St. James Hospital Shield – Men 1 Div.
Hibernians 56 Gzira Athleta 71
(4-18, 14-24, 14-21, 24-8)
Hibs: P. Attard 1, M. Matijevic , M. Hampton , L. Farrugia 12, S. Attard 6, I. Bonett 13, K. Caruana 7, R. Carabott 3, K. Sultana, S. Vella, F. Mariani 2, A. Lizaur 12
Athleta: M. Naudi 19, R. Vella 8, D. Camilleri 2, L. Stefanovic , P. Shoults 7, F. Mifsud Bonnici , B. Zammit 6, S. Vincic , M. Gauci Montaldo , J. Whitehead 29
Referees: B. Vassallo, T. Helenius, K. Dworniczak
In their first Shield outing, Gzira Athleta registered a comfortable win over Hibernians who, from their part, suffered their second defeat after a close 8 point loss to Floriana a week earlier. This means that now, the winners of Pool 1 will be determined from the forthcomign encounter between Gzira Athleta and Floriana.
Hibs were handicapped with the early loss of their foreign import player Fabrizio Mariani very early in the game whilst Gzira Athleta overwhelmed their opponents with a 14-0 run spread over seven minutes of play with their high scoring duo Josiah Whitehead and Michael Naudi sntaching most of the baskets.
With Hibs quite on the edgy part and also resorting to protests sanctioned with technical fouls, Gzira Athleta’s lead increased to 33-11 midway in the second quarter.
The game’s tempo did not change much in the next 13 minutes of play as Gzira registered their maximum lead, 59-26 and looked very much in command.
Hibs had their best moments in the final quarter as they had a number of long distance shots from Alavatro Lizaur, Luke Farrugia and Isaac Bonett to register a more decent scoreline.
Bupa Luxol 68 Cynergi Depiro 73
(12-11, 17-18, 14-29, 25-15)
Luxol: CJ Cordina 15, M. Mercieca 6, J. Willoughby 2, J. Maistre Melillo, JP Schembri 5, K. Dimech 5, W. Ahlberg , P. Cumpstone 31, S. Cappello 4
Depiro: J. Attard , D. Bugeja 21, R. Bonnici 20, D. Schembri 2, A. Aquilina 6, S. Zammit 9, T. Zammit 7, M. Mallia , A. Quiros , N. Grech , M. Borg , D. Scafidi 8
Referees: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, Z. Dobrosavljevic
Cynergi Depiro kicked off their Shield schedule with an important win over BUPA Luxol who were coming from a comfortable 82-51 victory over Starlites a week before.
After both sides changed ends with a tied scoreline, 29 a-piece, Depiro looked set for the victory when they had an eighteen point lead, 68-50 with only five minutes to fo. However Luxol made a late rally but ran out of time as Depiro held for a compact 5-point win.
Both sides neutralised each other in the first half as even though Depiro set off with a 10-2 run, mainly through Robert Bonnici’s points, in the early minutes, Luxol were quick to counter by means of their import Pierce Cumpstone and CJ Cordina and they even forged 19-13 in the lead after a JP Schembri 3-pointer. The latter had to leave the game shortly afterwards through injury. The first half ended with a Samuel Zammit long distance shot to help Depiro tie the score at 29-29.
Two treys by S. Zammit and Andrew Aquilina were instrumental in a 8-0 Depiro run late in the third quarter which was followed by a number of David Bugeja points so that it was a 15 point game, 58-43, ten minutes from time.
The game looked set in Depiro’s favour when Dominic Scafidi’s 3-pointer put his side 71-55 ahead with less than four minutes to go.
Yet Luxol made a late surge and had a 13-2 run which, however, fell short as time was in Depiro’s advantage.
St James Hospital Shield Division 2 Men
Mellieha Tritones Mr Green 64 – Gzira Athleta 77
(16-24, 14-17, 14-17, 20-19)
Mellieha: R. Polis 16, M. Farrugia 6, R. Loporto 11, J. Muscat, I. Terribile 5, B. Aquilina 4, D. Miani 9, E. Lupo 13, B. Soler.Gzira Athleta: M. Giusti 5, F. Mifsud 12, J. Wait 7, J. Aquilina, L. Stefanovic 3, M. Gauci Montaldo, D. Buhagiar, K. Thompson 45, C. Galea, S. Vincic 3, M. Cilia 2, K. Schembri.
Referees: E. Mangani, S. Micallef, Z. Dobrosavljevic
The first seasonal honour in the Men Division 2 category went to Gzira Athleta as they had superior shooting prowess than their opponents Mellieha in the Shiled final.
With the foreign import Kwame Thompson stealing the limelight and ending grabbing almost two-thirds of his side’s toal point tally, Gzira Athleta led from start to finish with Mellieha putting in a lot of effort to try and neutralise the deficit.
Five points by Thompson set the ball rolling for Gzira Athleta in the first minute and although Robert Loporto had three consecutive baskets for Mellieha, who were searchign for their third success in thsi competition, Gzira still kept the upper hand, aided also by a 9-2 run.
Although the gap momentarily came down to 5, 21-26, early in the second quarter, the winners again managed to distance themselves again to a double digit lead, 41-30 at the change of ends.
The third quarter was similar to the previous one with Gzira Athleta continuing to be accurate from the free throw line (they had 17 from 21) and with Francesco Mifsud Bonnici aiding Thompson in the grabbing of points.
The game was in Gzira athleta’s hand when they went 64-44 ahead with eight minutes to go although Mellieha did try to make it a more respectable scoreline with their forward Rihards Polis managing to notch up eight consecutive personal points in the final minutes.
MBA President Paul Sultana presented Gzira Athleta’s captain, Joshua Aquilina, with the winners’ trophy at the end of the final.
St James Hospital Women Shield
After beating Hibernians a week earlier, Starlites almost made it two in a row when they gave Depiro a very good ‘run for the money’ with only a mere 3 points separating the two sides in the bets women match last weekend.
The lead changed hands continuously throughout the match and finally a Samantha Brincat hoop and free throws from Maria Bonett and Shameeka Murray were helpful for Depiro.
Starlites’ final efforts, led by their dangerous duo Josephine Grima and Patricia Arguello, were then thwarted by Depiro, who thus opened their season with a win.
The other match resulted in a very comfortable win for Gzira Athleta over Hibernians who had only seven fit players for the game due to injuries including that of their import player Trudy Armstead.
Christina Grima and Amelia Simmons had a field day as Gzira Athleta made slight amends to their opening day close loss 52-56 to champions Luxol.
Depiro 60 – Starlites 57
(16-13, 12-12, 18-16, 14-16)
Depiro: A. Mifsud, G. Mifsud 4, N. Agius 2, S. Brincat 7, M. Bonett 16, C. Camilleri 2, S. Murphy 19, M. Scicluna 1, M. Micallef, M. Demartino 4, C. Ciantar 5.
Starlites: D. Agius 8, K. Galea, J. Doughty, S. Tabone 4, K. Pirotta 1, J. Micallef, J. Grima 26, P. Arguello 13, E. Magrin, S. Davies 5, A. Demanuele.
Referees: B. Vassallo, T. Helenius
Hibernians 35 – Gzira Athleta 74
(4-23, 13-19, 6-21, 12-11)
Hibs: E. Micallef, E. Cassar 10, N. Vella 6, I. Agius 4, K. Caruana 2, R. Vella, K. Portanier Mifsud 0, N. Farrugia 5, T. Armstead 0, J. Scerri 8.
Gzira Athleta: C. Grima 26, S. Pisani 2, L. Sciberras 2, A. Simmons 18, D. Said Hollier 2, A. Borg 6, S. Vella 8, E. Pace 5, C. Mifsud 5.
Referees: E. Mangani, G. Barbara