Log-jam for second place with three rounds to play

Three clubs are tied for second place with three rounds remaining in Dunedin club basketball.

The Andy Bay Falcons beat the St Kilda Saints 78-75 on Saturday to leave both on six wins.

The City Rise Bombers were edged 85-80 by the league-leading Mid City Magic to remain on six.

That leaves those four in the box seat for the top four spots, although the Magic Lions remain a chance on four wins.

A strong first half allowed the Falcons to claim their first win over the Saints since  2015. The side shot well from deep and attacked relentlessly in transition to pile points on early.

The Saints struggled to score, with key big man Connor Coll (27 points) in foul trouble.

Falcons guards Emerson Watson (20 points) and Hunter Kindley (15 points) were particularly prominent, while eight quick points from Paden Kennedy gave the side a 24-10 lead.

The Falcons continued to push the pace, although they were only able to extend the lead by two to 49-33 at halftime.

The Saints offence then began to click, Coll proving tough to stop on the offensive glass and Tinashe Matambanadzo (23 points) penetrating with ease.

That continued in the third quarter and when the Falcons lost key guard Hamish Robertson after he got an elbow to the head,  momentum swung.

The Saints came roaring back and edged in front midway through the fourth quarter as the Falcons’ offence stalled.

However, Watson, Kindley and Tyler Lapham all hit late three-pointers to put the Falcons back in front down the stretch.

In the late game the Magic led most of the way, but could never shake a dogged Bombers side.

The result took the Bombers to their fifth loss in six games, although the side is far better than that record would indicate.

Three of those losses have been by fewer than five points.

Josh Aitcheson was the key man with 31 points for the Magic, while James Scobie finished well around the hoop to score 16.

That duo helped them to a 24-18 lead, although the Bombers hit back to trail 45-42 at the half.

An even third quarter left things tight at the final break and despite the Bombers edging in front at one point, the Magic did enough to hold them off.

Olly Smith was instrumental for the Bombers with 27 points, while Matt Bardsley and Steve Robinson had 20 and 18 respectively.

Earlier Varsity thrashed the Magic Lions 91-45, Ben Ross leading the way with 33 points.

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