Gzira Athleta level the 2017 Finals Series
MAPFRE Women League
2017 Finals Series
Caffe Moak Luxol 45 Gzira Athleta 48
(18-9. 10-14, 13-11, 4-14)
Luxol: S. Pace 5, M. Mercieca 4, A. Munir, I. Baena Medina 6, S. DeMartino 20, K. Portelli, C. Sollami, P. Ellul 7, L. Caruana Montaldo, C. Curmi 3
Gzira Athleta: M. Stefanovic, C. Grima 29, B. Zammit, L. Sciberras 4, A. Simmons 6, D. Said Hollier 3, A. Borg 6, J. Schembri, A. Debenay, C. Mifsud
Referees: B. Vassallo, J. Mangani, I. Simic
The finals series is now tied at 1-1 after this Gzira Athleta’s success in game 2.
Gira Athleta produced a stunning late fightback to beat Caffe Moak Luxol and pull level after Game Two of the women’s play-off final series.
Caffe Moak Luxol were in front virtually throughout the whole game and looked set to take a two-game lead when they held a 45-37 advantage with only four minutes left.
But Gira refused to throw in the towel and produced a match-winning 11-0 run that stunned Santino Coppa ‘s team.
A Paula Ellul (94) trey set the violets off on a very positive early stretch and subsequent hoops from Stephanie De Martino (184-F-93) put Luxol 17-6 in the lead after just eight minutes and forcing Athleta to call an early time-out.
Luxol’s lead extended to a game maximum of 24-9 halfway in the second quarter with Athleta then managing a reaction through seven consecutive points from Christina Grima (175-G/F-89) and free throws from Amelia Simmons (181-F-87, college: Wilmington, DE), the latter incidentally only potting from the charity line in this game although she was instrumental in winning the offensive rebound game for her team as Athleta outnumbered their rivals 19-8 in such rebounds. The two finalists changed ends at 28-23.
The third quarter was a balanced affair with Athleta momentarily coming just a mere basket behind, 30-32, but Luxol, who again had to do without their import player Munir, closed the quarter again on a high note with a 9-4 run for a 41-34 scoreline.
Points were scarce in the first part of the last quarter until a Ina Baena Medina hoop followed by an Ellul transition basket put Luxol 45-37 in front but these resulted to be the only Luxol points in this last quarter.
A Grima trey followed by an and-one play by the same player opened the game wide. With Luxol failing to score, Athleta managed to jump to the lead with a Grima close range hoop in the last minute. Luxol turnover the ball and Grima sealed her team’s series equalising win with the game’s final points from the free throw line.
Game 3: Thursday 27th April 7.30pm
Game 4: Saturday 29th April 2.45pm
Game 5 (if needed): Monday 1st May 2.45pm