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Luxol hand Depiro first defeat

Starlites' Mikela Riolo (left) attempts to drive to the basket against Hibernians. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Starlites see off Hibernians

The MAPFRE MSV Life Women league continued last weekend with two games that resulted in wins for reigning champions Caffe Moak Luxol and rivals Starlites FIJO over ARMS Depiro and Hibernians respectively.

Caffe Moak Luxol 74
Arms Depiro 56
(23-18, 20-7, 15-15, 16-16)

A superior offensive stretch late in the first quarter that was extended into the second quarter was the influential juncture in this encounter which had initially a very balanced start with the two teams replying continuously to each other in the first eight minutes of play.

Treys from Casey Samuels and Nicole Agius had Depiro marginally in the lead with Luxol taking some time to find their mark with their tandem Gladys Avila and Josephine Diaby notching the St Andrews’ side’s first baskets.

Late buckets from Avila and Amanda Mercieca moved Luxol to a small 23-18 end-of-first-quarter lead but then, they started off on a very high note in the second rubber including a brace of Anna Fenech Pace hoops.

With Avila steering her way to the opponents’ basket, Luxol registered a 20-5 run which had them now enjoying a 20-point lead, 43-23, almost at the halfway mark.

Any hopes of a Depiro recovery were stalled when Luxol came in from the interval and had a 6-0 streak to increase their lead buffer.

In the next minutes, Depiro managed to slightly reduce their deficit as they outscored Luxol 17-9 but the game’s outcome was never in doubt as Luxol were controlling the play on their way to victory whilst Depiro suffered their first seasonal loss.

Luxol: C. Sollami, V. Selvaggi, M. Mercieca 11, L. Fenech Pace 2, F. Camilleri, H. Galea, G. Avila 27, K. Portelli, P. Ellul 4, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby 23, A. Fenech Pace 7
Depiro: N. Agius 18, J. Xerri 6, A. Mallia, J. Mallia, C. Ciantar 2, N. Hili, C. Samuels 20, J. Borg 8, M. Micallef, C. Fenech 2, J. Magri, E. Cassar
Referees B. Vassallo, M. Scerri, Z. Dobrosavljevic.

Hibernians 55
Starlites FIJO 63
(13-18, 17-13, 14-15, 11-17)

This game had different facets and resulted in an interesting contest with Starlites eventually getting the win due mostly to more consistency in the latter stages of the game.

The victors had a very encouraging start as they were the better side for practically all the first half and even managed to open a 31-17 lead.

The Naxxar side were immediately on target as Amelia Simmons and Stephanie Demartino collaborated at the offensive end and helped their side to a very early 11-2 advantage.

Despite points from their veteran duo Asleigh van Vliet and the returning Samantha Brincat, Hibs could not claw back into the game at this point as Starlites were still finding their way to the hoop, including a 12-2 run midway in the second quarter, including buckets from Simmons and Mikela Riolo, to register a maximum 31-17 advantage.

Here, Hibs produced their best play in the game as they hit back with 13 points on the trot with Iona Agiius, Julia Dabic, and Jasmine Abela helping the Paolites to re-open the game with the halftime buzzer having the two sides simply separated by a single point, 31-30.

The third quarter produced some interesting moments as both sides practically neutralised each other.

Hibs managed to take the lead on two occasions, only for a late flurry, including buckets from the young guard Andrea Saliba, from Starlites to give the latter a small 46-44 lead with ten minutes to go.

Saliba, together with Michela Zammit Cordina added to Simmons’ offensive efforts to help Starlites to have some early fourth-quarter breathing space at 52-46.

Hibs were not outdone and they managed to get back well in contention and arrived merely a basket away 53-55 after a Dabic bucket.

Both sides were a bit erratic in the late stages yet Simmons notched some important eleventh-hour points to ascertain Starlites’ success over Hibs.

Hibernians: E. Farrugia, I. Agius 5, A. Legarra 1, A. Van Vliet 17, S. Brincat 7, B. Agius, J. Abela 7, N. Farrugia, K. Caruana 8, K. Conti 2, K. Calleja, J. Dabic 8.
Starlites: M. Zammit Cordina
6, M. Riolo 9, A. Saliba 9, S. Farrugia Tabone, M. Sciberras, S. DeMartino 12, M. Fenech, A. Simmons 25,
C. Cilia, K. Mifsud, S. Davies, C. Curmi 2.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Ciurariu, G. Russo.

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