out the win well.

Related Articles