THE PRESENTATION BRAY U-19 team hosted St. Eunan's of Letterkenny in the second round of the U-19 All-Ireland Schools Cup last Thursday in the new school gym.
The Bray lads are the defending U-19 AllIreland Schools Cup champions and are one of the favourites for the title this season. St. Eunan's are a young team with a bright future ahead of them, but had made the long journey from Donegal hoping to shock the schools basketball scene with an upset win over last year's champions.
The match started at a hectic pace with Presentation Bray applying a lot of pressure on the St. Eunan's ball handlers. This pressure lead to scores from Andy Bartley and Lorcan Murphy.
Ash O'Callaghan crashed the offensive boards to grab vital rebounds and also got his name on the score sheet with a well taken score following another big rebound. Marc Lennon was controlling the match for the home side from the point guard position and his passing produced some easy fast break scores that Lorcan Murphy and Andy Bartley finished in style.
Marc also went three out of four from the free throw line to extend the Bray lead. After a slow start, St. Eunan's found their offensive stride late in the first quarter and some excellent play from the Hickey twins, Cian and Tadhg kept them in touch with Presentation Bray. The score at the end of the first quarter was 24-17 in favour of the home team.
In the second quarter, Pres Bray had some excellent contributions from the bench. Dylan Terry, Luke Gorman and Shane Davidson all got to see some action on the court and they all scored to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the Bray lads.
Lorcan Murphy continued to clear up the defensive rebounds for Pres Bray and trigger fast break opportunities, which were converted by team mate, Andy Bartley who scored 18 points in the quarter.
Peter Conroy gave Marc Lennon a rest and created some easy scoring chances for his team mates with some great passing. The Presentation Bray defensive effort continued to frustrate St. Eunan's and forced them into quick shots. The home team kept piling on the pressure and the score at halftime was 55-26 in the home sides favour.
Presentation Bray started the second half of the match with scores from Ash O'Callaghan and Dylan Terry. The combination of Andy Bartley and Lorcan Murphy was proving too much for the St. Eunan's defenders to handle and both players were scoring with ease.
Luke Gorman came on for the injured Lorcan Murohy and immediately converted one out of two from the free throw line. The Presentation Bray lead was now out to 30 points and a 3 point score from Ash O'Callaghan on the buzzer left the score at 85-48 to the home side.
The final quarter saw an opportunity for Presentation Bray to get some court time for the squads fringe players. Sam Friel jumped at the opportunity and ran the floor well to score four points in the quarter. Dylan Terry and Luke Gorman continued to show the strength in depth that Presentation Bray has.
St. Eunan's found it much easier to score in the final quarter and they gladly took the opportunity to eat into the Presentation Bray lead and make the final score more respectable.
The match finished 95-83 to the home side who now will travel to play St. Joseph's 'The Bish', Galway in an U-19 All-Ireland Schools Cup quarter-final after the mid-term break.
Presentation Bray scorers: Andy Bartley 36pts; Lorcan Murphy 16pts; Luke Gorman 12pts; Ash O'Callaghan and Dylan Terry both 9pts each; Marc Lennon 7pts; Sam Friel 4pts; Shane Davidson 2pts.