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A run on either side of the final break helped the Mid City Magic pull away to remain unbeaten.
The five-time defending champion rode a period of dominance to claim an 84-74 win over the City Rise Bombers in Dunedin men’s club basketball on Saturday.
The Bombers had the score at 52-48 midway through the third quarter, their star duo of Olly Smith (20 points) and Robbie Coman (22 points) having helped them close the gap just after halftime.
They remained in check at 59-53, before a 9-0 run from the Magic — which was missing key trio Nathan Hanna, Dallas Hartmann and Tai Porima-Flavell to the Tertiary 3x3 national championships — opened a 15-point margin.
It began as Magic guard Josh Reeves (22 points) hauled in an offensive rebound after a fast break, finishing on the second chance.
Jack Donnelly (15 points) chipped in with a three-pointer, before a hitting a pair of free throws, while lethal mid-range scorer Tim Kent-Royd (12 points) hit a floater to complete the game’s decisive run.
Smith got to the line at the other end to get the Bombers score going again.
He and Coman were key in reducing the deficit to 75-69 late in the fourth quarter, before a pair of Reeves triples off the dribble effectively quelled the comeback.
Earlier in the game Coman had been in foul trouble, although the Bombers stuck around in the first quarter.
The Magic opened a double-digit lead midway through second, leading 43-34 at halftime.
The win leaves the Magic unbeaten after three weeks, a record shared by the St Kilda Saints.
A monster second half helped the Saints pull away to a 118-74 win over the Magic Lions in the day’s early game.
Lawson Morris-Whyte led the Saints with 28 points, while Connor Coll added 22 and James Ross and Danyon Ashcroft had 17 each.
In the late game Varsity beat the St Kilda Bullets 64-57, the students snapping an 11-game regular season losing streak dating back one week shy of 12 months.
Ryan Pringle top-scored for Varsity with 19 points, as it pulled away with a late third-quarter run.
Micah Tupou at 18 points top-scored for the Bullets.