Caffe Moak Luxol 64
Starlites Naxxar 68

(11-13, 15-13, 18-15, 17-20 – 3-7)

The first game in this series was a nail-biting affair which was decided after overtime following a dramatic regular time finale and a ten-metre last-second Kirsty Galea pot forcing a tie.

Starlites, led by Patricia Arguello and Josephine Grima, had a sprightly start and enjoyed the lead first only for the champions to hit back with Stephanie Demartino, returning to the side after injury.

Starlites’ lead went up to 19-11 early in the second quarter but a 10-0 Luxol run led to a change in the lead although a Grima three-pointer brought both sides level at half-time, 26-26.

The third quarter had two distinct facets.

First it was Starlites who re-established their lead only for Luxol to have their say in the second part with a 12-2 break and further Demartino points then had them 44-41 ahead with ten minutes to go.

Starlites pushed forward again but Luxol regrouped and replied with a 9-0 run to jump back in front. The clock was running down and tension was high. Luxol seemed geared up for the win when Sarah Pace netted two free-throws – 61-58 with barely a second left.

Then, a desperate long pass to mid-court ended up in Galea’s hands and she turned and attempted a long distance shot which found the target off the glass.

Starlites were in seventh heaven and they extended their momentum to overtime where a Jean Doughty three-pointer proved to be the game winner.

Luxol: S. Pace 15, M. Mercieca 3, A. Munir 11, S. Demartino 28, K. Portelli, C. Sollami, P. Ellul 3, L. Caruana Montaldo, M. Darmanin, C. Curmi 4.

Starlites: K. Galea 11, J. Doughty 9, S. Farrugia 4, D. Revol, K. Pirotta 2, J. Micallef,  J. Grima 17, P. Arguello 17, E. Magrin, S. Davis 6, A. Lupo 2.

Referees: B. Vassallo, I. Marjanovic, M. Rajczi.

Gżira Athleta 50
Depiro 41

(8-12, 16-8, 14-12, 12-9)

Regular league leaders Gżira Athleta were off to a good start in the semi-final series after beating Depiro following a hard-fought match.

Led by Christina Grima and Amelia Simmons, Athleta upped their offensive play in the second quarter as they extended their lead to ten points, 32-22, half-way through the third quarter.

A time-out helped Depiro to regain their touch and a 7-0 run put them back in contention.

Simmons came to Athleta’s rescue at this stage with Depiro managing a Gabriella Mifsud trey before the quarter’s end for a 38-32 scoreline.

Brincat’s points put Depiro just a basket away but Athleta then notched eight points, including a Leanne Sciberras trey, to re-open a double digit lead – 46-36.

Depiro made a last-ditch effort but Athleta did not let victory slip from their grasp.

Athleta: M. Stefanovic, C. Grima 18, B. Zammit 3, L. Sciberras 4, A. Simmons 15,  D. Said Hollier 4, A. Borg, J. Schembri, S. Vella 6,

Depiro: A. Mifsud 2, G. Mifsud 6, M. Balzaraviciute, S. Brincat 10, M. Bonett 9, N. Agius, M. Scicluna, C. Schumacher 8, J. Xuereb, T. DeMartino 2, C. Ciantar 4.

Referees: G. Barbara, I. Simic, I. Marjanovic.

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