KWC & St Ninian’s Triumph in Schools Finals

There was plenty of enthusiasm among the teams as the new Roundhouse Community Centre played host to the Junior, Inter and Senior Schools finals recently. Players were abuzz with excitement as they realised, they would be among the first to use the fantastic new facility. The Junior game was a decisive win for KWC who bested Castle Rushen, 39-29, while St Ninan’s chalked up a solid victory, 92-50, over Castle Rushen at the Inters level. The Senior game proved to be the highlight of the finals though as St Ninan’s took on QEII in a hotly contested battle.  

St Ninian’s dominated the opening quarter as QEII struggled to keep up with the speed of Rowan Coulter and the inside presence of Jack Wilkinson. With a well flowing offence and a rock-solid defence, Ninian’s soon found themselves in a double-digit lead with momentum building. QEII took longer to settle but started to find form late into the first half, with Zak Mitchell and Ciarán Kelly leading the fight back. The third quarter saw intense action on both sides as they found opportunities through the defence and some success from outside the arc. Two swish 3-pointers from Seb Smith soon had St Ninian’s under pressure and a late run by Mitchell gave QEII their first lead of the game, 38-36 at the end of the third.  

The fourth proved to be a battle of wills as the teams traded baskets, and the lead, for the full ten minutes. Ninian’s were soon back out front as Gabe Thatcher and Lex Madey found routes to the basket. Mitchell and Smith were the key components in the QEII response, with Mitchell hitting the mid-range and drive while Smith worked outside the arc. With only a few minutes left QEII again had the initiative, but found themselves under relentless pressure from the St Ninian’s offence. Fouls on the shot and boards cost QEII dearly as they found themselves in the penalty, allowing Coulter and Madey to rack up points from the free throw line. Madey in particular proved devastating as he sank 2 free throws to extend a slender St Ninian’s lead to 3-points. Needing an outside shot in the dying seconds, QEII were quick to push the ball, but the St Ninian’s defence kept pace, and, with the final buzzer, it was St Ninan’s who had won the day 52-49 in a nail-biting conclusion to the school’s finals.  

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