Champagne moment for National Cup champions Montenotte

Team Montenotte 96 Killester 64: Team Montenotte produced champagne basketball to clinch their third consecutive Women’s Premier National Cup final with an emphatic win over Killester at the National Basketball Arena yesterday.
Champagne moment for National Cup champions Montenotte

The Cork side were simply on another planet and the one guarantee you get from this side is entertainment when they are in this frame of mind, according to head coach Mark Scannell.

“When we play like we did in the first-half not many teams can stay the pace with us and despite having a few hitches this season I never had any doubt coming into this final,” Scannell said.

The Montenotte boss believes preparation for this final went to plan and the players bought into how they were going to shut down Killester’s shooting options.

“I suppose looking at it I would have liked if Killester’s American Contrereas had scored less but, in reality, she is a very good player and players of her class get the numbers,” Scannell added.

Following an early brace of Aine McKenna free-throws, Contreras shot a magnificent three-pointer.

McKenna was playing a significant part for Montenotte as she accumulated eight points in the opening four minutes that included two outside the perimeter.

Contreras was doing likewise for Killester with a range of magnificent shots but her side struggled to find the necessary baskets to upset the Cork side.

Montenotte gave an exhibition in this period, as coach Scannell used nine players. Contreras aside, Killester looked all at sea at both ends of the court.

Montenotte finished the quarter in style as Miriam Byrne put them 31-14 ahead entering the second quarter.

On the restart, Montenotte continued to flow and in American Chantell Alford they have found a gem.

In the opening months of the season Alford wasn’t producing the goods but recently she has become as good a professional as there is in the league.

She is oozing confidence and her teammates have responded to her massive improvement.

Midway through the quarter, Montenotte increased their lead to 30 points as each player that went on court for the Cork side produced the goods It was evident the pace of the game was catching Killester as they found it hard to run the floor with their Cork opponents.

Trailing 62-34 at the interval many of the large attendance began wandering away from the arena as many felt this game was in the bag.

On the restart, coach Scannell began with his starting five but Killester punished them with consecutive three-pointers.

As befits champions, Montenotte responded and with Alford continuing to show her class they soon restored their composure and by the end of the third quarter had increased their lead to 84-50.

Coming down the stretch Montenotte used various rotations as this game was over as a contest long before the buzzer.

Many players could have been selected as MVP but team captain Aine McKenna got the nod in front of her family who had travelled from Listowel to witness their daughter lead the Cork side to a famous win.

“I am so delighted my parents were here to share his great moment with me but right from my school days in Listowel that have been my biggest fans and today is a special one for all of us,” McKenna said.

TEAM MONTENOTTE:

C Rockall, G Dwyer, M Breen, M Byrne, E O’Mahony, H Lenihan, L Ann Wilkinson, A O’Regan, A McKenna, C Alford, S Kenny.

KILLESTER:

A Sullivan, A Byrne, R Contreras, A McCann, M Clarke, A Pupin, N O’Donovan, A Maguire., E Sherwood, A McGrath, A McDonnell, R Nagle.

Referees:

Dick Dunne (Dublin), Natalie Walsh (Kilkenny), Lynda Cassidy (Dublin).

MVP:

Áine McKenna (Team Montenotte)

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