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Depiro look for Knockout blow as Luxol aim to retain title

Luxol's Josephine Diaby looks for an opening past Depiro guard Julia Borg's contest. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

11-time Knockout winners Caffe Moak Luxol will get the opportunity to retain their title after last season’s honour as they face Depiro in this year’s final at the Ta’ Qali Pavilion (Tip-off: 2pm).

Luxol are a staple of the competition and will be hoping to shift their final-winning expertise onto the crop of young players that form the majority of Santino Coppa’s roster contesting the final on Sunday.

Coming from a cruising victory against women’s league minnows Fusion Quest last weekend, the Violets will be looking to extend the sterling performance of Malta youth international Vanya Baldacchino who put up a 33-point showing on the day.

Luxol managed to run riot against Fusion while resting their two most-quoted players Josephine Diaby and Tayler Bennett, restricting the pair to a combined three and a half minutes on court. This means the pair will be out to make up for time spent sitting on the bench. This will also be the case for Luxol starlets Sarah and Anna Fenech Pace who were also handed minimal lines in last week’s script under Coppa’s direction as a rotated set of players dominated the team’s performance.

Bennett, who has been in impressive form in her first season at the club, will surely be Depiro’s major problem as the US import guard has constantly deceived the opposition with graceful play before stinging at their weakest.

Challengers on all facets

While Fusion have struggled with a lack of squad depth, this is not the case with Sunday’s challengers. Depiro have this season grown in stature particularly in the women’s game, with significant investment proving worth every penny as Adrian Baldacchino’s clan is on course to secure playoff basketball early.

In this year’s knockout, the two-time winners have overcome league leaders Starlites JSD in the semifinals, a statement victory which is sure to sound the alarm bells for both the Malta champions as well as Luxol for the remainder of the season.

In a 19-point team-leading showing by US import Jose Ann Johnson, Depiro held Starlites to just 46 points on the day. Freescoring Kristy Galea and Julia Borg shined as they outscored the sharpshooting Steffi De Martino, but this was no different than what has become the norm for both of the guards this season.

Depiro guard Sophie Abela will be the issue Luxol will have to deal with quickest, however, if they are to make inroads into the game on Sunday. Praised many times by Luxol coach Coppa, the Italian will be wary of the athletic Malta international who has been crucial to her side on both ends of the court. This battle for supremacy between two promising sets of players will be cause for an exciting final.

KNOCKOUT FINAL

Caffe Moak Luxol vs Depiro – 14.00

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