Basketball playoffs tight in closing rounds

A tight playoff race is shaping ahead of the last four rounds of Dunedin club basketball.

The Mid City Magic - which moved to a 10-1 record with a 82-69 win over the St Kilda Saints - have clinched top spot.

However, trailing are the Saints and City Rise Bombers on six wins, the Andy Bay Falcons on five, and the Magic Lions on four, leaving the other three spots wide open.

The Bombers slumped to their fourth loss in six weeks on Saturday, when they were upset 70-59 by Varsity.

Coming off a 63-point thrashing from the Magic last week, Varsity made use of a strong start to beat a Bombers team missing key guard Olly Smith.

Logan Dicker was key, hitting seven three-pointers on the way to a game-high 25 points.

Varsity's big men also chipped in, Stan Muru the next highest scorer with 14 points.

It jumped out to a 20-10 lead and extended that to 38-26 at halftime.

Dicker hit three from long-range in the third quarter, allowing Varsity to again extend its lead by two, before holding on for a much-needed win.

Meanwhile, the Falcons claimed a 96-79 win over the Lions, who were without Junior Tall Black Nathan Hanna.

That gave the Falcons a one-game advantage in fourth-spot on the table and crucially gave them the 2-1 win in the head-to-head match-up between the sides - the qualifying tie-breaker if teams finish equal on points.

They looked to push the pace and got scoring from a range of players, making them hard to cover.

Emerson Watson top-scored with 18 points, ably assisted by Matt Stevenson and Hamish Robertson, both on 17, and Alex Murray who had 15.

A strong start helped the Falcons out to a 27-18 lead at the first break, and they carried that on to take a 52-37 lead to halftime.

They extended that to 78-53 at the end of the third quarter, and while the Lions launched a comeback to get within 13, the deficit was too much to overhaul.

Tai Porima-Flavell was the best for the Lions, top-scoring with 23 points.

In the early game the Magic claimed its most comfortable win over the Saints this season.

The Saints - who had both their Southland Sharks players available - battled well and trailed by just one at halftime.

However, the Magic finished stronger and Darcy Knox hit four fourth-quarter three-pointers to help the defending champions emerge victors.

Knox top-scored with 27 points, while Tinashe Matambanadzo had 19 points for St Kilda.

 

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