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Starlites strike first blow in U-16 final series

Jordan Ellul Dowling goes for the basket against Starlites. Photo: Wally Galea

Starlites Mazars           53

Gżira Athleta  49

(11-8, 13-14, 17-13, 12-14)

This season’s under-16 leagues will be decided after a best-of-three series and the boys’ league deciders set off with Starlites Mazars just pipping Gżira Athleta with a tight margin.

The Naxxar side took the lead in the series and put the pressure on Gżira who cannot do otherwise but recover in the second game this Saturday if they want to force the final decisive game three on Sunday.

The game was almost always at par with both sides at each other’s heels although it was clear that most of the players were a bit awe struck, faced with the importance of the game.

It was merely a 24-22 game at half-time, and after that, the most offensively active players on both ends of the court were Starlites’ Azzopardi twins, Adam and Isaac, and Jordan Ellul Dowling for Gżira Athleta.

Although the Naxxar side momentarily extended their lead in the third quarter, Gżira Athleta fought back into the game and it was anybody’s game in the closing stages as both teams committed some mistakes due to the tension for these young players.

Finally, it was Starlites who kept their cool to defend their slender lead in the last minute to go 1-0 up in the series.

Starlites: S. Pace 2, A. Azzopardi 29, A. Djordjevic, A. Sammut, I. Azzopardi 10, I. Borg 4, J. Spiteri 6, J. Cefai 2, J. Dimech.

Gżira Athleta: J. Dowling 27, M. Deflavia, Ju. Caruana 2, L. Abela, I. Mifsud 2, Jo. Caruana, I. Xuereb 14, A. Garzia, N. Vella 4, F. Borg, M. Spiteri, K. Fabri.

Refs: K. Dworniczak, M. Hraisha.

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