The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

Basketball, BOV National League - Men 1 Div.: Luxol obtain first league victory

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 19 January 2020, 20:21 Last update: about 2 years ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

 Depiro     86     Luxol     89

 (20-9, 14-26, 22-25, 30-29)

They had to wait till the start of their second round of play, before Luxol could gain their opening league victory, but now this drags other sides, not to be left out, in the tussle for the play off places. The Violets had a trump card in this encounter. They unleashed their new signing, the towering American, William Claiborne, who poured in more than half of his side's final tally. They will now await the return of their Serbian, Vukasin Jandric, to further bolster their side. They also recovered Juan Cefai and the Serbian, Slavko Opojevlic, from their last game, and Nikola Andrejevic sat out the match, on his rare showing from abroad, but were missing Philip Engelbert. Depiro included another new face, the American, Cordarius Johnson, who made a discreet showing, but had Kurt Xuereb and Miguel Brincat missing.


Claiborne didn't take long to open up his account, for the Violets, but Depiro came up with a 13-2 run, and a Nicholas Grech trey. Later on, Grech sank another triple, and American, Quinn Cooper, with the Czech, Adam Chomo, put in more hoops, as their side ended the session on a good lead. The next period was a different matter, as Luxol had Claiborne putting in his many hoops, and Keith Dimech also netting a trey. Depiro relied on triples, by Matthew Borg and a Chomo brace, but were pipped by Luxol till the interval, as the Violets just led, at 35-34.

After the break Claiborne was still going strong for Luxol, peppering his opponents' ring, and Juan Cefai helped out with his two triples, Johnson started his personal score, for Depiro, also netting a trey, and Cooper and Chomo made more points, but Luxol only once renounced their advantage, and after three sessions they were again 60-56 in front. Points were going in thicker, in teh last quarter. Depiro overtook their opponents, and opened up a small advantage, as Cooper continued his scoring touch. The Violets were back, with Opojevlic and Cefai treys. Depiro answered back, as Johnson managed two more triples, but that was the last time that Depiro were ahead. Luxol had Dimech the game's final trey, and Claiborne netted his final points, to keep Depiro in check, in their final efforts, when Andy Attard twice put in his hoop. It was not enough, and Luxol were back in the fray, with their first league win.

Depiro:  C. Johnson 17, Q. Cooper 27, J. Attard, D. Farrugia 2, N. Grech 7, O. Said 7, M. Borg 3, A, Chomo 19, A. Attard 4

Luxol:  J. Cefai 11, N. Andrejevic, K. Gauci, E. Caruana Montaldo, F. Mifsud Bonnici 6, JP Schembri 4, K. Dimech 14, I. Pace, L. Trapani, W. Claiborne 46, S. Opojevlic 7, S. Cappello 1  

Referees: B. Vassallo, L. Camilleri, S. Tafilica


Hibernians     87     Gzira Athleta     74

(20-12, 24-24, 22-18, 21-20)

Athleta were riding high, with five straight victories, but they were finally stopped by a resilient Hibs side, who were smarting from their defeat, by Starlites, a week before. Hibs had to stay in the top half of the table, and only a win could guarantee that. Maybe the champions thought that all would come out right at the end, but the Paolites had other ideas. Hibs' brace of Americans settled down well, especially Chandler Rowe, who was a livewire throughout the whole match. They also had Nikola Vasovic on good shooting form, as he has been in their last matches. Athleta had their Serbian, Milos Novakovic, missing, and maybe this limited the player rotation somewhat. Americans, Connel Crossland and Ian Thiesen were there, and Matthew Gouder provided more firepower, but something else was needed, as they fell behind from the start, and spent the whole match chasing after their opponents.

Hibs made a dream start, notching a total of sixteen points, as Vasovic and Rowe sank triples. Athleta reacted well, after this surprising beginning, and made up a 10-0 run, ending with a Gouder trey. Vasovic netted a second Hibs triple, as his side were on a useful advantage, In the next period Athleta seemed to have gotten over their bad patch, and Gouder was still, as he and Peter Shoults nailed triples. The score went to a tie, but the Paolites were again ahead, making up another 13-0 run, which again flustered the champions. Rowe as again at the thick of the action, obtaining another trey. Athleta tried to hit back, but Hibs held on to their original opening session lead, with a 44-36 half time score.

After the break Athleta's Thiesen and Gouder made their treys, but the Paolites had ready answers, as Hardy, Vasovic and Rowe kept their opponents at bay. Late in the session both Hardy and Vasovic netted triples, and the Paolites went into a double figure advantage, at 66-54. When Hardy and Vasovic again grabbed more treys, the champions were in serious trouble. They had quite a deficit to make up for Thiesen made another trey, and later on there were Shoults and Crossland with more treys, but they came too late, as Hibs had a strong grip on the encounter, leaving their adversaries some way behind them, and unable to make up the leeway, as the champions had to concede their opening league setback.

Hibs: J. Hardy 18, P. Attard, D. Bugeja 9, K. Caruana, L. Farrugia 5, I. Bonett, N. Vasovic 18, A. Axiaq 4, M. Matijevic 6, M. Attard, C. Rowe 25, I. Demcesen 2

Athleta: C. Crossland 25, E. Sciberras, P. Shoults 6, L. Stefanovic, S. Galea, N. Xuereb, M. Gouder 24, I. Thiesen 17, E. Abela, R. Abela, S. Pace 2

Referees: B. Vassallo, K. Dworniczak, L. Camilleri

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