The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Basketball, Men's BOV National League: Starlites claim victory in last stages of the match

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 6 January 2019, 18:43 Last update: about 2 years ago

Bupa Luxol     86     Starlites GIG     90

 (22-19, 30-24, 18-19, 16-28)

Luxol were in control for most of the encounter, even enjoying good advantages throughout the match. It was still not enough, as the league leaders showed their mettle, as the game came to a close, surpassing their opponents, and then their new face, American, William Darley, shot a triple, to seal the game. It was a bitter disappointment to the Violets, who looked like giving their adversaries their first league defeat, but the result proved otherwise. It was Starlites' second win of the season, over Luxol, after a Shield semifinal match. Luxol had their new American, Jerrell Martin, to boost the squad, and Starlites made a change, as American, Joe Tagarelli, was gone, with a compatriot, Darley, in his place.


Luxol started with a Vukasin Jandric trey, with Starlites going 9-5 ahead, as Darley began with a triple, and another American, Andrew Sears, put in his points. Luxol were still trailing, as Jandric made more points, but a 9-0 run had the Violets in front, and they stayed there, even if yet another American, Cameron Ward, also netted a trey, for Starlites. In the second period Luxol extended their lead, as Jandric sank another triple. Starlites were back, with the other American, Jordan Stotts, points. Luxol's pressure propelled them forward, with a good 11-1 run, and another Jandric trey. Ward was putting in hid points, for Starlites, but his side were 43-52 behind, at the interval.

After the break Starlites recovered, to go to within a hoop twice, but up popped the Swede, William Ahlberg, for the Violets, with his brace of triples, in a 10-2 run, and Luxol had another better advantage, with Stefan Cappello putting in late hoops, for a 70-62 score. The last quarter had Luxol managing double figure advantages at first. Starlites reacted, with a solid 12-2 run, and a Nick Formosa trey, along with Sears and Stotts points. They were level on points, and a little later they overtook their opponents. Martin made late hoops for Luxol, who strove to overturn the score, but failed their shots, and Darley made the issue safe for Starlites, with his late trey, as they recorded their fourth straight league victory.

Luxol: CJ Cordina, V. Jandric 27, L. Caruana Montaldo, J. Martin 18, JP Schembri 4, K. Dimech 10, W. Ahlberg 17, M. Mercieca, F. Sekulic 2, S. Cappello 8

Starlites: O. Psaila, N. Formosa 5, R. Bonnici 2, C. Ward 22, M. Falzon, A. Felice Pace 4, R. Carabott, M. Scerri, A. Sears 16, W. Darley 20, J. Stotts 21  

Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic, K. Dworniczak


Balkan Fusion     39     Gzira Athleta     90

(8-28, 13-10, 14-29, 4-23)

Athleta already had a walk over the Balkans, in an Independence Cup match. This time their victory was on court, as their second league win put them in second place, in the standings, over Luxol, in direct encounters. The Balkans still had difficulty in making up their squad, once more with a six-man side, but it seems that from the next weekend onwards they will be strengthened with more Serbian players. They had Nikola Andrejevic back, even if he cried off with a problem, late in the match. By that time the Balkans were already with only five players, as Nikola Vasovic was penalised with two major fouls, in quick succession, to leave the court. There was also Hungarian, Patrick Walk missing. Athleta had serbian, Alex Perunicic, absent, and American, Carson Shanks, was gone, but they were giving a debut to another American, Julio Guity, whilst another, Connell Crossland, is awaiting his clearance papers from Australia.

The Balkans were overrun at first, as Athleta went on a 26-point run, before Stefan Todorovic replied for the Balkans, with his trey, but his side were already well into deficit. In the second period things went better for the Balkans, as they could reply in kind to their opponents, and even managed to win the session. They were led by Nikola Koveacevic, with his three hoops, as Athleta took a back seat, with Serbian, Ivan Mitrovic, coming off the bench, to nail a triple. At the interval Athleta were comfortable, on a 38-21 advantage.

After the break Athleta began to take over once more, making up an early 10-2 run, with American, Vincent Pace, netting a trey. The Balkans sought to answer back, but Athleta were pressing them, and Guity, Pace and Kwame Thompson, another American, pushed their side further in front. The Balkans managed a late brace of triples, by Todorovic and Nikola Bozovic, but they were still way behind, at 35-67. The last session was a romp for Athleta, as they limited their opponents to a couple of hoops, and when Andrejevic left the court, they finished off the match with a late 15-0 run, as Matthew Gouder sank a brace of triples, with Nathan Xuereb also making a try, for a substantial victory.

Balkan: N. Andrejevic 2, N. Bozovic 7, A. Schembri 2, N. Vasovic 8, S. Todorovic 12, N. Kovacevic 8

Athleta: P. Shoults 2, L. Stefanovic 7, N. Xuereb 7, M. Gouder 18, K. Thompson 18, V. Pace 13, I. Mitrovic 3, J. Guity 22

Referees: B. Vassallo, Z. Dobrosavljevic, K. Dworniczak

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