The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Basketball, Men's BOV National League: Starlites ahead of the pack, with a game more

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 3 February 2019, 20:26 Last update: about 4 months ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Depiro      99      Starlites GIG      108

(32-21, 18-31, 28-26, 21-30)

This Starlites victory was the exact replica of a Shields game, won by the same score, by Starlites, against the same Depiro. Depiro menaced for most of the encounter, but they faded at the end, allowing their opponents to snatch a lead, and keep it till the end, putting in late free shots, to enhance their advantage. Starlites will go to the top of the standings again, but with a game more than the current champions, Hibernians.

The opening session was dominated by the Americans on either side, who potted all the points. Depiro replied to Starlites' opening hoop, but the latter side reacted well, with an 11-2 run, with a brace of William Darley treys. Depiro's response brought about a 12-2 run of their own, with a Jack Nygaard triple and Trent Steen and Keshaun Hamilton points. Starlites tried to regain their advantage, but were pushed back by the Depiro American trio, who produced a session ending 14-4 run, to break clear of their adversaries. In the second period it was a different situation. Starlites quickly cut down on their deficit, with an 8-0 run, but Steen and Hamilton opened up Depiro's lead again. Starlites came up with another 9-2 run, and a Nick Formosa trey, to tie the score. Nygaard's triple had Depiro again ahead, but Starlites were playing better, to overturn the score, and despite Steen's late points for Depiro, it was still Starlites in front, at the interval, on a slight 52-50 score.

After the break Depiro twice were on level terms, but Starlites managed a 10-2 run, with two more Darley treys. Depiro began clicking better, to post a 12-2 run of their own, as Omar Said sank a triple. They were in front, with Starlites chasing hard, as Alec Felice Pace and a last second Andrew Sears triples, had them still close, but Steen and Hamilton kept Depiro buoyant, on an 83-80 score. Said started the last quarter with a trey, but Starlites' Felice Pace and Cameron Ward also netted treys' Depiro regained their advantage with another Said triple, but from then on it was Starlites dictating the play. Darley's sixth triple brought the century, with Depiro vainly trying to make up lost ground, as Nygaard netted his trey. When the clock was being stopped, it was Ward coolly putting in his free throws, for Starlites to put distance between the two sides, and ensure their victory, which puts them abreast of Hibernians.

Depiro: T. Steen 35, K. Hamilton 27, J. Attard, D. Farrugia, A. Aquilina, N. Grech, O. Said13, M. Mallia, M. Borg, J. Nygaard 24, A. Attard

Starlites: A. Felica Pace 14, N. Formosa 8, R. Bonnici 2, I. Felice Pace, C. Ward 21, M. Falzon, M. Scerri, R. Carabott, W. Darley 26, A. Sears13, J. Stotts 24

Referees: T. Mantere, K. Dworniczak, I. Simic

 

Gzira Athleta     80     Floriana MCP Car Parks     66

(16-23, 23-12, 18-13, 23-18)

Athleta's victory, and by that margin, puts them in third place, on equal points with Hibs, who played a game less, and Floriana, down on basket difference. The Greens enjoyed several advantages, and were thereabouts, till midway through the third session, but then Athleta spurted forward, to claim a good lead. Floriana tried hard, but couldn't get any nearer, with Athleta playing out time, to grab the victory. They were without American, Kwame Thompson, but their play didn't seem to suffer. Floriana's lapses, at odd intervals, proved to be detrimental, being exploited by an alert Athleta side.

Julio Guity led Athleta at first, to an early lead, with Floriana answering well, with a 9-0 run, and a triple, from American, Ian Thiesen. Athleta's response brought a brace of quick treys, from Nathan Xuereb, but their slim advantage was taken away, as the Greens made a session ending 8-0 run, with Shawn Pace netting a triple. Floriana's lead was whittled down, as Athleta had Nikola Vasovic with a trey. in a 9-2 run. Two hoops had Floriana on a better advantage, but Athleta were playing better, pushing hard, in a session ending 14-4 run, as more treys were put in, by Peter Shoults, with two, and American, Vincent Pace. At the interval Athleta were 39-35 in front.

After the break Floriana bided their time, then struck, with a 7-0 run, to regain a lead. Again, Athleta strode forward, dominating till the end of the period, as they made up another solid 14-2 run, which brought them to a 57-48 advantage. Two treys, in the last session, from Pace and Matthew Gouder, opened up Athleta's lead, and although Flriana were back, with a three-hoop spread, they couldn't get near enough. A 10-2 run, with another Xuereb triple, had Athleta in command. Floriana tried hard, but Athleta managed to keep them at bay till they then netted the last two hoops, to kill off the match.

Athleta: N. Vasovic 11, C. Crossland 7, P. Shoults 8, L. Stefanovic, A. Perunicic, N. Xuereb 9, M. Gouder 10, V. Pace 17, I. Mitrovic, J. Guity 18

Floriana: S. Pace 3, D. Bugeja 13, D. Camilleri, S. Borg , K. Caruana , K. Liivamagi 6, I. Arias,  Ian Thiessen 25, K. Xuereb 7,  G. Hulsen 12, D. Agius

Referees: B. Vassallo, I. Simic, M. Hraisha

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