The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

Basketball, Women's Mapfre MSV Life National League: Starlites see off Luxol, after a scare

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 13 January 2019, 21:14 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Hibernians     69     Depiro     52

(15-5, 20-10, 15-17, 19-20)

The champions remain locked in a two-way race at the top, after disposing of Depiro. They have now beaten their opponents five times, from six matches. The opening two sessions were enough for the champions, to claim the win, even if, after the break, it was Depiro winning the next couple of sessions, with minimal differences. Hibs had Leanne Duncan still abroad, and Depiro were without Claudia Camilleri and Danielle Agius. Hibs are on their way to lay an early claim for a playoff spot.

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Elena Cassar sank an early trey for the Paolites, with Depiro replying twice to early adverse hoops. The champions then took over, with a long 10-0 run as American, Amelia Simmons, lead the charge. A late Depiro hoop, by American, Ashley Gray, broke off HIbs' run. In the second period it was still Simmons and Gray at either end, before the Paolites pushing forward once again, to make up a better 13-0 run. Two late Gray hoops, had a Sam Brincat triple for Hibs in between, and the champions were 35-15 in front, at the interval.

After the break Depiro seemed to be back, but they were hit by a brace of Jasmine Abela treys for Hibs. Gaby Mifsud also netted a Depiro triple, and late Gray free shots, had a Hibs reply, in another Brincat triple, for a 50-32 score. In the last quarter Depiro staged a rally, with an early 13-2 run, which had them going much closer, but this resurgence died down, as the champions had Brincat nailing another two Hibs triples. Nicole Agius also netted a brace of Depiro treys, but Hibs were quick to dampen any more Depiro hopes, as they finished off the match with a 9-1 run, as Emma Micallef made her trey.

Hibs: E. Micallef 5, E. Cassar 9, K. Calleja 2, S. Brincat 17, I. Agius , J. Abela 8, S. Abela 3, A. Simmons 23, N. Farrugia , H. Al Tumi 2, K. Caruana ,

Depiro : No. Agius, N. Agius 8, G. Mifsud 8, S. DeMartino 11, D. Said Hollier 2, M. Scicluna, N. Hili, C. Ciantar 7, A. Mifsud 1, A. Gray 15    

Referees: T. Mantere, K. Dworniczak, C. Xuereb

 

Starlites GIG     69     Caffe Moak Luxol     58

(16-12, 16-13, 19-21, 18-12)

Starlites had to win, to keep abreast of Hibs, at the top of the standings. They had already been beaten by Luxol, in their last league encounter, for their only league defeat. Starlites were ahead for most of the match, but Luxol were dangerously close, in the last session, with Starlites pulling through, as Luxol were decimated with the loss of three players, on fouls. Starlites had Adriana Lupo back from injury, and Hungarian, Fanni Fabok, taking the Welsh, Hayley Acreman's place. Luxol had a reshuffle, from before the festive holidays. Coach, Christoff Stolp, was replaced by Ruth Spiteri, and there was a spate of returning players, Beverlee Zammit, Sharon Vella and Noelene vella, along with Antoinette Borg, who missed the last Luxol match, for a better bench.

It was Luxol ahead, at first, as Kay Portelli sank a triple. So did Starlites' Kirsty Galea, and a 9-2 run had Starlites ending the session in front, as American, Alexis Dillard made a late Luxol hoop. In the next period Luxol were on level terms, but Galea sank another Starliotes' trey. Sarah Pace also made a Luxol triple, to tie the score again. Luxol were on a par twice more, before Starlites broke forward, till the end of the session, with a 7-0 run, from Galea and Spaniard, Patricia Arguello, for a 32-25 interval advantage.

After the break Luxol were quickly level, as Borg and Spaniard, Ina Baena, made their treys. There were more, as Galea netted a further Starlites one, and Pace put in her second, for Luxol. The Violets were on a tied score twice more, before Starlites opened another advantage, with more Arguello points, before Dillard was out, on five fouls, for Luxol, with her side 46-51 behind. In the last period Starlites went further in front, but Luxol were back, to within a hoop, when they lost Baena, also on five fouls. Starlites eked out another lead, and here a third Luxol player, Bev Zammit, committed her second major foul, to be ousted out also, from the game. Galea sank her fourth trey, giving Starlites more breathing space. This time Luxol could not make it back, and Starlites kept their adversaries distant enough, not to cause any surprises.

Starlites:  M. Zammit Cordina , K. Galea 24, M. Riolo 6,  S. Farrugia , M. Bonett 5, F. Fabok , C. Curmi 4,  J. Grima 8, P. Arguello 20, M. Cutajar , S. Davies 2, A. Lupo

Luxol: S. Pace 20, B. Zammit 2, Ni. Vella , I. Baena 5, No. Vella 2, S. Vella 2, K. Portelli 5, A. Borg 8, A. Dillard 14, L. Caruana Montaldo, M. Caruana, C. Mifsud  

Referees: B. Vassallo, Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic

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