MAPFRE MSV Life Women
Gzira Athleta 50 Depiro 41
(8-12, 16-8, 14-12, 12-9)
Gzira 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
Regular league leaders Gzira Athleta got off with a good start in the semifinal series after beating Depiro after a hard fought match.
Depiro had the better start going quickly into the lead with points from import Carlee Schumacher and Maria Bonett. A quarter ending trey from Samantha Brincat had Depiro 12-8 ahead.
Led by Christina Grima and Amelia Simmons, Gzira Athleta improved their offensive play in the second quarter and late hoops helped to end the first half 24-20 in the lead. They even extended the lead to ten points, 32-22, half way in the third quarter after a Simmons close range basket.
A time out helped Depiro to resettle down and a 7-0 run put them back in contention.
Simmons came to Athleta’s rescue at this stage with three consecutive baskets with Depiro managing a Gabriella Mifsud trey before the quarter’s end and a 38-32 score line.
Brincat, with a brace of hoops, brought Depiro just a basket away but Gzira Athleta then had an important spurt as they notched eight important points, including a Leanne Sciberras trey, in the next four minutes to reopen a double digit lead, 46-36 and with time completely in their favour.
Depiro made a last ditch effort but Gzira Athleta did not let the game slip away.
Caffe Moak Luxol 64 Starlites Naxxar 68 (after overtime 61-61)
(11-13, 15-13, 18-15, 17-20, 3-7)
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
The first game in this series was a nail birting affair which was decided after a period of overtime after a dramatic finale in regular time with a ten metre last second shot off the backboard by Kirsty Galea forcing a tie for Starlites, with the latter then managing to even outscore the reigning champions in the five added minutes of play.
Starlites, led by their duo Patricia Arguello and Josephine Grima, had a sprightly start to the game and enjoyed the first lead only for Luxol to hit back with Stephanie Demartino, returning to the side after injury, immediately making her presence felt.
Starlites’ lead went up to 19-11 early in the second quarter but a 10-0 Luxol run later in the same quarter, with a trey from Sarah Pace and points from Demartino and Attirah Munir, led to a change in the lead although a Grima 3-pointer brought both sides at par at half time, 26-26.
The thrid quarter had two distinct facets. First it was Starlites who re-established their lead with a 9-0 run in the first part of the quarter only for Luxol to have their say in the second part of the quarter with a 12-2 break and further Demartino points then had them 44-41 ahead with ten minutes to go.
Similar to the third quarter, Starlites pushed forward again and treys from Arguello and Galea had them 53-48 ahead.
Luxol regrouped and replied with a 9-0 run to jump back infront. The clock was running down and Starlites did reply but Luxol seemd geared up for the win when Pace netted two late free throws, for 61-58, with only a bit more than a second left.
A desperate long pass to mid court then ended in Kirsty Galea’s hand and she turned and attempted a long distance shot which found the target off the glass which sent the Starlites’ clan and supporters in the seventh heaven while the Luxol players stood in bafflement.
When the overtime set off, Luxol twice had a marginal lead but a late Jean Doughty three pointer proved to be the game winner as Starlites opened a four point gap and tokk home the first rubber in this series.