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Depiro stage late comeback to beat Luxol in overtime

Luxol’s Kali Koenig goes past Leanne Duncan, of Depiro. PHOTO: WALLY GALEA

ARMS Depiro 77

Caffe Moak Luxol         74

(after overtime;16-14, 11-20, 12-22, 29-12, 9-6)

This game had to be decided in overtime with ARMS Depiro staging a remarkable late comeback to eventually move towards their second league victory and join the same Caffe Moak Luxol in the league standings.

Luxol seemed to be cruising to victory when first they had a very strong start to the second half where they opened a hefty 50-30 lead and then controlled the tempo to maintain a considerable 17-point margin, 64-47, with just five minutes left to the regular game buzzer.

However the Mtarfa side, shorn of the services of their import player Hannah Johnson and losing also guard Monique Caruana to injury early in the game, hit back with an impressive 15-0 streak to level the score and even manage to force overtime in the dying seconds of regular time.

In the extra five minutes of play, two early Nicole Agius treys gave impetus to Depiro although Luxol did reply through hoops from Nicole Vella and even had the possessions to retake the lead but missed free throws and shots, allowing Depiro to ascertain the win with a late Danika Galea close-range hoop.

Depiro had enjoyed the early lead in the first quarter with Claire Ciantar grabbing most of her team’s buckets.

A nine-point run, courtesy of Kali Koenig, Cristina Sollami and Vella, gave Luxol their first game advantage midway in the second quarter. Although missing a number of shots from the charity line, Luxol still managed to keep abreast for a 34-27 half-time lead.

With Koenig finding her scoring touch, Luxol stormed out on a positive note in the second half and a 15-1 run led to a 20-point margin between the two sides in a game that also had the debut of young referee Matthew Scerri in this category.

Although Depiro did reply with nine consecutive points, with Neve Borg grabbing most of these, Luxol still were showing better play and with Antoinette Borg and Paula Ellul assisting Koenig, they still were well ahead, 64-47, in the 35th minute mark.

Depiro here started their late rally to draw level at 66-66 with a minute to go. Ellul had Luxol back in front but Galea got the last bucket in regular time to force overtime.

Depiro: No. Agius, M.Caruana, N. Agius 16, J. Mallia, L. Duncan 5, C. Ciantar 19, J. Xerri 12, N. Hili 2, D. Galea 17, N. Borg 6, E. Cassar.   

Luxol: A. Mifsud 3, P. Ellul 7, N. Vella 21, M. Pollacco, L. Caruana Montaldo, H. Galea, K. Portelli, A. Borg 8, J. Schembri, M. Grech 2, C. Sollami 7, K. Koenig 26. 

Referees:  B. Vassallo, D. Torok, M. Scerri.

Hibernians      52

Starlites Naxxar GiG    66

(14-20, 12-13, 6-25, 20-8)

Buoyed by a strong start to the game, Starlites Naxxar GiG managed to open an early double-digit lead and made the encounter an uphill struggle

for Hibs as the latter could never match their opponents’ ploys.

It was only in the last minutes of the game when the Paolites outscored their rivals and managed to make it a more final respectable scoreline.

Although Hibs notched the first basket of the game with a Naomi Farrugia trey, Starlites were quick to start off with Stephanie Demartino banging in a tris of hoops and shortly afterwards Josephine Diaby and Stephanie Davies joined her as the Naxxar side went 18-5 ahead after just six minutes.

This lead increased again midway in the second quarter when Starlites registered an

11-2 run, including shots from Michela Zammit Cordina.

Yet, Hibs showed a positive spurt of play as they closed the first half with an eight-point streak to bring down the margin to single digits with the buckets all coming from their combo guards Jasmine Abela and Iona Agius as well as Kristy Caruana.

The two middle minutes in the third quarter saw Starlites once again distancing themselves from their opponents as Maria Bonett and Patricia Arguello added to further Demartino hoops in an 11-0 run which had Starlites now go

50-30 ahead and well poised to register their fifth straight league win.

Hibs were quite sporadic in this quarter and Starlites comfortably administered their lead and moved on to a 64-39 scoreline with four minutes to go to the final buzzer.

Here, Hibs scored their maximum break in the game as 11 straight points coming from young Ylenia Bonett and Caruana managed to bring down the final deficit.

Hibs: J. Dabic, I. Agius 4, Y. Bonett 15, Z. Camilleri, S. Brincat 7, B. Agius, J. Abela 7, Ch. Camilleri, N. Farrugia 3, K. Caruana 14, M. Buhagiar, Cl. Camilleri 2.

Starlites: M. Zammit Cordina 9, C. Cilia 2, A. Micallef 2, S. Farrugia, M. Bonett 6, S. DeMartino 25, C. Curmi, J. Diaby 6, P. Arguello 5, K. Piotta 3, S. Davies 8.

Referees: G. Barbara, L. Camilleri, I. Simic.

STANDINGS

Starlites Naxxar GiG 5/0; Caffe Moak Luxol, ARMS Depiro 2/3; Hibernians 1/4.

NEXT FIXTURES

Sunday, January 24

Hibs vs ARMS Depiro  13.30

Luxol vs Starlites Naxxar           15.45

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