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Late flurry lifts Starlites past Depiro

Starlites had the better of ARMS Depiro last weekend. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Starlites FIJO 69
Arms Depiro 58
(18-14, 17-11, 19-17, 15-16)

A late flurry of seven consecutive points by leaders Starlites Naxxar in the third quarter was one, if not the main influential moment in this game.

Thanks to this quick spurt of positive offensive play, Starlites managed to open a double-digit lead with only the last minutes to play even if Depiro did not throw in the towel and still attempted a late comeback.

The game had set off on a balanced start with points off Christina Curmi and Stephanie Demartino giving the Naxxar side a marginal early lead which was then extended to 11-4 shortly afterwards after the initial points off veteran US player Amelia Simmons.

This gap between the two teams was shortlived as Depiro were quick to reply with two back-to-back treys from their two top point-getters, Nicole Agius and Casey Samuels, respectively.

The first part of the second quarter had Starlites again increasing their lead, this time to a double figure one for the first time in the match, 27-17, after hoops from their young duo Mariah Fenech and Catherine Cilia.

The latter added to an Andrea Saliba bucket late in the half to further increase Starlites’ good moment to 35-22 although Depiro got the decicit back to ten points at the interval through their captain Claire Ciantar.

The game was blown wide open early in the second half after the Mtarfa side came back much more precise after the break and made it a tight 39-41 game.

Starlites got some fresh momentum after a Mikela Riolo three ball and then fellow guard Michela Zammit Cordina let loose in the final stages of the third quarter to help her side to a 54-42 lead.

Depiro tried their utmost and pushed hard to claw back into the game in the last quarter with Samuels grabbing more points, now assisted by Julia Borg.

However, Starlites managed to maintain a slender lead and then made sure of the victory with a late 7-0 run and thus kept on their unbeaten run in the league campaign so far.

Starlites: M. Zammit Cordina 10, M. Riolo 7, A. Saliba 5, M. Sciberras, S. DeMartino 4, M. Fenech 11, A. Simmons 11, C. Cilia 6, S. Davies, C. Curmi 15.
Depiro: N. Agius 14, J. Xerri 3, J. Mallia, L. Duncan 6, C. Ciantar 5, N. Hili, C. Samuels 23, J. Magri, J. Borg 6, C. Fenech 1, L. Camilleri, E. Cassar.
Referees: F. Ciurariu, N. Azzopardi, J. Londono.

Hibernians 75
Fusion Quest 45
(20-17, 15-20, 24-5, 16-3)

The new team on the block in the women’s league this season, Fusion Quest, had a very encouraging showing for a good part of this game and managed also to go in for the half-time interval enjoying a slender 37-35 lead.

They could not then withstand the pace with their opponents in the second half as Hibs, who gave ample on-the-court minutes to all the bench players, also put into action a higher gear to take control of the match with a convincing 30-1 run over a number of minutes.

After notchign the game’s first hoop, through Natlija Lejcic, Fusion kept going despite Hibs’ reply from Kristy Caruana and Ashleigh van Vliet.

In fact, Fusion netted a 10-0 streak starting from a zone play from energetic Adriana Caballero and treys from Marija Momcilevic and their top scorer Milica Stefanovic.

Hibs seemed to be moving to definitely overturning the score with a 21-3 run spread over two quarters to go 27-17 ahead.

Yet, here one witnessed great resolute from Fusion as they battled back into the game as Stefanovic and Julia Schembri notched a series of points and then, a late trey from Pejcic gave them a 37-35 lead at half time.

The game was still at par almost midway in the third quarter at 41-a-piece after another Caballero hoop.

However, from this point on, the more-experienced Paola side took the game in their hands and started exposing more the openings in their opponents’ defence.

Points were aplentiful for Hibs with their young centre Julia Dabic using well her height advantage under the boards for a game high 18-point personal tally.

With the gap widening to a 71-42 lead, the game was then, as expected. pracically over even if Fusion need to be content with the improvement shown in the last weeks.

Hibernians: E. Farrugia 4, I. Agius 7, A. Van Vliet 10, S. Brincat 6, B. Agius, J. Abela 8, N. Farrugia 7. K. Caruana 8, K. Conti 4, K. Calleja 3, J. Dabic 18, M. Mendez.
Fusion: D. Debono, M. Momcilevic 5, J. Schembri 8, M. Stefanovic 15, E. Pace, D. Apostolovska, T. Azzopardi Deguara 1, A. Caballero 5, N. Pejcic 7, Z. Milidragovic 4.
Referees: B. Vassallo, I,

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