Magic hang on for win after fast start

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
The South Pac Magic rode a fast start to propel themselves to victory over the defending champions.

An 11-0 run to open their game proved too much for Varsity to overcome, as the Magic ran out 55-49 winners at the Edgar Centre on Tuesday.

It leaves the Magic the only unbeaten team remaining, two weeks into the new women’s club basketball season.

While Varsity hit back after their slow start, the deficit was just too much to completely close.

Southern Hoiho guard Millie Simpson was instrumental throughout.

She showed her ability to get to the hoop, but also how much her shooting game has grown, and was a regular threat from deep.

Her first three-pointer capped the 11-0 run, going on to lead the Magic with 15 points.

Caitlin O’Connell
Caitlin O’Connell
Sarah-Joy Aruwa was influential for the Magic, too. She had 11 points, while forward Fay Fualau chipped in with nine.

Caitlin O’Connell and Abby Harris both had 10 for Varsity. But this was a night that Varsity simply did not shoot the ball well enough. It struggled to connect from deep, or create a quality look inside, as it slumped to the deficit it never recovered from.

At the other end, the Magic bookended their opening run with three-pointers to Naomi Sopoaga (seven points) and Simpson.

Varsity called time-out at 11-0. They emerged a more aggressive team, driving to the hoop and finding their way to the foul line, igniting their scoring.

Guard Tyler Mitchell scored their first field goal, seven minutes into the game, before finishing through contact to propel Varsity back to 13-10.

But the Magic responded, going to the break with an 18-12 lead.

Simpson was influential at both ends early in the second quarter, stretching the lead back to double-digits.

However, Varsity put together a useful stretch to get back to 31-26 at halftime, before Sophie Adams finished from an offensive rebound to make it 31-29.

Simpson again stood up, hitting a long two and a three-pointer in quick succession, while Fualau added a triple of her own, taking Magic out to 39-29.

Varsity continued to linger, and got the score back to 49-46 late in the fourth quarter. But Aruwa found her way to the line from the high post, before Tia Pavihi (eight points) got to the hoop and effectively put the game out of reach with a minute left.

In the other game, Alexa Duff had 21 points and 11 rebounds in a dominant display, helping the Andy Bay Falcons to a 60-48 win over Ajax. Elise Gilbert had 20 for Ajax.

It was Falcons’ first win of the season, while Ajax remain without a win.