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Depiro go second as Starlites outclass Hibs

Starlites and Hibs players tussle for possession. Photo: Wally Galea

Caffe Moak Luxol 50
ARMS Depiro 82

(14-15, 14-14, 17-29, 5-24)

ARMS Depiro registered an important victory, their fourth in the league campaign, to move to the second spot in the standings and in a good position to advance to the league playoffs.

The game got off on a balanced note with both teams, even if quite wary of each other and committing certain unpressured turnovers, keeping at each other’s tails.

Luxol’s import player Kali Koenig was being guarded at close quarters but still managed to nip in three hoops in the opening quarter to keep her side close to Depiro who had taken the early lead through Claire Ciantar and then had the first points from Hannah Johnson.

Matters did not change in the second quarter with only a meagre point separating the two sides, 29-28, at the half-time interval.

The momentum changed when play restarted as Depiro started dominating more of the boards with their relative height advantage and the margin between the two sides started increasing with Nicole Agius also notching certain buckets to add to those made from close range by Johnson.

Luxol tried their best, even if they sometimes opted for too quick offensive ploys, to keep contact with Koenig finding help from Antoinette Borg
and Kayleigh Portelli in the third quarter.

Late in the same quarter, Johnson had to leave the court after amassing a technical foul for dissent followed some time later with an unnecessary away from ball retaliation contact which, despite the immediate apology from the same player, had to be sanctioned, as per criteria, as an unsportsmanlike foul.

Despite this setback, Depiro showed signs of maturity as the local players all increased their rhythm and did not allow Luxol, who need to improve on their field goal shooting percentages, to claw back into the game.

In fact, Depiro took full control of the final quarter and outscored their opponents 24-5 in the last ten minutes with young Danika Galea concluding a number of shots under the board whilst Agius kept on increasing her tally.

Luxol: V. Selvaggi, A. Mifsud, C. Sollami 3, F. Camilleri, H. Galea, K. Portelli 6, A. Borg 9, M. Camilleri, K. Koenig 28, M. Grech 2, M. Pollacco 2.
Depiro: No. Agius, M.Caruana 2, N. Agius 20, T. Mifsud, L. Duncan, C. Ciantar 16, J. Xerri 4, N. Hili, H. Johnson 24, D. Galea 14, N. Borg 2, E. Cassar.
Referees: B. Vassallo, V. Nikolic, I. Ciurariu.

Starlites Naxxar GiG 83
Hibernians 62
(27-13, 17-20, 23-9, 16-20)

The consecutive game-winning streak by Starlites Naxxar GiG continued after they beat Hibernians after another match where the Naxxar side managed to open an early lead and then maintained the tempo for the rest of the encounter.

Hibs started off well and Daphnee Freison’s points and an early Jasmine Abela trey had them at close contact with their opponents.

However, Starlites set off in the latter stages of the first rubber with a 12-2 run, with five players contributing offensively, to help them open an early double-digit lead, 27-13, after the first quarter.

Hibs’ best moment came at the start of the second quarter when they were focused in their plays, committing less turnovers, and treys from Naomi Farrugia and Marie Buhagiar had the Paolites come closer to the league leaders.

Although Stephanie Demartino and Patricia Arguello potted some buckets for Starlites, Hibs were kept on their heels as a three-ball from Samantha Brincat and further points from Buhagiar made it a 31-38 game.

Before the break, Josephine Diaby poured in six points, also starting to get the edge in the offensive rebounds battle, to help her team to go in for the interval break back with a double digit margin, 44-33.

Starlites regained in full control of the game when play set off again in the second half as they cruised to a 61-40 lead.

The game was practically closed off and the two sides then shared the spoils in the final quarter as Starlites’ duo Demartino and Maria Bonett closed off the game with 41 points shared between them.

Starlites: M. Fenech, C. Cilia 4, A. Micallef 2, S. Farrugia 2, M. Bonett 20, S. DeMartino 21, C. Curmi, P. Arguello 8, K. Pirotta 6, S. Davies 4, J. Diaby 16.
Hibs: C. Camilleri 4, I. Agius 5, Y. Bonett 4, S. Brincat 6, B. Agius, J. Abela 11, C. Camilleri, N. Farrugia 5, K. Caruana 8, M. Buhagiar 12, D. Frieson 7.
Referees: M. Hraisha, V. Nikolic, F. Ciurariu.

Standings

Starlites Naxxar GiG 7/0; ARMS Depiro 4/4; Hibs 2/6; Caffe Moak Luxol 2/5.

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