Lions punished for wasted chances in Junior Cup clash

DUBLIN Lions' poor finishing cost them as they went down 58-27 to Malahide BC in their DLBB Junior Cup decider on Sunday in Inchicore.

Despite a good start, wasted chances for the Lions cost them, while Malahide executed an excellent high-intensity gameplan and finished clinically throughout.

Dublin Lions V Malahide 04

A cagey opening saw little scoring in the first three minutes, with the Blues notching up two break buckets from Lauren Devitt, before the Lions led through Lorraine Egan and Geraldine Quinn 5-4.

Susan Smith found an open lane to the basket as the Lions looked to effectively use the break to their advantage, but, in an omen for things to come, Smith could not finish.

Smith did notch her opening score with five minutes played, before a brilliant move involving Quinn, Smith, and Egan left her with an easy open lay-up in what was Lions' best play of the game.

In response, Malahide unconventionally positioned guards Caroline Fragniere and Devitt high up the court on Lions inbounds, harrying them into playing quick, and it worked, as Lions mistakes saw a dramatic turnaround in the final two minutes – Malahide going from 4-9 down to 15-9 ahead.

The Blues continued this tactic in the second, with Lions forced into turnover after turnover, a Devitt interception for an easy lay-up right as the quarter setting the tone.

Lions kept looking to break but often the Malahide defence stood firm in front, but buoyed by the encouragement of the vocal young Lions in attendance, they created good chances, but a succession of misses from Smith, Egan, and Kerrie Lynch began to take their toll.

Indeed, sloppy play ensured the Lions scored just once all quarter, as Malahide, led in scoring by Devitt on 12 points, were 27-11 up at the break.

Devitt notched another four at the start of the third, but the reintroduction of Smith to the game made an impact as she scored almost straight away after coming back on.

The game became an end-to-end affair but Malahide contimued to be clinical – Lisa O'Connor's two off a fantastic mid-air assist by Caoimhe McCann the pick of the bunch – while Lions were unfortunate, exemplified by four narrowly missed  free-throws.

With the score 39-17 at the beginning of the fourth, Lions launched into their best play of the quarter as a completely new unit took to the floor and finally brought the pace needed to counter Malahide.

Led by five points from Lynch, it was not enough, as their most experienced player, Aine Lenagh, made a final free throw to cap off off a great showing for Malahide.

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