Maxol WIT Wildcats’ Brittney Dunbar was in brilliant form to help her team to victory on the road against Portlaoise Panthers at the weekend.
PORTLAOISE PANTHERS 67
MAXOL WIT WILDCATS 71
Playing without their inspirational team captain Sinead Deegan who disjointed a finger in training Friday night, Maxol WIT Wildcats pulled victory from the jaws of defeat for the second week in succession when they beat the Panthers in Portlaoise last Saturday evening.
After a good start where they led 10-2 after five minutes, Wildcats finished the first quarter level at 16-16 thanks to excellent finishing from the Panthers and some sloppy finishing and poor defence from the Waterford outfit. The Portlaoise side gradually edged ahead as local 17 year old Claire Melia and American Nicole Sterling linked up to to thrill the vocal home support with many sensational baskets. Meanwhile the hard working but uncoordinated Wildcats players were all at sea and went to the break trailing 29-35, a deficit that would have been much greater but for a succession of wonderful baskets from Steph O’Shea and an amazing performance in point guard position from American Britteny Dunbar . Birthday girl Annie Fanning (18) also played a vital part when called upon .
Into the final quarters and once again Panthers gradually started to forge ahead leading by 13 points with eight minutes to play and looking like a home win was on the cards before a couple of three pointers from Mel Stone followed by three baskets from DeLacey Anderson (USA) turned the game in Wildcats favour. Scores were traded with Helena Rohan, Cathy Kavanagh and Britteny Dunbar keeping Wildcats in touch. Well inside the last minute Dunbar drove coast to coast to put Wildcats two up with just 10 seconds to the final buzzer, Panthers coach called for a time out to set up a play to save the day. His players carried out his instructions to perfection and levelled the game in the last second. With the scores level at 60-60 the game went to overtime and now it was a matter of who wanted it most and the Wildcats players had that extra winning desire that got them over the line to record a victory that looked unlikely for most of the game .
This Wildcats team are gelling into a force to be reckoned with and will look back on this game as one that might have got away from them but their gritty determination and ability to work as a unit is what won the day. However all in the team will sing the praises of Britteny Dunbar who was magnificent throughout especially in the absence of Sinead Deegan. Wildcats supporters can look forward to a exciting season, with the next home game versus Dublin Meteors on Saturday November 12th. Meanwhile Wildcats have a two week break as there are national cup prelim games and good time for Sinead Deegan’s hand injury to recover.