You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
In the end, a Nuggets-laden Mid City Magic finished too strongly.
The Bombers, needing to win to remain a chance of making the top four of the Dunedin men’s club competition, were beaten 97-90 on Saturday.
They led virtually the entire way and it was only a fourth-quarter switch to a 2-3 zone from the Magic that brought about their undoing.
Matthew Bardsley (32 points) and Southland Shark Tom Cowie (22 points) were instrumental all day.
The Magic’s inability to guard either on the perimeter enabled them to penetrate and get to the hoop with ease.
Cowie also showed his ability to shoot from range, as the duo exposed the Magic’s star-studded team defensively.
Richie Rodger, who only played the first half, kept the Magic in the game early.
He had 17 points in that time and a late flurry from the Nuggets point guard helped the defending champion side draw back 44-43 at halftime.
However, Bardsley continued to cause chaos after the break and got to the hoop well to extend the Bombers’ lead.
But the Magic offence began to click into gear, too.
Josh Aitcheson (19 points) and Mitch Hughan (18 points) proved key in keeping the deficit to 73-71 at the end of the third quarter.
The Magic then switched to a zone defence, which limited Bardsley’s ability to get to the hoop.
Without star shooter Olly Smith, it was always going to be a tough ask for the Bombers when that switch was made.
The Magic took the lead early in the fourth quarter and held it until the end.
That secured the Magic Lions the final spot in the playoffs, which begin in two weeks time.
The Lions were beaten 83-71 by the Andy Bay Falcons on Saturday.
It was the Falcons’ sixth win in seven weeks, a dominant period late in the third quarter and early in the fourth proving key in it pulling away.
Matt Brien top-scored with 24 points for the Falcons, while Lions duo Nathan Hanna and Dallas Hartmann were typically classy, with 28 and 24 respectively.
In the late game, the St Kilda Saints claimed a comfortable 88-59 win over Varsity.
Lawson Morris-Whyte had 26 points for the Saints, and Te Awa Waaka hit eight three-pointers to lead Varsity with 29 points.