Depiro make it to the fi­nal

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Wil­lie Vas­sallo

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

Photo: James Bianchi

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