St. James Hospital League Men Under 19 Final
Gzira Athleta 73 Starlites 62
(14-14, 20-20, 16-19, 23-9)
Gzira Athleta: R. Zammit, F. Mifsud Bonnici 13, J. Wait 13, L. Stefanovic 11, D. Desira, N. Xuereb 13, C. Schembri, S. Vincic 18, E. Sciberras
Starlites: M. Fabri , M. Azzopardi 17, M. Schembri, I. Felice Pace, M. Vella, I. Pace, A. Felice Pace 34, A. Vella Cardona, M. Scerri, Q. Bugeja 5, A. Xuereb 6, T. Grech
Referees:B. Vassallo, E. Mangani, I. Marjanovic
The under 19 men final was decided in the last quarter after that both finalists had kept head to head in the first three quarters.
Both the first and the second quarters ended with a tied score at 14-14 and 34-34 respectively.
Starlites were led by Alec Felice Pace who tried his best and grabbed a good tally of points even if closely marked throughout the game.
On the other hand, Gzira Athleta, who had beaten Starlites in the regular season, had a wider spread of players, most of which also featured well in the second division.
The final got off to a balanced start with Mirco Azzopardi notchign Starlites’ first hoops whilst Athleta replied through Nathan Xuereb, Julian Wait and Francesco Mifsud Bonnici.
Athleta did manage to open a good lead in the second quarter after treys from Luca Stefanovic and Stefan Vincic but Starlites quicky neutralized it with a 13-2 run with Felice Pace well in the midst of the action.
Similar to the second quarter, Gzira Athleta opened a small lead in the third quarter but Starlites came back strongly in the final moments of the same quarter and long distance shots from Azzopardi and Quinton Bugeja put them 53-50 ahead.
Both teams remiend head to head for the first half of the last quarter but then Gzira Athleta got some quick hoops from Xuereb and Wait to open a slender lead to which Starlites could not reply as Gzira continued to extend their lead.
MBA President Paul Sultana presented the championship trophy to Gzira Athleta’s captain Mifsud Bonnici amidst celebrations by the winning side.