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Luxol, Starlites Naxxar progress to Louis Borg Cup semi-finals

Luxol’s Mandi Mercieca (left) moves past Monique Caruana. Photo: Wally Galea

Caffe Moak Luxol 128
ARMS Depiro 90

(on aggregate)

Caffe Moak Luxol set off on a good note in the first leg of their Louis Borg Cup semifinal against ARMS Depiro, opening up a 15-0 lead in the opening minutes with treys from Palmira Marcal and Antoinette Borg adding to hoops from Josephine Diaby and Sarah Pace.

ARMS Depiro, relying entirely on a local squad, did improve and increased their tally on the scoreboard with long distance shots from Nicole Agius and Neve Borg as well as mid-range shots from Leanne Duncan. But Luxol were always firmly in command for a 37-25 half-time lead.

The second half was a balanced affair and the margin between the two sides remained practically the same with the St Andrews side going into the second game enjoying a 13-point lead.

Any hopes of a Depiro comeback started fading quickly in the second encounter.

Luxol again set the tempo and with Diaby being a menace under the boards and also leading to a superiority in both sets of rebounds in the two games, they had a double-digit lead again in half-time.

The series was definitely in Luxol’s favour when they opened the third quarter with a hefty 18-2 run, with Depiro not able to maintain the same shooting percentages as in the first game.

GAME ONE

Caffe Moak Luxol 68
ARMS Depiro 55
(19-11, 18-14, 18-19, 13-11)

Luxol: L. Fenech Pace, S. Pace 14, M. Mercieca 4, F. Camilleri, H. Grech, P. Marcal 19, A. Borg 3, P. Ellul 6, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby 22.
Depiro: C. Fenech, M. Caruana, N. Agius 19, J. Xerri, J. Mallia, L. Duncan 15, No. Agius, C. Ciantar 6, N. Ebejer, N. Borg 9, D. Galea 6, A. Mallia.
Referees: G. Barbara , Z. Dobrosavljevic, N. Azzopardi.

GAME TWO

ARMS Depiro 35
Caffe Moak Luxol 60
(8-14, 9-14, 9-22, 9-10)

Depiro: M. Caruana 9, N. Agius 2, J. Xerri 4, A. Mallia, J. Mallia, L. Duncan 6, No. Agius, C. Ciantar 14, N. Ebejer, N. Borg. D. Galea, C. Fenech
Luxol: L. Fenech Pace 6, V. Selvaggi, S. Pace 8, M. Mercieca 2, F. Camilleri, H. Grech, P. Marcal 5, A. Borg, P. Ellul 8, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby 31.
Referees: D. Torok, Z. Dobrosavljevic, V. Nikolic.

STARLITES NAXXAR 120
HIBERNIANS 112

(on aggregate)

This was a series that witnessed Hibernians taking a slender lead into game two, only for Starlites Naxxar to neutralise this margin two days later and also end up qualifying for the final series against Luxol in late April.

After taking the lead following a 12-2 streak in the second quarter, Hibs managed to maintain the upper hand in the first game.

After Amelia Simmons had helped Starlites to an early lead, Hibs overturned the score after hoops from Kenyotta Jenkins, Asleigh van Vliet and Ylenia Bonett for a 23-18 interval advantage.

Starlites could not lower the deficit in the third rubber despite some positive shots from Stephanie DeMartino as Hibs kept their cool and even extended their lead to a double-digit level, 40-28.

The Naxxar side managed to get at par after respective treys from Mikela Riolo and Christina Curmi but Hibs still kept pushing and an 11-2 run helped them to a five-point buffer going into game two.

The second game had different facets with both sides enjoying their respective good moments and even good leads.

Starlites opened a 24-14 lead early in the second quarter after a brace of hoops from their guards Riolo and the returning Michela Zammit Cordina.

But Hibs had their best moments in this game when they replied with a hefty 22-4 run to suddenly find themselves enjoying a 36-28 advantage at the half-time buzzer after a 25-point quarter from their end.

It was then Starlites who had a 25-point quarter after the interval so as to go into the final rubber just pipping 100-99 on aggregate.

All was to play for in the final ten minutes of the series.

A late seven-point streak, through free throws from Maria Bonett and a Riolo threeball, moved Starlites 69-56 ahead and the pressure was totally on Hibs now as time was running out.

The Paolites put in their final efforts but the Naxxar side kept their cool to win the series.

Game ONE

Hibernians 52
Starlites Naxxar 47
(8-14, 15-4, 17-13, 12-16)

Hibernians: E. Farrugia, J. Spiteri, Y. Bonett 13, A. Van Vliet 8, J. Abela, C. Camilleri, K. Jenkins 26, N. Farrugia, K. Caruana 5, K. Conti, J. Gauci, J. Dabic
Starlites: M. Zammit Cordina, M. Riolo 3, A. Saliba, S. Farrugia Tabone, M. Bonett 6, S. DeMartino 19, K. Portelli, A. Simmons 12, M. Fenech, C. Vella, S. Davies 2, C. Curmi 5.
Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Simic, F. Fabok.

Game TWO

Starlites Naxxar 73
Hibernians 60
(16-11, 12-25, 25-11, 25-13)

Starlites: M. Zammit Cordina 4, M. Riolo 11, A. Saliba, S. Farrugia Tabone, M. Bonett 16, S. DeMartino 18, K. Portelli, A. Simmons 17, M. Fenech, S. Davies 7, C. Curmi.
Hibernians: E. Farrugia, K. Conti, Y. Bonett 11, A. Van Vliet 9, J. Abela 10, C. Camilleri, K. Jenkins 25, N. Farrugia, K. Caruana 5, J. Spiteri, J. Gauci, J. Dabic.
Referees: I. Ciurariu, F. Ciurariu, F. Fabok.

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