The Malta Independent 27 November 2021, Saturday

Basketball, BOV K.O. - Men - 1Div. - S/F: Luxol's positive streak goes on

Willie Vassallo Sunday, 1 March 2020, 19:58 Last update: about 3 years ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Starlites GIG     87     Luxol     95

(17-12, 18-28, 21-20, 31-35)

The Violets surprised Athleta just a week ago, in the league campaign, and now Starlites were their next victims, as they ousted the champions, from the final. Luxol will meet Hibs, in the K.O. final on 29th March. Starlites had previously beaten their opponents on five straight occasions, earlier on in the season, but they came a cropper in this semi-final. Luxol stole nothing, as their vim and energy surprised the league leaders. It was not only the two foreigners, American, William Claiborne, and Serbian, Vukasin Jandric, who were the protagonists, but Keith Dimech and Francesco Mifsud Bonnici played blinders, as they kept Starlites at bay in the last quarter, to progress to their first final of the season. They are the side who have won the Cup the most, on fully sixteen occasions, with Hibs succeeding five times, most importantly, in the last three seasons.

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Starlites raced into an early lead, with the Violets managing to stay close, till the end of the period, when Matthew Scerri sank a Starlites triple, to edge his side further in front. In the next session Luxol overturned the score, with an early 9-2 run but Starlites were ahead three more times, with Alec felice Pace nettinga trey. Luxol had the better ending to the session, when their triples rolled in, from Jandric and a brace by Dimech. Ryan Carabott also sank a Starlites trtey, but it was Luxol in front, halfway through teh encounter, on a 40-35 score.

After the break Starlites reacted well, with an early 9-2 run, and a triple, by American, Robert Ahearn. Scerri also netted his second triple, to keep his side 's nose in front. Luxol struck once more, with more Claiborne points, and a trey, along with another, from Jandric, to go into the last session on a favourable 60-56 score. It was an enthralling period of play. The violets just did not let Starlites ease in front, despite more points from American, Konor Kulas, helped by Felice Pace, and a second Ahearn trey. Luxol stayed firm, nas replied with JP Schembri and Dimech triples, and when Claiborne and Jandric found the going tough, there was Mifsud Bonnici driving through the heart of the opposing defence, to notch important hoops. Starlites made a last determined effort, with Felice Pace hitting a second trey. They went near, but the Violets always found a way to open up their advantage again. Their late free throws, when Starlites tried to stop the clock, had Starlites unable to make up the leeway, and bow down in the last seconds.

Hibs and Luxol will lock horns, late in the month. They met three times before, with Luxol winning the first encounter, in the Independence Cup, and the Paolites emerging victorious in the two league matches.  

Starlites: A. Felice Pace 21, B. Zammit, R. Bonnici 11, I. Felice Pace 2, M. Vella, M. Falzon, M. Scerri 8, R. Carabott 10, K. Kulas 24, R. Ahearn 11

Luxol: J. Cefai, V. Jandric 28, N. Andrejevic, L. Trapani, F. Mifsud Bonnici 17, JP Schembri 5, K. Dimech 18, I. Pace, K. Gauci,W. Claiborne 27  

Referees:  B. Vassallo, I. Simic, K. Dworniczak

 


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