Gzira Athleta obtain initial league victory
Starlites Naxxar 44
Gzira Athleta 73
(13-10, 12-22, 4-20, 15-21)
Athleta followed up their Shield success with their first league victory of the season AT the start of the league campaign.
Starlites held out till the interval but then fell prey to the determibed athleta outfit who had their American Kwame thompson starting late but then finished up as the game's top scorer by far.
Luca Stefanovic had the misfortune of ending the match early being injured in the latter part of the match although he recovered from a heavy blow to the midriff.
Starlites introduced the young Adam Vella Cardona while Athleta recovered Welshman Joel Symmons as their second foreigner along with Ryan Zammit.
It was Starlites with the better start going 7-2 in front with Quinton Bugeja and Luca Vella points. Athleta then made up a three hoop spread with a brace of Francesco Mifsud Bonnici hoops but Starlites were back till the end of the period as they grabbed another lead were tied by Athleta soon after but Vella's triple had Starlites in front.
In the second session, Athleta strode forward with a poker of hoops with two from Thompson. Starlites had Chris Doublet with a triple as they tied the score but Julian Wait’s brace of hoops had Athleta in front again.
Vella's second trey had Starlites just a point behind with Athleta then finishing off the session with an 8-2 run and two Thompson hoops to take a 32-25 advantage into the interval.
After the break, Athleta took over as they poured in a 13-0 run from Thompson and Stefan Vincic. Vella pulled a hoop back for Starlites but Athleta got going again with another 7-0 run mainly from Vincic.
Isaac Pace managed a couple of free throws for Starlites but they had fallen 29-52 in arrears.
In the last quarter, Alex Xuereb points for Starlites had Athleta answering back in between before Athleta struck once more with a 12-0 run to steer completely clear.
With the game done and dusted, Starlites managed to make some impact with a late 122 run and a Matthias Schembri triple before Thompson closed down the encounter with another brace of hoops for Athleta.
Starlites: M. Azzopardi, L. Vella 13, C. Doublet 3, M. Vella, I. Pace 7, M. Schembri 5, O. Psaila, A. Cutajar, Q. Bugeja 10, A. Vella Cardona, A. Xuereb 6
Athleta: J. Symmons 2, F. Mifsud Bonnici 12, J. Wait 6, J. Aquilina 2, L. Stefanovic 2, M. Gauci Montaldo 6, M. Giusti 6, K. Thompson 24, R. Zammit, S. Vincic 8, M. Cilia 5, D. Buhagiar
Referees: G. Barbara, S. Micallef