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Depiro beat Hibernians to set up Starlites Knockout semifinals clash

Depiro's Nicole Agius looks to evade Hibernians' Iona Agius. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Depiro were confirmed in the semifinals of this year’s MAPFRE MSV Life Women’s KnockOut competition after beating Hibernians on Saturday at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion. With the second semifinal between Caffe Moak Luxol and Fusion Quest taking place in March, Depiro will now face Starlites JSD for a place in the final.



(13-19, 9-21, 14-22, 6-23)

The game had a slow start with the first basket of the day coming two minutes into the first quarter when Depiro’s Jose Ann Johnson hit one of two from the freethrow line before Kristy Galea intercepted Hibernians’ next opening pass to put up a close-range layup.

MBA Player of the Month for January Lyndsey Whilby put three points on the board from an and-one play for Hibs’ first points of the day, however, it was Depiro in control as they maintained a six-point lead throughout the remainder of the quarter.

Whilby opened the second-quarter scoring with a pair of freethrows but Julia Xerri responded for Depiro to keep up her side’s advantage.  At the other end, coach Adrian Baldacchino’s clan looked solid on defence to close any potential openings for the Paolites. In fact, it had to be clever work from Jasmine Abela to find Kaya Calleja for an open three-pointer at the corner.

Offence became sloppy from both sides for the last five minutes of the first half, but this hardly stopped Depiro from opening a double-digit lead with 4.24 to go with Nicole Agius sending home a pair of threes to start her side’s late onslaught which resulted in a 40-22 finish at halftime.

Just like the previous two quarters, the third opened with a freethrow, this time scored by Depiro’s Sophie Abela. Johnson added a score from under the hoop to give the Mtarfa side a 21-point advantage and this began to spell trouble for Hibs as these points became an 8-0 run before Whilby broke through contact to score again.

Midway through the rubber, Depiro made it a 30-point game as their dominance looked clear by then, in spite of Hibs’ efforts. The challenge became unlikely to be overcome as Hibs were down by 26 ahead of the final quarter.

In fact, when Johnson hit from mid-range just 20 seconds into the fourth rubber, the game was all but assured for Depiro and with such momentum, they pushed for their greatest lead of the afternoon when they led by 45 before a final Hibs basket before the final buzzer.

HIBERNIANS M. Buhagiar, F. Fabok 2, I. Agius 4, L. Whilby 25, J. Abela 2, B. Agius 2, K. Calleja 3, M. Vella 2, J. gauci, A. Mallia, J. Dabic 2.

DEPIRO S. Abela 8, N. Agius 11, J. Xerri 8, J. Mallia 2, L. Sciberras 4, N. Agius 3, C. Ciantar 10, J. Johnson 22, M. Micallef 2, N. Borg, K. Galea 15.

Referees N. Azzopardi, N. Da Silva.


(to be played on March 2)

Caffe Moak Luxol vs Fusion Quest – 15.15

Depiro vs Starlites JSD – 17.15

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