After defeating Magic, Ajax heads into semifinals in top spot

Ajax has claimed top seed for the Dunedin women’s club playoffs.

It will play Varsity in one of next week’s semifinals, while the South Pac Magic will face the Falcons Dandelions in the other.

That comes after Ajax edged the Magic 54-49 in the battle of the top two teams on Tuesday night.

Former Tall Fern Samara Gallaher, in her second game after a four-year break due to concussion, led Ajax with 14 points.

Gallaher was one of several high-level threats who have made the team hard to contain when at full strength.

Ajax led 20-13 at the end of the first quarter, a gap the Magic did not let get away, but one it could not quite close.

The Magic was missing several players, notably leading scorer Millie Simpson and former Tall Fern Lisa Wallbutton.

However, forward Letitia Mullaly stepped into the void and poured in 17 points of her own.

She scored 15 of the Magic’s 20 points through the middle of the game and helped close the gap to 37-32 at halftime.

But Gallaher kept the score ticking over in the third quarter, as did Ajax guard Hannah Matehaere (12 points).

They got the lead back to seven points at 48-41, before closing out the win in a low-scoring final quarter.

Varsity claimed the final semifinal spot with an 81-47 win over the Andy Bay Falcons.

The Falcons battled well early in the game and went to quarter-time down 23-17.

At that point, Varsity pulled away through dominant second and third quarters.

Tara Clement had 19 points for Varsity, splashing five three-pointers, while Grace Adams added 15 points.

Brittney Young top-scored for the Falcons with 13 points.

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