The Malta Independent 18 January 2020, Saturday

Basketball, BOV National League, Men 1 Div.: Starlites in sole second spot

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 12 January 2020, 19:46 Last update: about 5 days ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Starlites GIG     95     Hibernians     78

(28-22, 23-17, 25-19, 19-20)

They tried four times, to beat the Paolites, to no avail, but they managed it on the fifth occasion. Starlites' first victory over Hibs took them into sole second position, in the league table. They faltered at first, but recovered, midway through the opening session, and never looked back. When the Paolites fell behind, and their deficit grew larger, they couldn't pull themselves back, until soon after the interval, but quickly fell further behind, and Starlites could control without much difficulty. Starlites changed personnel, in their American connections, with Jeremy Marseille making way for Robert Ahearn. They also took Billy Zammit in their ranks, but he stayed on the bench. Hibs doubled their American intake, with the acquisition of John Hardy, but Swede, William Ahlberg, is still a spectator, with his wrist injury.


Starlites sank two quick hoops, at the start, with the Paolites then taking over, to mark up a good 15-2 run, with Nick Vasovic points, and his trey, and Hardy, with his buckets. Starlites recovered with a will, and proceeded to pour in a 20-2 run, as Robert Bonnici, Ahearn, the other American, Konor Kulas, and Ian Felice Pace all netted triples, Vasovic finally stopped them, with his second trey, but Starlites were still ahead, at the end of the session. The next period had Starlites enhancing their advantage, with a brace of Bonnici treys, and another, from Ahearn, in between. Hibs were in trouble, but David Bugeja and Hardy put in triples. This still left Starlites with a solid 51-39 advantage, at the interval.

After the break Starlites were on a maximum fifteen point lead, when the Paolites rocked them, with a quick 12-0 run, as hardy sank in more hoops, and Vasovic nailed his third trey. Hibs were just a triple behind, but Starlites found new life, and they eased away once more. Kulas made his zone points and Ahearn grabbed another trey, Bonnici put in his share, and Hibs were again at a distance, with an adverse 58-76 score, going into the last quarter. Two further buckets had Starlites surging further ahead, but the Paolites managed a 12-2 runwith Hardy and Vasovic triples, to have a glimmer of hope. It was quashed with Starlites' next 8-0 run, and the remaining time was plain sailing for the winners, as Alec Felice Pace found space to net his triple.

Starlites: A. Felice Pace 14, B. Zammit, R. Bonnici 21, I. Felice Pace 5, M. Fabri, M. Falzon, M. Scerri 10, R. Carabott 2, K. Kulas 29, R. Ahearn 14

Hibs:  J. Hardy 27, P. Attard, D. Bugeja 5, K. Caruana, L. Farrugia 2, I. Bonett, N. Vasovic 22, A. Axiaq, M. Matijevic 4, M. Attard, C. Rowe 8, I. Demcesen 

Referees: B. Vassallo, G. Barbara, L. Camilleri


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