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Depiro overcome Luxol to climb into second place

Depiro's Sophie Abela (centre) looks for a pass into the Luxol danger zone. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Starlites crush Fusion to stay top

Depiro leapfrogged Caffe Moak Luxol into second place of the MAPFRE MSV Life Women’s League on Saturday after winning a direct clash between the two challengers for Starlites JSD’s crown.

Meanwhile, Starlites easily overcame the obstacle of Fusion Quest with a thumping victory to stay one point ahead of the rest at the top of the standings.



(14-16, 18-16, 13-13, 9-14)

A close victory against Luxol on Saturday not only extended Depiro’s previous three-game winning streak but has now also brought them just a point below leaders Starlites on 23.

It was an excellent day of shooting for Depiro’s Kristy Galea and Julia Xerri as they both registered double-digits – 14 and 12 respectively – with more than 50% accuracy. US import Jose Ann Johnson was the other double-digit scorer on the day with a 14-point–11-rebounds double-double.

At the other end, Luxol’s Tayler Bennett was once again the team’s leader on offence with a game-high 22 points despite getting fouled out in the fourth quarter. In an unusual low-scoring day for the Violets, Josephine Diaby was the only other player in double-figures as she registered a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Luxol’s Shanice Farrugia opened proceedings instantly when Diaby’s lob from the game’s tip-off led the ball to the young guard who sped up for a quick layup. Despite the fast start, once Depiro got their first baskets through a Sophie Abela freethrow and a Johnson layup, the Mtarfa side took over, restricting Santino Coppa’s side to just eight points in the first five minutes through impressive defence from Xerri.

Eventually, Luxol caught up to finish the first quarter two points behind.

Depiro’s Jose Ann Johnson (left) and Luxol’s Josephine Diaby battle for the tip-off. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Bennett levelled terms with the second quarter’s first basket as Luxol began to step up their game. However, Julia Borg hit from three-point range and Johnson hit from under the hoop to reopen a gap in the lead.

With clumsy play on offence from the Violets, Adrian Baldacchino’s clan managed to climb up nine points ahead. However, just like the opening rubber, Luxol regained their composure and went back to the dressing room for halftime all square at 32-32 after conceding a pair of freethrows which Johnson sent home.

For a third-straight quarter, Luxol scored the first basket of the second half, Mandi Mercieca capitalising on an Abela turnover for an easy layup. Johnson replied with a mid-range jumpshot as Depiro surged ahead before Abela made amends with a drive through contact.

It was a case of early dominance from Depiro in the opening half of each quarter and a comeback from Luxol as the latter went from six points down to level again ahead of the final quarter.

There was no comeback for Luxol in the fourth rubber however, as they were allowed just nine points to Depiro’s 14 as both Bennett and Farrugia received their marching orders for their fifth foul and the Violets fell to a second consecutive defeat after their previous meeting in the Knockout final earlier in March.

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL T. Bennett 22, M. Mercieca 4, L. Fenech Pace 5, S. Fenech Pace 4, J. Diaby 12, V. Baldacchino, S. Sciberras, S. Farrugia 2, A. Fenech Pace 5.

DEPIRO S. Abela 6, N. Agius, J. Xerri 12, L. Sciberras 3, C. Ciantar 2, J. Borg 8, J. Johnson 14, K. Galea 14.

Referees F. Ciurariu, N. Azzopardi.



(29-7, 25-5, 22-9, 25-2)

Starlites found little resistance on Saturday as they blew out Fusion Quest with a 78-point victory that featured several Under-23 players from the side currently fighting for the title in their respective league.

In fact, protagonists of the youth side led the game’s scoring on the day with Mikela Riolo scoring 21 points on a 71.4 field-goal percentage while going close to a double-double with eight rebounds. Andie Saliba followed with 20 points as Catherine Cilia added 14 points to complement senior players Maria Bonett and Paige Cannon who also finished the game in double-digits as Steffi de Martino was rested for this fixture.

As for Fusion, it was a shooting day to forget as Nicole Montalvo’s 42.9FG% was the team’s highest. Montalvo bagged six points, second to Alexia Parnis and Nicole Vella who finished with seven.

Riolo kickstarted Starlites’ scoring with one of two freethrows in the first minute. Good defence from Fusion held their opponents back for a while but Saliba found a way through. Cilia got into scoring rhythm as Starlites were eight-point ahead midway through the first quarter but Parnis broke their run with a three-pointer and Fusion’s first basket.

Despite the league minnows managing seven points throughout the quarter, it was a steep hill as Starlites led by 22 at the first buzzer.

The incline got bigger in the second rubber as Fusion managed just a point from a Mara Opauszki freethrow in the first five minutes as Fatih Dedelioglu brought on Cannon, Bonett, Michela Zammit Cordina, and Christina Curmi in his first rotation of the day. This aggregated Starlites’ dominance as the leaders’ advantage grew to 42 for a 54-12 halftime score.

Fusion’s Montalvo opened the second half scoring as the side made a positive start after the break. However, Philippa Riolo made the most out of a Parnis turnover to put the ball through the hoop without any challenge. This reopened the floodgates as Starlites restarted their sprint which flowed into the fourth quarter as the Naxxar side amassed their greatest lead of the day – 29 points – while holding Fusion to just two points before pushing past the 100-point mark to take the win.

STARLITES JSD M. Zammit Cordina 6, M. Riolo 21, A. Saliba 20, E. Degiorgio 6, M. Bonett 12, P. Riolo 7, C. Cilia 14, C. Vella 2, C. Curmi 2, P. Cannon 11.

FUSION QUEST H. Grixti, A. Parnis 7, M. Opauszki 3, N. Vella 7, N. Montalvo 6.

Referees F. Ciurariu, M. Vassallo Pulis.


Starlites JSD 24; Depiro 23; Caffe Moak Luxol 21; Hibernians 15*; Fusion Quest 11.

*Hibernians did not feature last weekend.

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