The Malta Independent 25 May 2019, Saturday

Basketball, Women's Mapfre MSV Life Play Offs: Starlites put their mark on the match

Willie Vassallo Thursday, 11 April 2019, 23:07 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Hibernians     44     Starlites GIG     68

(6-21, 16-11, 14-18, 8-18)

Starlites started this series of match in fine fettle, as they dominated the proceedings. The champions found it hard going from the start and fell rapidly behind. They never made their way back, and Starlites could always rest on a good advantage throughout the encounter. What the Paolites must do, isd to forget about this game, and concentrate on the next one, next Sunday. It is kudos to Starlites, who were very well prepared, and used their height advantage, to hit their opponents hard. Added to that, some accurate outside shooting exploited Hibs' zone defence, where Spaniard, Patricia Arguello, excelled, and the twin prongs, Joey Grima and Santo Domingan, Geocelis Reynoso, responded well to her feeding. Hibs included Julia Scerri, back on home soil, from her studies. Starlites were missing Michela Zammit Cordina, injured in midweek, with Welshwoman, Hayley Acreman, filling her place.

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Starlites raced into a significant advantage, from the start, and a 15-2 run, with a brace of Arguello treys, and one from Kirsty Galea, in between, putting their opponents in shock. It was Hannah al Tumi to get the Paolites going, but Starlites did not let up, and finished the period with more points. Hibs seemed on their way to recovery, in the second session, making up an early 7-0 run, with a Sam Brincat triple, her only points contribution in the match. Starlites countered with another Arguello triple, and Reynoso close range points. Just before the interval the champions reduced their deficit, but they were still 22-32 in arrears, halfway through the match.

After the break Hibs' hopes of more recovery were dashed, as Starlites kept a firm hold on the match. Grima and Galea saw to that, and Arguello sank a third triple. Hibs had skipper, Elena Cassar, with a trey, but American, Amelia Simmons, was only limited to free throws, and Starlites could enjoy a bigger advantage, at 50-36, with just a last session to play. Hibs had no extra fuel to make a dramatic comeback, and Starlites, with confidence oozing out, made up a 9-0 run, to settle the issue. Simmons grabbed a triple, for the champions, but Starlites were still in high spirits, and finished the match with a spate of free shots, make a giant stride forward.

They need to repeat their performance, in the next matches, but now have to see if the Paolites have learned their lesson, and be a different side, next Sunday.

Hibs: E. Micallef 1, E. Cassar 5, J. Scerri, S. Brincat 3, I. Agius, J. Abela, S. Abela 6, A. Simmons 21, N. Farrugia, H. Al Tumi 4, K. Caruana, L. Duncan 4

Starlites: H. Acreman, K. Galea 15, M. Riolo, S. Farrugia, M. Bonett 2, G. Reynoso 18, C. Curmi, J. Grima 17, P. Arguello 16, M. Cutajar, S. Davies, A. Lupo

Referees: B. Vassallo, T. Mantere, Z. Dobrosavljevic

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