The County You Live, Work And Play
EK Basketball Team Lift Scottish Cup
South Lanarkshire Colliers U14 Girls secured their first national title after a hard-fought win over Glasgow Rocks in the Scottish Cup final.
In the run up to this game, the Colliers hadn’t lost a game and the Rocks had only lost once, which was to the Colliers back in October, so it was clear that the two best teams in the country were in heading into battle.
It was the Rocks who started the game stronger and looked like they had more energy taking a 6-4 lead through their guard Paula Puzule.
Colliers guards Valentina Palli and Carla Crowther answered back very quickly and scored some incredible shots in and around the basket.
Through some terrific defence by Katie Burn and Valentina Palli, the Colliers used their pace to score on the fast break building up an eight point lead going into the second quarter.
The Colliers started the second quarter looking to build on their lead through attacking the basket and using their size advantage in the paint. The combination of Palli and Crowther on offence was too much for the Rocks to handle and soon a 13-point gap appeared between the sides, as the Colliers led 34-23.
At half time head coach Ross Hutton told the players to expect the Rocks to come out fighting in the third and not to take their lead for granted.
Both teams played with intensity but neither managed to carry forward the momentum. Leading by 10 going into the fourth quarter, it was Colliers’ game to lose.
The Rocks started strong and put the Colliers on the back foot with some tough defence and scoring through point guard Puzule.
The Colliers had a frustrating time as the ball would just not drop for them despite having decent opportunities. With just three minutes to go the noise from the crowd was deafening as Rocks inched their way closer to the Colliers who still had 46 points.
Seconds later the score was tied at 46 all and the atmosphere in the hall was electric. And with time running out Laura Thomson managed to score from close range to put the Colliers up by two points which made it a nervous last minute.
The Rocks had several opportunities to score right under the hoop and each went so close to dropping in but it was Colliers who came away with the rebound and advanced the ball up the court to close the game out to secure a narrow 48-46 win.
Coach Hutton was full of praise for the entertainment on show and he said: “Both teams put on a fantastic display of basketball and should be very proud of what they achieved.
“I am immensely proud of all the girls. They played their hearts out and deserved to be crowned champions. From where the majority of the girls started over two and a half years ago as beginners to where they are now is an amazing journey and I am so honoured to be part of it.”