Luxol prevail in tense finale
Alyssa Ashley Loyola 53
(18-13, 15-9, 9-15, 12-16)
Luxol retained the women’s title after a dramatic win over Loyola in yesterday’s decisive fifth match from the final series. It was Luxol’s ninth success in the national championship.
This tie, once more, confirmed the equilibrium between these two teams this season. Bar the opening encounter from the best-of-five contest, the other four ties were all close.
Yesterday, several Luxol players were guilty of countless mistakes and the most relieved at the end of the match must have been Beverly Zammit who was also hit with a technical foul.
Luxol could not have hoped for a better start as they potted the first 12 points. A Dasarae Johnson basket put Loyola back on track even though Luxol retained a slight edge to win the first period 18-13.
Better attacking play saw Luxol surge 25-13 ahead. Their momentum was interrupted with Zammit and captain Mandy Scortino on their third fouls as Loyola, mainly through Abigail Sciberras, were now sharing the exchanges. Until half-time, Luxol led 33-22.
Loyola’s shooting left much to be desired as Luxol preserved their lead. However, Zammit’s technical foul spurred Loyola to raise their efforts. They started the last 10 minutes five points behind – 42-37.
Loyola went 45-44 in front with six minutes left. Excitement increased as both teams matched each other point for point.
Adelaide Bonanno and Emma Moore missed crucial free-throws and Luxol were able to regain the lead, Robin Murphy putting them 54-53 in front with 10 seconds left.
Loyola had possession but Christine Grima’s drive bounced off the ring and fell into Murphy’s hands, much to the delight of the Luxol supporters.
Luxol: S. Pace 4, M. Sciortino 11, C. Medina, B. Naudi 2, J. Busuttil Gaerty, G. Zarb 9, P. Ellul, R. Murphy 18, A. Paul, B. Zammit 10.
Loyola: E. Moore 2, C. Grima 16, J. Doughty 3, D. Holler, K. Tonna, A. Bonanno 4, J. Mangion 1, A. Sciberras 8, S.J. Barbara 3, D. Johnson 16.
Refs: G. Barbara, E. Mangani, A. Carbonaro.