CBS The Green Basketball Team Through To National Final

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The CBS The Green U16 team with coaches Dale Counihan and Ruairi O’Rahilly.

CBS The Green are through to the National schools Cup Under 16 A  Final at the end of the month following a nail biting climax at the University of Limerick on Tuesday last where they clinched a 39-38 victory against Bandon in  the semi-final.

Resilience was the key ingredient for the Tralee boys as they trailed from the get-go right up until the final five seconds, when the outstanding Rapolas Buivydas showed nerves of steel to drain two free throws to take the lead when it mattered most.

Tralee started well with Daragh Broderick getting the opening score but two further baskets from the impressive Peter Kearns and a three point from range from Luke Chester were all they had to show as they trailed 15 to 9 at the end of the first quarter.

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Both teams traded eleven points in the 2nd quarter, with Irish internationals Kelvin O’Donoghue and Eli Lenihan of Blarney beginning to up the ante.

Niall Fitzmaurice, Seamus Bradley and David Moriarty put in massive shifts at the defensive end to keep the Green in touch at 26 to 20 at the break.

Into the 2nd half and despite Blarney seeming superiority at this juncture Tralee kept in touch with Ciarán Brosnan coming off the bench for a vital bucket to reduce the deficit to 5 at the three quarter mark.

Down the stretch and time for Buivydas to take centre stage as he began to dominate. Little by little Blarneys lead was nipped away at by the sheer doggedness of The Green and it was this fortitude that gave Buivydas the opportunity with 5 seconds remaining and the deficit at one.

Passport difficulties have denied this boy the opportunity to play for the Irish team this year but there was no denying this boys international calibre as he drew the foul that allowed him to go to the stripe with one to tie and two for glory.

With a massive 20pts already, Buivydas never doubted himself as one after the other he sunk both the free throws.

However the excitement was not over yet. Blarney called a time-out that allowed them to inbound the ball from half court.

The Green needed to be disciplined in their defensive duties as they were already on team fouls.

Blarney still managed to get the ball to their sharpshooter Kelvin O’ Donoghue who got an open look on the buzzer. It was not meant to be however, as his three point attempt rimmed out and CBS The Green progressed to the final.

Coaches Ruairí O’ Rahilly and Dale Counihan will be very happy with this win and particularly the resolve of the side. Indeed the team work ethic allied with the brilliance of Buivydas seems like the perfect chemistry as they now look forward to a trip to Tallaght at the end of the month.

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