Athleta’s Leanne Sciberras (right) reaches out for a rebound in the league match against Hibernians. Photo: Wally GaleaAthleta’s Leanne Sciberras (right) reaches out for a rebound in the league match against Hibernians. Photo: Wally Galea

Another two close matches characterised the women’s basketball league over the weekend with both outcomes somewhat identical, one team opening a considerable lead and the other side almost registering a complete turnaround in the score late on.

Depiro 59
Caffe Moak Luxol 62

(8-17, 18-19, 9-19, 24-7)

Ten minutes from time, Caffe Moak Luxol looked on their way to a fourth win in the national league as they had opened a considerable 55-35 lead.

However, the game erupted in the last quarter as Depiro clawed their way back to cancel the margin and re-open the issue. Indeed, they even had an opportunity to clinch victory.

An eight-point streak in Luxol’s favour heralded the start of the match with Stef Demartino scoring two treys. That break helped Luxol to close off the first quarter 17-8 ahead with both sides having respective points from Attirah Munir, for the champions, and Samantha Brincat, for Depiro.

The second quarter produced the most points as the two sides replied to each other’s efforts and Luxol changing ends with a double digit lead – 36-26 – although Depiro’s Carlee Schumacher was finally starting to find her shooting touch.

A 10-0 break helped Luxol to extend their lead in the third quarter and they looked totally in control at that juncture.

Yet, things changed dramatically in the last quarter as Schumacher started notching point after point and the margin between the two teams whittled down to just three points.

Luxol lost Demartino through injury but free-throws from Sarah Pace kept them in front as Depiro fumbled their last attempt to try and drag the match into overtime when in possession.

Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 4, H. Acreman, S. Brincat 5, M. Bonett 4, C. Camilleri, N. Agius 6, M. Scicluna, C. Schumacher 32, J. Xuereb, T. DeMartino 2, C. Ciantar 6.

Luxol: S. Pace 2, L. Caruana Montaldo, A. Munir 15, I. Baena Medina 12, N. Vella, S. DeMartino 25, K. Portelli, A. Calleja, P. Ellul 2, M. Darmanin, C. Curmi 6.

Referees: J. Mangani, Z. Dobro-savljevic.

Hibernians 65
Gżira Athleta 67

(19-20, 11-22, 11-16, 24-9)

As happened in the earlier game, Athleta had to dig deep to fend off a late rally from Hibernians to go top of the standings although playing a game more than nearest pursuers Luxol.

The first quarter was balanced with Christina Grima leading Athleta’s offensive ploys as Trudy Armstead was the main point-getter for Hibernians.

The Paola girls jumped ahead early in the second quarter after three-pointers from Silvia Gambino and Elena Cassar.

But Athleta’s reply was immediate as they embarked on a 15-0 run with Grima and Amelia Simmons well in evidence in offence.

After the change of ends, Athleta maintained their pace to extend the lead to 58-41.

Hibs were a transformed lot in the last ten minutes as they started getting closer, also buoyed by a 17-4 run. A couple of Simmons’s hoops helped Athleta maintain a slender lead but Armstead replied at the other end to set up a tense last minute.

Hibs held the last possession but resorted to a game-winning three-point attempt instead of feeding Armstead for possible overtime. The shot fell off the target and Athleta celebrated a hard-earned win.

Hibs: E. Cassar 12, S. Gambino 13, I. Agius, M. Said 5, K. Portanier Mifsud, N. Farrugia 3, T. Armstead 25, A. Marinkovic,  J. Scerri 7.

Athleta: C. Grima 27,  B. Zammit 3, S. Pisani, L. Sciberras 11, A. Simmons 23, D. Said Hollier, A. Borg 1, S. Vella 2, C. Mifsud.

Referees: Z. Dobrosavljevic, I. Marjanovic.

Gżira Athleta (4-2) 10; Caffe Moak Luxol (4-1) 9; Starlites (3-1) 7; Depiro (1-5) 7; Hibernians (1-4) 6.

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