Pavi Depiro are the first team to book a place in the final of the women’s basketball league after eliminating Alyssa Ashley Loyola 2-0 in the best-of-three semi-final series. The other contender will be known tomorrow evening as Hibs forced a decisive third tie by beating Luxol on Sunday.
The final series gets underway on Sunday.
The odds were staked against Hibs to win the second game and level the series at one-all but in the end the Paolites succeeded in staying in contention. It seems that Luxol have lost some of their fine early-season form after the upset to Depiro in the Louis Borg Cup where they finished on the losing end despite opening a comfortable lead in the first leg. Hibs could not have hoped for a better start, racing into a 12-1 lead. Luxol stemmed the tide but their efforts were not enough as Hibs changed ends 21-14 ahead. Luxol’s reaction failed to materialise after the break with Hibs doing well to administer their lead and start the last ten minutes leading 39-28. The only good patch for Luxol in this match came at the start of the fourth quarter when 12 consecutive points saw them going in front for the first time – 40-39. Hibs, however, recovered and though they missed four free-throws, awarded following Luxol’s coach Christoff Stolp sending-off for protests, they held on to win the contest 46-42 and force a decider.
Depiro were never troubled in their semi-final series as Leticha Belcher and Steffi DeMartino potted 59 points between them to put an end to Loyola’s hopes. Depiro won the first quarter 22-17 and a 10-2 run in the opening minutes of the second session saw them extending their lead to 32-19. Loyola were never really in it as they went in for the interval 43-29 in arrears. After a balanced period, Loyola, with Brietta Thomas very much in the picture, had the best start to the final quarter. However, after reducing the gap to ten points, 63-53, they succumbed to Depiro’s reaction who profited from their op-ponents’ blunt performance from outside the arc to pull away to a comfortable 86-61 win.