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Luxol’s third-quarter burst pushes them closer to women’s league title

Luxol's Sarah Pace (right) goes for the basket despite the challenge of Jasmine Abela. Photo: Wally Galea

Hibernians      46

Caffe Moak Luxol         60

(16-13, 8-10, 13-20, 9-17)

A mid-third quarter 10-0 Caffe Moak Luxol streak proved to be quite influential in the outcome of this third game of the best-of-five 2022 finals series.

From this point on to the final buzzer, Hibs tried their utmost to claw back into the game but Luxol managed to neutralise their rivals’ efforts and kept ahead to end up 2-1 ahead in the series.

The result placed immense pressure on Hibs for game four which will be played tomorrow as only through a win can the Paolites extend the finals series to the decisive game five on Sunday.

On the other hand, Luxol are fully aware that thanks to their back-to-back wins in Game Two and Three of this series, they are now only a win way from raising the 2022 championship trophy.

Having said all this, the outcome in this women league is extremely uncertain as both sides can easily end up winners given the unpredictability of the local women’s league.

Hibs set of on a very strong note in Game Three as they took a very early lead 14-7 with the experienced utility player Ashleigh van Vliet banging in two early three balls and centre Kenyotta Jenkins notching a brace of hoops after Ylenia Bonett’s initial bucket for the Paola-based side.

Luxol reopened the game after points from veteran players Palmira Marcal and Amanda Mercieca.

Then, after the two sides started the second quarter, buckets from Josephine Diaby and a Marcal trey forced the lead to, momentarily, change hands, 19-17.

Points off bencher Kirsty Caruana gave Hibs the upper edge again even if Luxol were all the time replying almost instantly until a late Samantha Brincat free throw put Hibs marginally 24-23 in the lead at the interval.

Once again, Bonett got the first basket of the half, this time from long range.

But Luxol had a positive patch in the next minutes as they moved to 38-31 ahead when they outscored their opponents in this stretch with guard Sarah Pace potting a brace of three pointers during this run.

Led by van Vliet, Hibs reduced a bit the deficit, but it was still Luxol having the upper edge with ten minutes to go at the start of the fourth and final quarter.

Despite points from under the basket from Kenyotta Jenkins, Hibs could not bring the game at par as Luxol had buckets from the Pace/Mercieca duo for 51-42.

Hibs made the final push and did score some buckets. But they were hit hard by a Diaby trey followed by a Marcal hoop which extended Luxol’s lead, albeit now very late in the game, to double digits.

Time was now in Luxol’s favour and they ascertained themselves of victory with late points off Mercieca and Paula Ellul.

Hibs: E. Farrugia, I. Agius, Y. Bonett 9, A. Van Vliet 15, S, Brincat 3, J. Abela, C. Camilleri, K. Jenkins 13, N. Farrugia, K. Caruana 6, K. Conti.

Luxol: L. Fenech Pace, V. Selvaggi, S. Pace 12, M. Mercieca 13, F. Camilleri, H. Galea, P. Marcal 15, A. Borg, P. Ellul 5, M. Camilleri, J. Diaby 12, A. Fenech Pace 3.

Referees:  B. Vassallo, D. Torok, Z. Cobrosavljevic.

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