Depiro make it to the final
Caffe Moak Luxol 50 Depiro 52 (12-13, 11-15, 12-12, 15-12)
Luxol tasted their first defeat of the season but all is not lost for them as the competition rules give them another shot at winning this honour going into the other semi final with just one defeat.
They felt the absence of Steffi DeMartino as they gave a debut to young Kaia Calleja. They also had to make do without Sarah Pace who was injured and missed the last part of the game. Depiro’s bench players Mariah Micallef and Hayley Acreman were also absent.
Depiro’s opening hoop had the champions reacting with a three basket spread. Free throws at either end kept the status quo until Depiro came up with a 7-0 run and a Sam Brincat triple to forge in front.
Luxol overturned the score with a couple of hoops only for Gaby Mifsud to give Depiro another advantage.
In the next session the champions were again in front but Depiro rallied with a trio of hoops. Sarah Pace’s triple had the Violets a point behind. Shameeka Murray’s hoops for Depiro were answered by Paula Ellul’s basktes for Luxol. Again Depiro came up with a three hoop spread with a brace form Maria Bonett.
At the interval Depiro were leading 28-23.
After the break, Depiro managed to extend their advantage and Gaby Mifsud sank her trey. The champions made their move with a 10-0 run by Lindsay Lessard and Christina Grima but their fresh advantage was shortlived as Depiro ended the period with a 7-0 run and another Mifsud trey along with two Tina DeMartino hoops for a 40-35 advantage.
The last quarter had Depiro on a better lead but Paula Ellul dragged Luxol back with two quick triples.
A further 7-0 run ending with more Grima points had the champions nosing in front. Claudia Camilleri took Depiro to a tie and Bonett then dealt the mortal blow as she netted her triple to take Depiro into the final. Luxol: S. Pace 5, M. Mercieca 4, M. Darmanin 2, I. Baena Medina, C. Sollami, K. Calleja, K. Portelli, A. Calleja, P. Ellul 13, N. Vella, L. Lessard 10, C. Curmi Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 12, N. Agius 2, S. Brincat 6, M. Bonett 13, C. Camilleri 1, S. Murray 6, M. Scicluna, T. DeMartino 12, C. Ciantar Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, C. Farrugia
Athleta are in the semis Gzira Athleta 66 Starlites Naxxar 55 (14-9, 16-16, 20-13, 16-17)
Both sides were on a single loss and had to evade another one.
Athleta did this to push themselves into the second semi final to meet Luxol, the holders, for a second time in this competition.
Starlites were chasing their opponents for nearly the whole game save for a brief spell in the second period. In Patricia Arguello they had a beacon to give them hope but Amelia Simmons more than made up for that in the Athleta colours with Antoinette Borg’s treys another fillip for the winners.
Kirsty Galea returned to the Starlites ranks after her injury but Adriana now Lupo had just been married.
Athleta made a great start going on to a 12-2 advantage. Starlites managed to recover till the end of the period making up a 7-2 run with Arguello netting two triples.
In the sesond session, it was Starlites on their best patch of play. A 2-2 run with treys from Galea and Arguello had them ahead despite a couple of Christina Grima hoops for Athleta, who then turned the tables as Antoinette Borg went on court and promptly put in two treys in a good 10-0 run which had Athleta regaining their advantage.
Baskets at either end took the score to 30-25 as Athleta held on to their lead till the interval.
After the break, Arguello netted another trey for Starlites but Athleta took a grip on the match and made up a solid 15-2 run with Borg claiming two more triples with another by Grima in between.
Steph Davies also sank a starlites trey but her side had fallen behind and Athleta went on to a better 50-38 lead after three sessions.
Kim Pirotta tried to drag Starlites back in the last period but Athleta were holding out well and as time passed by it was clear that Starlites were unable to make up the difference as Simmons’ hoops were still going in for Athleta along with others by Milica Stankovic and Grima. Athleta: M. Stefanovic 5, C. Grima 13, M. Pollacco, S. Pisani, L. Sciberras 2, A. Simmons 23, D. Said Hollier 6, A. Borg 14, J. Schembri, S. Vella 3, E. Pace, C. Mifsud Starlites: D. Agius 6, K. Galea 8, J. Doughty, S. Tabone, K. Pirotta 5, J. Micallef 2, P. Arguello 20, E. Magrin, S. Davies 20 Referees: S. Micallef, J. Mangani