Positive results for Under 16 National Teams

Tuesday, July 1, 2014, 23:00

The under 16 national teams both started their FIBA Europe Division C European Championship with victories. The girls team produces two fine displays in their opening matches and now lead the competition with 2 victories. In the first game, the Maltese National  Team obtained a comfortable victory against Gibraltar 66-22. The game had a slow start for the Maltese girls however a very strong performance in defence in the second quarter (21-4) saw them go ahead 35-10 at halftime. Sandro Farrugia’s girls continued their positive display during the rest of the game winning both remaining sessions 15-6 and 16-6 and won the game 66-22. Nicole Agius was Malta’s leading scorer with 15 points together with 12 from Sophie Abela who was also the best rebounder of the game with 8 rebounds.  In the second game Malta obtained another positive victory this time against Wales 60-38. The first quarter was a balanced affair with Malta taking the lead thanks to Nicole Agius’ three pointers. The second session was once again crucial especially on the defensive end of the court – 6-17 for Malta for a halftime score of 20-36. Wales showed a sign of comeback in the third period however three consecutive baskets near the end of the session saw the Maltese girls increasing the lead once again.  The fourth session was again in control of the Maltese girl for a final score of 60-38, Agius ended again as the top scorer of the game with 18 points and Noelene Vella has 12 points. Vella was also the best Maltese rebounder with 11 rebounds.  Malta’s next game will be against Andorra on Friday and against Scotland on Saturday.

 

The men’s team opened their championship with a close victory against Andorra 63-61. A strong third-quarter display led Malta to the victory in front of a sizeable crowd but their nerves were tested in the final minutes. Andorra opened a 10 point lead late in the second quarter, but Malta’s head coach Gabriele Alesse inspired his squad into action in the third period of this rollercoaster opener.

The Maltese defence cranked up the pressure and, after scoring the first basket of the period, the Andorran team was held without a field goal for the remainder of the quarter. Center Kurt Cassar was instrumental in spurring Malta into a nine-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. And when Paul Attard drained a three-pointer with six minutes remaining to extend Malta’s advantage to 19, the game looked to be over.  However Andorra came back late in the session and Gorka Repiso Bernabeu’s three-pointer with 30 seconds left brought Andorra within striking distance. But Malta survived as Alexis Bartolome Frases couldn’t add to his team-high 13 points on the final shot. Kurt Cassar ended with a game-high 21 points and added 16 rebounds , while Francesco Mifsud Bonnici contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists to the victory. Malta now face Wales on Wednesday and San Marino on Friday.





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