Ath­leta over­come de­pleted Luxol, to go into the fi­nal

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Wil­lie Vas­sallo

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

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