Caffe Moak Luxol managed to land yet another honour this season when they beat Hibernians in the Knock Out final. This was their third success this season after they already lifted the Super Cup and the Louis Borg Cup.
Caffe Moak Luxol 69
(24-15, 12-12, 15-13, 18-19)
A 12-3 mid-first quarter run helped Luxol to start distancing themselves for an 18-9 lead.
The game had set off on an equal footing with Hibs player Kenyotta Jenkins (double-double with 18 points and 12 boards) and Ashleigh Van Vliet (eight rebounds and team-high seven assists) replying to earlier hoops, at the opposite end, through Gladiana Avila and Josephine Diaby.
Avila, who had a triple-double performance – 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists – landing her also the Knock Out Final MVP award, led her side to this initial streak with also a respective hoop from Mandy Mercieca (nine rebounds, three assists) and Sarah Sciberras.
Hibs, who were the defending KO holders, had four free throws from Iona Agius but Luxol still kept the upper hand to close the first quarter leading 24-15.
The two sides equally shared 24 points in the second quarter with Luxol’s lead going up to double figures for a good stretch.
Avila and Samantha Brincat (six boards, three assists) had early three balls at opposite ends of the court whilst Mercieca and Jenkins neutralised each other basket in the closing stages of the first half for a 36-27 score at the interval.
Another Brincat trey brought Hibs’ momentary deficit to 34-40 three minutes after the change of ends. Yet Luxol quickly replied, in the next four minutes, as young Anna Fenech Pace landed a tris of hoops whilst Mercieca banged in a trey so that the Violets returned to a comfortable lead 49-36.
This lead shot up to a game-high 18 points, 59-41, after long rangers from Avila and Lisa Fenech Pace midway into the last quarter.
Here, Hibs had a positive two minutes of play as they hit back with a 9-0 run, and two minutes later, the Paolites sensed comeback possibilities when Jasmine Abela, with a trey, made it 56-62 with just over two minutes to play.
These hopes of a Hibs’ recovery were quashed when Avila continued her fine performance and landed five back-to-back points and ascertained Santino Coppa’s side’s success.
At the end of the final, MBA president Paul Sultana and MOC general secretary Kevin Azzopardi presented the winning medals, MVP award, and the KO trophy to the jubilant Luxol clan who celebrated this success after their last KO honour in 2018.
Luxol: C. Sollami 4, M. Mercieca 11, L. Fenech Pace 3, H. Galea, G. Avila 29, K. Portelli, S. Fenech Pace, J. Diaby 14, S. Sciberras 2, S. Farrugia, M. Marmara, A. Fenech Pace 6.
Hibernians: K. Conti, I. Agius 9, A. Van Vliet 11, S. Brincat 9. B. Agius, J. Abela 3, K. Jenkins 18. K. Caruana 2, J. Gauci, E. Cassar 7, J. Dabic, M. Mendez.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, F. Ciurariu, N. Azzopardi.
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