Marble City Hawks continued their good run of results when beating Fr Mathews (Cork) in the O’Loughlin Gaels centre on Saturday in Division One of the women’s national basketball league.
The Cork team was full of proven players, including Niamh O’Dwyer, who has represented Ireland.
The Hawks started with a fast and physical game, with Katie Fox a powerhouse throughout.
Katie started with a massive three point play that set the tone.
Fr Mathews marked the Hawks player of the month, Kelly O’Hallahan tightly, but she still hit four points in the quarter.
Sheila Sheehy stepped up with four points and Liz Mulleney put away another six.
Katie Fox dominated with her speed, control and passing accuracy to help the Hawks build a 20-15 lead at the end of the quarter. She also sank a three pointer.
The second quarter action was tight.
Phil Fogarty hit the opening five points for Hawks, but the quarter belonged to the amazing Kelly O’Hallahan, who at times was triple teamed and still managed to score nine points.
Kelly kept her player to zero points.
The unsung hero for the Hawks was Katie Fox, who denied her player a score.
At the half the Hawks led 38-28 up.
Coach Julian O’Keeffe preached composure and resilience during the break.
The Hawks took the message on board and played fantastic defence and put pressure on the ball, led by Katie Fox.
A massive three pointer by Claire Kelly mid-way through the quarter really kept the pressure on the Leesiders. Kilkenny took a 12 point lead into the last quarter.
In this quarter it was the turn of Maria Connolly, Aine and Sheila Sheehy to shine. Between them they sank seven vital points.
Early in the quarter Fr Mathews resorted to long distance shots, but to no avail. The quarter finished with Kelly O’Hallahan scoring to hit a game high 17 points.
The result leaves the Hawks third in the League table.
The squad’s focus now is on the Hula Hoops National Cup final against Ulster Rockets in the National Basketball Arena on Sunday, January 29 (2.30pm), and also a top four in the league.
Confidence is growing and the players believe anything is possible.
The Fr Mathews game can be summarised thus - 1 Kelly O’Hallahan was dominant and hit 17 points, plus 11 rebounds; 2 Katie Fox’s speed, determination and defensive fight were vital; 3 the rest of the team stepped up to score 38 points.
The contribution of locals (Phil, Claire, Aine, Liz, Sheila Nicola and Maria) was the story of the game for the coach.
They stood up to the challenge and gave the team another option for scoring when the opposition try to shut down Kelly O’Hallahan.
For the coaching team this was the proudest and most significant part of the victory. It demonstrated the strength and versatility of the squad when challenged.
The effort and tempo Katie Fox brings to the team is unreal. Without her remarkable energy the team would have struggled.
For her efforts Katie was deemed the player of the game.
The Hawks face Carlow IT in the next round of the League. Carlow are unbeaten and they defeated the Hawks in Kilkenny earlier in the season.
But with the addition of Katie Fox, the Hawks are confident they can compete in Carlow.
Thanks was extended to Prochem Engineering for their sponsorship of the game, and also to Roche Injury Clinic for the sponsorship of the jerseys.
Special thanks went to the huge crowd that came out to support the girls. After the game the team all commented on the amazing support they got from the crowd.
The next home game is on February 4 against the Ulster Rockets.
Hawks: Kelly O’Hallahan (17pts, 4Ast 6stl, 12Rbs), Phil Fogarty (10pts, 3stl, 2rbs, 1ast), Claire Kelly (8pts, 5rbs, 1stl, 1Ast), Aine Sheehy (7pts, 2Ast, 3 Rbs, 4stl, 3blk), Sheila Sheehy (6pts, 10rbs, 1Stl, 1ast, 1 blk), Liz Mulleney (6pts, 3Rbs, 2Ast), Katie Fox (3pts, 7ast, 3stl, 7Rbs),Maria Connolly. (2pts, 1ast, 1stl, 1Rbs) , Nicola Gannon, Melissa Rabitte.