Athleta overcome depleted Luxol, to go into the final
Gzira Athleta 61 Caffe Moak Luxol 50 (20-16, 23-14, 4-12, 14-8)
Luxol were caught at a bad time after having recovered Steffi DeMartino who had missed their defeat to Depiro.
They had to make do without Sarah Pace, Mandi Mercieca, Beverlee Zammit and Cristina Sollami - all indisposed one way or another - ending up with no depth on the bench.
Athleta had a couple of bench players missing - Stephanie Pisani and Julia Schembri.
It was a match of contrasts with Luxol first keeping pace with their opponents then Athleta drew away till the interval with Luxol gaining ground after the break. Luxol went nearer in the last session but Athleta then made sure in the remaining time.
Both sides held two small advantages at the start but Amelia Simmons and Christina Grima kept on with their points till the end of the session with DeMartino replying for Luxol as Athleta eked out another lead.
In the next period, Luxol went near but Athleta had Denise Said Hollier and Antoinette Borg with their treys as Paula Ellul and Ina Baena Medina replied for the Violets. Simmons’ free throws and Grima’s triple had Athleta on a better advantage even though DeMartino sank a Luxol triple but a session ending 7-0 run had Athleta on a better platform with a 43-30 interval advantage.
Athleta opted to erase Luxol’s threat from DeMartino and Grima stuck to her like a leech at the expense of making more points but it was beneficial to her side. Luxol still managed to creep nearer as they limited Athleta to just two hoops. An 8-0 run with Lindsay Lessard points had the champions quite near on a 42-47 deficit.
In the last quarter, Luxol went to within a point as Medina sank a brace of hoops. Leanne Sciberras came to Athleta’s rescue with her triple. Lessard had Luxol a hoop behind but then Athleta took matters in their own hands and they proceeded to drift away from their opponents.
A 9-0 run with a trio of Simmons hoops took them to the end of the match leaving Luxol in no man’s land and unable to strike back.
Athleta will be meeting Depiro in the final next Sunday at 2.45pm.
Athleta: M. Stefanovic 8, C. Grima 17, M. Pollacco , L. Sciberras 11, A. Simmons 19, D. Said Hollier 3, A. Borg 3, S. Vella , E. Pace , C. Mifsud
Luxol: K. Calleja , M. Darmanin 5, I. Baena Medina 8, S. DeMartino 19, K. Calleja , A. Calleja , P. Ellul 6, L. Lessard 12, C. Curmi
Referees: G. Barbara, I. Marjanovic