Luxol win first ti­tle de­fence

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Ath­leta: Luxol: Ref­er­ees:

Gzira Ath­leta 46 Caffe Moak Luxol 53

(9-13, 10-16, 12-16, 15-8)

The cham­pi­ons took the open­ing step, to de­fend the league ti­tle, won th­ese last three sea­sons.

They made an im­me­di­ate im­pact, as they went ahead from the start, and never re­lin­quished their ad­van­tage, through­out the whole en­counter.

There were times when Ath­leta threat­ened to get much closer, but ev­ery time they saw their ad­ver­saries open­ing up their lead, again and again.

Ath­leta couldn't quite get the chok­ers on St­effi DeMartino, who played im­pe­ri­ously. Sarah Pace, even though jit­tery at times, per­formed well, and Pauls El­lul ran miles, chas­ing af­ter Christina Grima, and ac­tu­ally lim­it­ing her to far less points than she is used to pot.

Ath­leta had Amelia Sim­mons try­ing to get them back on track, but she had to con­tend with heavy traf­fic in the op­pos­ing zone. Maybe the Ath­leta play­ers were more in awe, of this first fi­nal, than their op­po­nents, with the Luxol lasses play­ing more to a set plan.

Luxol had to make do with­out their Amer­i­can, At­ti­rah Mu­nir, still in­jured, al­though the lat­est news is that she will take part in the sec­ond match. In her place they had a new face, the Span­ish, Vicky Figo, who, how­ever, re­mained on the bench.

Luxol ran into a first ad­van­tage, at 9-0, with a DeMartino triple. Sim­mons pulled Ath­leta back, to within a hoop, but a brace of Sarah Pace hoops had Luxol keep­ing their ad­van­tage. In the sec­ond pe­riod, the cham- pi­ons ex­tended their lead, as DeMartino net­ted a sec­ond trey, in an 8-2 start.

Ath­leta lim­ited the dam­age, but they were still trail­ing. In the last stages of the pe­riod Luxol net­ted some more points, tak­ing them to a bet­ter 29-19 ad­van­tage, at the interval.

Af­ter the break there was still no let off for Ath­leta. Luxol pun­ished them, making up an ini­tial 11-2 run, as DeMartino nailed two more triples, with an­other, from Paula El­lul, in be­tween.

Ath­leta had to re­act, and they did. They were back in the game, from their heavu deficit, putting in an 8-2 run, from Christina Grima and Sim­mons. It was Pace who net­ted Luxol's next points, be­fore the end of the ses­sion, tak­ing her side to a 45-31 ad­van­tage.

In the alst quar­ter Ath­leta put in their last ef­forts. An­toinette Borg net­ted a triple, as her side went un­der a dou­ble fig­ure deficit. Luxol reme­died quickly, making a four bas­ket spread. to vir­tu­ally close down the game.

In the re­main­ing time Ath­leta cut down on the score, with a 90 run, as Bev­er­lee Zam­mit and Sim­mons net­ted their triples, but time was against them, and Luxol be­gan their quest of record­ing four league ti­tles in a row.

C. Grima 11, B. Zam­mit 4, L. Sciber­ras 4, A. Sim­mons 23, D. Said Hol­lier 1, A. Borg 3, J. Schem­bri , S. Vella , A. Debe­nay, C. Mif­sud

S. Pace 7, M. Mer­cieca 8, I. Baena Me­d­ina , V. Figo , S. DeMartino 27, K. Portelli , C. Sol­lami , P. El­lul 5, L. Caru­ana Mon­taldo , C. Curmi 6

E. Man­gani, Simic, Z. Do­brosavl­je­vic I.

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