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Starlites Naxxar GiG take sole leadership

Josephine Diaby (right) goes for the basket despite the challenge of Ylenia Bonett, of Hibs. Photo: Wally Galea

Caffe Moak Luxol gain first win

Match Day Two from the MAPFRE MSV Life Women’s League resulted in a comfortable win by Starlites Naxxar GiG over their main rivals in the past years Hibs.

Caffe Moak Luxol registered their first league win when they toppled ARMS Depiro leaving the latter still searching for their first league success.

Starlites Naxxar GIG 76
Hibernians 37
(23-10, 21-6, 19-9, 13-12)

After a balanced start, a 10-0 run midway in the first quarter set the ball rolling for what resulted in an easy, comfortable win for Starlites, especially after another positive streak – this time of 14 points on the run early in the second quarter which placed the Naxxar side 39-12 ahead.

The margin between the two sides increased further although Hibs did show better precision late in the match.

Both sides set off replying to each other and it was a close 11-8 scoreline midway in the first quarter after a Hibs trey from Naomi Farrugia.

However, a brace of Michela Zammit Cordina hoops set Starlites off on a ten-point streak as Patricia Arguello followed with a three-ball and Christina Curmi added points from the charity line.

The second quarter got off with a Stephanie Demartino close-range bucket which was immediately replied to by Marie Buhagiar at the opposite end.

Yet the next six minutes had Starlites moving to a 39-12 lead after a 14-0 run.

With Demartino finding a sleek hand in her shooting in the third quarter, assisted also by buckets from Josephine Diaby and Maria Bonett, the Naxxar side extended their lead further as the game was totally clear and done with when the two sides entered for the final rubber at 63-25.

The last ten minutes were a formality with points shared at both ends with David Baudot’s side playing at ease, assured of top spot in the standings.

On the other hand, Hibs will surely aim to forget this performance, especially their shooting percentages on the day, and go back to the drawing board ahead of Match Day 3.

STARLITES: M. Zammit Cordina 6, C. Cilia, A. Micallef 2, S. Farrugia 2, M. Bonett 9, S. DeMartino 15, C. Curmi 5, J. Diaby 9, P. Arguello 8, N. Schembri 5, S. Davies 6, K. Mifsud 9.
HIBS: I. Agius 7, Y. Bonett 5, J. Dabic, S. Brincat 2, B. Agius 3, J. Abela 3, C. Camilleri, Cl. Camilleri 2, N. Farrugia 3, K. Calleja, K. Caruana 5, M. Buhagiar 7.
Referees: G. Barbara, K. Dworniczak, L. Camilleri.

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL 68
ARMS DEPIRO 62
(15-15, 17-11, 15-17, 21-19)

A strong end to the first half allowed Caffe Moak Luxol to change ends 32-26 ahead and this lead seemed to fill the Ciolets with confidence as they then consistently replied to their opponents’ efforts in the second half.

ARMS Depiro were still in the game until two very late three-balls put seal to Luxol’s victory.

The victors paraded their US import player, Kali Koenig from Louisiana.

The 25-year-old guard, who played with Lemvig in the Danish league last season, ended as the game’s top point-getter and was an inspiration to Claudio Massari’s side.

Luxol, however, were quite inaccurate from the free throw line on the day, with 20 misses from 34, and this would have been their downfall had they lost the game.

At the other end, ARMS Depiro had a better shooting day from inside the three-point arc and were also stronger than their adversaries underneath the boards.

But their play was somewhat careless at times and they committed almost three times more turnovers than Luxol in the game, mistakes that proved detrimental at the end.

It was 15-a-piece after the first quarter as Luxol had two treys from Koenig as well as an opening hoop from the returning Paola Ellul. Depiro had Hannah Johnson immediately pouring buckets assisted by Leanne Duncan and ex-Luxol Monique Caruana.

The Mtarfa side pipped ahead in the second quarter and were 26-22 in front with two minutes to go to half-time but here Luxol had an 10-0 run to overturn the score in their favour.

It was still a tight four-point game when play restarted for the final quarter until an Antoinette Borg ended a Luxol six-point streak, with two minutes to go to the final buzzer, for 61-53.

Depiro rallied hard to reopen the game and five points off Nicole Agius and a Neve Borg hoop made it a two-point game, 60-62, in the final minute.

A Koenig trey upped Luxol’s motivation and although Caruana scored two free throws at the opposite end, an Ellul long-distance shot ascertained Luxol’s win.

Luxol: A. Mifsud 2, P. Ellul 11, N. Vella 7, M. Pollacco 5, L. Caruana Montaldo, C. Sollami 5, K. Portelli 4, A. Borg 12, J. Schembri, H. Galea, M. Grech, K. Joenig 22.
Depiro: No. Agius, M.Caruana 12, N. Agius 10, T. Mifsud, L. Duncan 3, J. Borg 6, C. Ciantar 8, J. Xerri, N. Hili 2, H. Johnson 19, D. Galea, N. Borg 2.
Referees: G. Barbara, I. Simic, V. Nikolic.

Standings

Starlites Naxxar GiG (2-0); Hibs, Caffe Moak Luxol 1-1; ARMS Depiro 0-2.

Next Fixtures

NOVEMBER 29: Arms Depiro vs Hibs; Starlites Naxxar GiG vs Caffe Moak Luxol.

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