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Starlites strengthen top spot, Depiro break their duck

Starlites player Patricia Arguello goes for the basket against Luxol. Photo: Wally Galea

Game day three of the MAPFRE MSV Life Women League had Starlites Naxxar GiG continuing on their winning streak whilst ARMS Depiro obtained their first league success. Bernard Vassallo writes…

ARMS Depiro 78
Hibernians 54

(18-16, 22-19, 14-11, 24-8)

A 17-0 final streak in the last four minutes of play helped ARMS Depiro to their first seasonal victory to join Hibs as well as Caffe Moak Luxol, all with one success after the first round of play.

Despite an initial three-ball from Depiro’s import player Hannah Johnson, it was Hibs who had the better start to the game.

The Paolites outscored their opponents in the early stages of the encounter and went 15-7 ahead after seven minutes of play with Samantha Brincat and Iona Agius sharing two three-pointers and two baskets equally between them.

Nicole Agius hit two long-distance shots at the opposite end and then, late in the first quarter, a Neve Borg bucket helped the Mtarfa side to hold a marginal 18-16 lead after 10 minutes of effective playing time.

Depiro maintained the upperhand in the second quarter but Hibs were always at their heels, coming to a mere point away at 35-36, after a brace of Ylenia Bonett’s buckets.

Midway in the third quarter, Depiro went on a 12-0 run with Claire Ciantar assisting the Johnson/Agius duo and some thought the game was being
decided at this juncture.

However, Hibs, momentarily facing a double-digit deficit, showed resilience and managed to come back to 50-54 early in the final fourth quarter.

Two consecutive Johnson conclusions helped Depiro to keep abreast but Hibs were still in the game till the 36th minute until the latter’s point machine dried up till the final buzzer.

On the other hand Depiro, who had a final positive night in their shooting percentages inside the arc as well as superiority under the boards, ascertained their first league win with seven of their players contributing to a concluding hefty 17-0 run.

Depiro: M.Caruana 5, N. Agius 17, T. Mifsud 2, L. Duncan 3, J. Borg 6, C. Ciantar 7, J. Xerri 2, N. Hili, H. Johnson 28, D. Galea 5, E. Cassar, N. Borg 3.
Hibs: I. Agius 12, Y. Bonett 10, J. Dabic, S. Brincat 10, B. Agius, J. Abela 11, C. Camilleri, Z. Camilleri, N. Farrugia 6, K. Calleja, K. Caruana 3, Cl. Camilleri 2.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic, L. Camilleri.

Starlites Naxxar GiG 75
Caffe Moak Luxol 39
(17-14, 21-4, 22-15, 15-6)

Starlites Naxxar GiG made it an en-plein after the first round of games when they ended with an easy win over Caffe Moak Luxol, even though the indications after the end of the first quarter were quite different.

In fact, Luxol had a positive start to the game with an initial Antoinette Borg basket followed by a three-point play by Nicole Vella and a respective shot from inside and behind the three-point arc by Kali Koenig.

After falling six points behind, Starlites Naxxar replied with an eight-point streak to take the first lead late in the first quarter.

A similar run, midway in the second quarter, with Patricia Arguello banging a trey whilst Stephanie Demartino was finding her shooting hand, and Josephine Diaby, making use of her height advantage underneath the boards, helped the Naxxar side to start extending their lead to a double figure status.

The game was practically over when Starlites continued to move onto a further streak, this time of 16 points, spread between the final part of the first half and a poker of starting minutes in the second half, made it a hefty 46-18 scoreline.

Luxol did improve in their offensive forays, although they still lacked again in their team percentages from the free-shot line.

But Starlites were never in any danger as they strolled to a comfortable two-game lead at the top of the standings after the first round of the national women’s league.

Starlites: A. Micallef 7, S. Farrugia, M. Bonett 14, S. DeMartino 20, C. Curmi 5, J. Diaby 10, P. Arguello 10, D. Camilleri 4, S. Davies 2, K. Pirotta 3.
Luxol: A. Mifsud, P. Ellul 2, N. Vella 3, C. Sollami 4, L. Caruana Montaldo, S. Vella 8, K. Portelli, A. Borg 6, J. Schembri 5, H. Galea, K. Koenig 11.
Referees: K. Dworniczak, D. Torok, M. Hraisha.

Standings

Starlites Naxxar GiG 3/0; ARMS Depiro, Hibernians, Caffe Moak Luxol (1/2).

NEXT FIXTURES

DECEMBER 13
Starlites GiG vs Depiro 13.30
Luxol vs Hibernians 15.45

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