A Cumbernauld school’s girls basketball team will be aiming to hit the heights when they play in the Scottish Cup Final on Thursday.
St Maurice’s High School take on Wallace High School from Stirling in the Scottish Under-18 Cup Final at the Oriam National Performance Centre in Edinburgh.
If they win it will be the second year running they have been crowned Scotland’s cup queens – but what makes this year’s run all the more notable is that they have stepped up an age group from under-15s to under-18s.
Despite playing against girls older than them, the St Maurice youngsters have clearly found the step-up to their liking – and last week they won the Glasgow Cup, defeating St Andrew’s Secondary in the final at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.
Now they’re hoping to add further silverware, both to their own collection and to the school’s roll of honour.
The school’s basketball activities are closely linked to the Lady Rocks team which is based at the St Maurice’s Sports Comprehensive.
Lisa Palombo of the PE department started Lady Rocks at the school around 13 years ago and is both school and club coach with a number of the girls playing for both sides.
She said: “The success obviously breeds from school level into club level.
“These same girls are having huge success at club level too – winning the Scottish Basketball League this year, to name one – so there is a bit of a crossover
“The girls won the Scottish Cup last year and we have had previous successes with one team winning it five years running so we do pretty well.
“But the under-15s who won it last year are now playing at under-18s which is quite a step up. There are a couple of seniors in there but the majority of them are under-16 so that is the special bit about it.”
Now standing in their way are Wallace High, where there is a similar set-up to St Maurice’s with the school basketball programme linked to local club Stirling Knights.
The team – Shannon Beattie, Sophie Loughran, Ciara Burns, Niamh McGarrachan, Niamh Ruddy, Elizabeth Brown, Saoirse Ferguson, Lucy Rafferty, Orla Gilbride, Hannah Watson and Eavan Morrison – came through a pool and knockout stages, playing Park Mains High School, Dumfries Academy, Hillhead High, Fraserburgh High and Falkirk High.
This year’s under-15s also won the Glasgow Cup last week, defeating Lourdes Secondary in the final.
The team comprises Emma Kerr, Enya Ruddy, Megan Docherty, Olivia Brown, Ruth Brown, Erin Hogg, Aaliyah Stobo, Ellie McAllister, Emma Creaney. And with the S1 mixed team taking this year’s North Lanarkshire League title and the S2/S3 side finishing second, the conveyor belt of future basketball stars looking to be rolling along nicely at St Maurice’s.