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Hibernians girls end 11-year wait to reclaim MBA Shield

Hibernians  57 

Caffe Moak Luxol 43

(16-5, 19-12, 9-14, 13-12)

Hibernians, the most coveted club in this competition, claimed back the winning trophy 11 years after their last success in 2011.

The opening quarter of the final against Caffe Moak Luxol was quite decisive as the Paolites came out much more focused than their opponents and managed to open a double-digit lead which then extended to a 33-13 lead two minutes from the half-time buzzer.

It was then a purely difficult uphill struggle for Luxol to get anything from this final even if they managed to bring the deficit to a single figure late in the third quarter.

Hibs then controlled the tempo in the final quarter replying instantly to each of Luxol’s efforts to maintain their grip on the game and being able to end victorious.

Kenyotta Jenkins gave a lot of hassle to Luxol, whose last success in this competition goes back to 2016, under both boards and even ended as Hibs’ top scorer with 25 points.

For Jenkins this was her first local honour.

“I am very happy about today’s win,” Jenkins said.

“It was very much needed as it reassured us that all of our hard work is paying off. Luxol is a good team, so we knew that it was not going to be an easy game. Despite it being a very physical game, we knew we had to keep our composure and play our game. I am super proud of our team. This group of girls always fight to the end no matter the situation, and that shows a lot about our character as a team.”

The American’s hoops together with those from locals Kirsty Caruana, Ylenia Bonett and Jasmine Abela helped Hibs to open the very influential early lead as Luxol were finding it hard to find precision in their offensive plays.

Luxol player Sarah Pace (left) tries to move past Ylenia Bonett, of Hibs. Photos: Wally Galea

An early second-half 10-0 run, mainly through Sarah Pace, increased Luxol’s morale but gradually Hibs returned to a double digit lead also through points from their influential utility player Ashleigh van Vliet who also made reference, in post-match, to her side’s injured players.

“I am really proud of the team for the win today,” Van Vliet said.

“Credit to Luxol for giving us a great game. We are at a point in our season where we are facing some adversity with injuries, quarantines and illnesses. We played together and fought hard. These are things we are going to need to do for the rest of the season in order to continue being successful.”

This positive outlook by Hibs to the rest of the season was also put forth by Jenkins.

“I am very excited for the rest of the season and we are going to continue to play our game and never give up. I expect big things from this team,” Jenkins said.

Hibs’ captain van Vliet received the winning trophy from the MBA president Paul Sultana after the final.

Hibs: E. Farrugia, Y. Bonett 7, A. Van Vliet 5, J. Abela 6, C. Camilleri, K. Jenkins 25, N. Farrugia, K. Caruana 14, K. Conti, K. Fenech, J. Dabic. 

Luxol: L. Fenech Pace 9, V. Selvaggi, S. Pace 12, M. Mercieca 2, F. Camilleri, H. Galea, P. Marcal 4, A. Borg, P. Ellul 6, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby 10.

Referees: Z. Dobrosqavljevic, F. Ciurariu, I. Ciurariu. 

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