ARMS Depiro 58
(14-10, 8-17, 15-19, 17-12)
A 16-0 run spread between the last three minutes of the first half and the first three minutes of the second overturned the score in ARMS Depiro’s favour and was extremely influential in this Depiro win over Hibs.
The win helped Depiro to move to the second spot in the standings and even register their second success on the trot.
Hibs presented a new import player, Daphnee Frieson. The 32-year old center from Mobile, Alabama and who played with Stetson in the NCAA, has been quite around a number of countries including Lebanon, Romania, Lithuania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Spain, Albania and the last two years in Australia.
Her first local hoop came sandwiched around two treys from Naomi Farrugia as Hibs raced to an early 9-2 lead.
At the other end, Hannah Johnson, who returned on the court after a month absence due to injury, inspired her team-mates to get into the game and her points together with those from colleagues Claire Ciantar and Leanne Duncan helped the Mtarfa-based side to reopen the game.
The Paolites still enjoyed an end-of-first quarter 14-10 lead with veteran Samantha Brincat grabbing the last points in the first rubber.
This slender lead remained consistent for the first seven minutes in the second quarter as Hibs managed to keep Depiro always at an arms’ length away with an Iona Agius hoop putting them 22-19 ahead.
Yet Hibs’ offensive machine dried out for the next six minutes of effective play, spread over two quarters, whilst Depiro pounced on the opportunity to score 16 consecutive points, nine from Johnson, to move 35-22 ahead.
Frieson and Brincat stopped Hibs’ point drought but Depiro were not put off their momentum and they kept their cool and two early fourth quarter hoops, a field goal by Nicole Agius and another trey from Duncan had Depiro 51-37 in the lead.
Hibs did not throw in the towel and managed to register a 9-0 streak to reduce the margin to five points, 46-51. But Depiro had five back-to-back points from Agius to calm their nerves.
Time was against Hibs and despite a late final push, they could not reach their opponents as Depiro held strong for a final close four-point win as the race for the second and third spot for the play-offs seems to be brewing into an interesting affair.
The other game originally in the programme between Starlites Naxxar GiG and Caffe Moak Luxol was postponed to a later date due to COVID19 purposes.
Hibs: I. Agius 9, Y. Bonett 7, J. Dabic, S. Brincat 18, B. Agius, J. Abela 3, C. Camilleri, N. Farrugia 6, M. Buhagiar 2, D. Frieson 9
Depiro: No. Agius, M.Caruana 3, N. Agius 13, J. Mallia, L. Duncan 13, M. Micallef, D. Galea, C. Ciantar 10, J. Xerri, N. Hili, H. Johnson 19, E. Cassar
Referees: K. Dworniczak, V. Nikolic, I. Ciurariu.
Starlites Naxxar GiG 5/0; ARMS Depiro 3/3; Caffe Moak Luxol 2/3; Hibs 1/5.