The Malta Independent 22 February 2024, Thursday
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Basketball Louis Borg Cup - Men - S/F 1: High scoring match gives Hibs solid advantage

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 9 February 2020, 21:44 Last update: about 5 years ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Hibernians     128     Depiro     96

 (30-19, 36-26, 36-20, 26-31)

This match resulted in a high scoring one, with a number of players on good personal scores. The Paolites took the match to their opponents from the start, and had established a sound advantage by the interval, which they improved upon, after the break, to take a hefty lead into the second game, the day after. The only absentee for this encounter was Depiro's Omar Said, injured in his previous match. His place was taken by Timothy Zammit.


Hibs raced into an 8-1 start, with American, Chandler Rowe, buckets. Depiro replied with a brace of hoops, as American, Cordarius Johnson, began his heavy points haul, which made him the game's top scorer. Hibs had Rowe with a trey, and a better advantage soon after. Johnson and American, Quinn Cooper, points, kept Depiro in contention, but the Paolites managed a brace of late triples, from Nikola Vasovic and Kieron Caruana, for a double digit advantage. In the next period HIbs eased themselves further away, with an opening 12-3, run, as Caruana netted another Hibs trey, with Johnson doing the same, at the other end. Hibs' triples continued pouring in, with Caruana, Luke Farrugia, a brace from American, Jay Hardy, and Rowe taking the Paolites way out in front, despite more points from Johnson, for Depiro, also with two treys, along with another, from Miguel Brincat. At the interval Hibs were 66-45 to the good.

After the break the Paolite scoring machine was still well oiled, as the basket difference continued to grow. Triples came from Vasovic, with two more, and David Bugeja, with his ball handling activities. Cooper netted a late Depiro triple, but his side were left behind, trailing on a 65-102, score, as Hibs managed to reach their century in the third session, through Serbian, Ivan Demcesen, dominant under the boards. The last quarter was still chockful of points. This time Depiro matched, and bettered their opponents in points grabbing, but the heavy difference was never in doubt. Johnson made it six triples, with a trio of his, and Hibs' Caruana profited from his presence on court, to notch his fourth trey. It seems that Depiro have a mountain to climb in the return encounter.

Hibs:  J. Hardy20, P. Attard, D. Bugeja 15, K. Caruana 17, L. Farrugia 3, I. Bonett 2, N. Vasovic 27, A. Axiaq, M. Matijevic 3, M. Attard, C. Rowe 16, I. Demcesen 25

Depiro:  C. Johnson 40, Q. Cooper 25, J. Attard, D. Farrugia 3, N. Grech 4, K. Xuereb 10, M. Borg, M. Brincat 3, A, Chomo 11, A. Attard, T. Zammit  

Referees: B. Vassallo, Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic


Gzira Athleta     105     Mellieha Libertas     76

(22-18, 31-11, 30-25, 22-22)

The champions were drawn against the second-tier opponents, who both received a bye in the opening round. Mellieha have a habit of inserting themselves to play against top opposition, in certain competitions. They had already taken part in the Independence Cup, earlier on, and were eliminated by the same Athleta, in the semis.

The champions found it tough going in the opening period, but the second session paved the way to a comfortable victory. Mellieha fared better in the next two sessions, but Athleta were quite happy with their sound advantage, taken over into the return match, the day after. Athleta were without Serbian, Milos Novakovic, and Sean galea, whilst Mellieha had David Camilleri and Emanuel Lupo missing.

Athelat opened with Peter Shoults and Nathan Xuereb treys, and later on American, Ian Thiesen, began his points haul, but Mellieha were not far behind, and Serbians, Alex Perunicic and Nenad Stojanovski, points, had them near enough. The champions made an 8-0 run, with American, Connel Crossland buckets, but Stojanovski late points, with a triple, had Mellieha still in the race. The next session was another matter. At first Mellieha were keeping their adversaries in sight, as Matthew Gouder came off the bench, for the champions, to sink a trey. Later on, Athleta began to dominate, allowing their opponents only a couple of hoops, as they cantered forward. Xuereb and Gouder made further triples, and Thiesen and Crossland kept on making points, as Athleta went in, at the interval, on a much better 53-29 score.

After the break Athleta were still piling up the points, but this time Mellieha's replies were more fruitful. Athleta could only improve slightly on their advantage, with Shoults putting in another trey, and Ryan Abela managing to pot four hoops. Perunicic and Stojanovski were still Mellieha's main point grabbers, with the former also netting a trey. The last session began with Athleta on a steady 83-54 score. Portuguese, Ricardo Costa, and Anthony Schembri began with early triples, for Mellieha, , with Thiesen also netting his trey, for the champions. Then it was Stojanovski with his second long one, for Mellieha, who matched their opponents in points. Athleta recorded their century with a late Gouder hoop, adding two further Xuereb buckets, before the end of the match, as Stojanovski made his last hoops, to finish as the game's top scorer.

Athleta: N. Buhagiar, C. Crossland 22, E. Sciberras, P. Shoults 6, L. Stefanovic 2, N. Xuereb 12, M. Gouder 17, I. Thiesen 30, E. Abela 1, R. Abela 8, S. Pace 7  

Mellieha: A. Schembri 3, J. Lisandro, R. Loporto, J. Vaz 2, A. Perunicic 23, C. Briffa 5, N. Stojanovski 36, K. Skrabec, K. Sultana, R. Costa 5, M. Costa

Referees: B. Vassallo, V. Nikolic, S. Tafilica

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