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Morale-boosting wins for ARMS Depiro and Starlites Naxxar

Hibs player Ylenia Bonett (left) tries to block Nicole Agius. Photo: Wally Galea

CAFFE MOAK LUXOL    45

STARLITES NAXXAR     58         

(12-14, 7-17, 15-13, 11-14)

Starlites Naxxar made it two out of three in their league face-off so far against Caffe Moak Luxol thereby edging closer to the same opponents in the league table.

The first rubber was a balanced affair with both sides sharing the points as Starlites set off with two treys from Stephanie Demartino with the reply at the other end coming mainly through Josephine Diaby.

Luxol were handicapped due to the absence of Jenniffer Oramas who injured her meniscus a week earlier and her local playing days seem to be over for this season.

The score was still at par midway in the second quarter at 18-16 but the Naxxar side took a momentary upper edge with nine straight points through a Cristina Curmi brace of hoops assisted by Mikela Riolo. The latter also nailed a late trey to help her side to a 31-19 halftime lead.

Luxol had a good run early in the second half with three consecutive baskets from Anna Fenech Pace but Starlites were quick to respond with further hoops from Riolo as well as Maria Bonett to keep a double-digit margin from their opponents.

Santino Coppa’s girls did try a final push to recover the lost ground but Riolo’s confidence in her shooting kept them away.

Both teams now enter for the four-week Christmas break and possibly will each feature new foreign imports in the new year.

LUXOL: L. Fenech Pace, S. Pace 7, M. Mercieca 3, N. Vella 10, H. Galea, S. Vella, A. Borg 3, P. Ellul 2, J. Diaby 10, S. Bonfiglio 2, A. Fenech Pace 8.  

STARLITES: A. Saliba, M. Riolo 18, S. Farrugia Tabone, M. Bonett 10, S. DeMartino 17, K. Portelli, M. Fenech, D. Camilleri, S. Davies 2, C. Curmi 11.

Referees:  N. Azzopardi, I. Ciurariu, F. Fabok.

ARMS DEPIRO 59

HIBERNIANS   44                                    

(15-6, 21-17, 17-12, 6-9)

ARMS Depiro managed to beat leaders Hibernians, the latter slumping to their second league defeat in a row although they had a reduced squad.

Ashleigh van Vliet was again absent as presently abroad whilst young Marie Buhagiar is now out for the rest of the season after an unfortunate ACL injury a week earlier.

After 47-76 and 46-81 defeats in the first two rounds, Depiro managed to get the win which gives them a psychological boost ahead of the Christmas break as they have now narrowed the gap in the league standings to merely one game.

The Mtarfa side started distancing themselves in the latter stages of the first quarter with a 9-0 run as Hannah Johnson led the offensive threat assisted by the athletic Julia Xerri.

Hibs tried to get back into the game at the start of the second quarter through hoops from Kenyotta Jenkins and Samantha Brincat. But three treys from Nicole Agius spearheaded Depiro towards a doubel-digit lead, 29-15.

In the second half, the victors managed to control Hibs’ attempts as Johnson continued notching close-range baskets whilst Leanne Duncan added a three-ball and team skipper Claire Ciantar also contributed apart from Agius who was quite on song.

Hibs made their final attempt to recover in the final session with young Ylenia Bonett increasing the tempo but Depiro were not to be undone as they controlled the proceedings for their fifth league win.

Depiro: H. Johnson  23, M. Caruana 3, Nic. Agius 15, J. Xerri 8, J. Mallia,  L. Duncan 4, T. Mifsud, N. Agius, C. Ciantar 6, N. Hili, N. Borg, A. Mallia.

Hibs: K. Conti, Y. Bonett 10, S. Brincat 1, J. Abela, C. Camilleri, K. Caruana 8, J. Borg Cardona 5, K. Jenkins 20.

Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, M. Scerri, B. Vassallo.

Standings: Hibs 14, ARMS Depiro 13, Caffe Moak Luxol 11, Starlites Naxxar 10.

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