Athleta win the Shield for the first time
Gzira Athleta 53 Depiro 43 (13-16, 14-7, 8-6, 18-14)
Both sides had beaten the champions, and holders of this honour, on their way to the final.
They had also met each other once, in the Independence Cup, with Athleta being the winners. They also won this final, to put their names down for the first time, on the Shield.
A solid run, in the last quarter, gave Athleta the boost they needed to break away from their adversaries.
Depiro did make a late surge, but it fell short, and Athleta could hold on to win, in their second final this season, after having tasted defeat in the Independence Cup, to Luxol.
Athleta were missing their Serbian player, Milica Stefanovic, and Depiro included the Welsh girl, Hayley Acreman.
Athleta's first points of the match were answered to by Depiro's triples, by Sam Brincat and Gaby Mifsud, as their side went in front.
The lead then changed hands four more times, before Christina Grima sank an Athleta trey. Athleta's advantage didn't last long, as Misud's second triple and Claudia Camilleri free shots put Depiro ahead.
In the next period Amelia Simmons points, and a triple, took Athleta in another advantage, with Depiro twice taking the score on level terms.
Grima's second trey gave Athleta another lead, and though it was all Shameeka Murray points for Depiro in this session, Athleta were still in front till the interval, on a 27-23 score.
After the break Athleta enhanced their lead with a three basket spread, with the points then becoming scarcer.
Depiro cut back on their deficit slightly, with Athleta still in front, after three sessions of play, on a 35-29 score. Depiro reacted to Athleta's next hoop, with a brace of their own, but then they were hit by a long Athleta spurt, which gave them a good 11-0 run, which threw Depiro way behind.
They came surging back, to make up a 10-0 run, ending with a couple more Gaby Mifsud triples. Athleta then closed down the match their last free throws of the match, from Denise Said Hollier and Leanne Sciberras.
At the end of the encounter the Athleta skipper, Leanne Sciberras, was presented the winning trophy by the MBA general secretary, Joseph Muscat.
Athleta: C. Grima 13, M. Pollacco, S. Pisani, L. Sciberras 12, A. Simmons 14, D. Said Hollier 5, A. Borg 7, J. Schembri, S. Vella 2, E. Pace , C. Mifsud
Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 12, N. Agius, S. Brincat 7, M. Bonett 5, C. Camilleri 2 S. Murray 9, M. Scicluna, M. Micallef, H. Acreman, T. DeMartino 4, C. Ciantar 4 Referees: G. Barbara, I. Marjanovic