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Aaron Roydhouse began the season like he had a point to prove.
The unwanted Otago Nugget did just that, too.
The Magic Lions forward dropped 40 points on 15-of-22 shooting, in a devastating display on the opening day of Dunedin men’s club basketball.
He almost single-handedly decimated the City Rise Bombers 71-66 on Saturday with the league’s first 40-point performance since 2019.
Roydhouse, who was injured for the majority of last season with the Nuggets, showed why he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2020.
He used his versatility to attack mismatches — taking the Bombers big men out to the perimeter and beating them to the hoop, while abusing the guards in the post.
Despite his dominance, the Lions were unable to pull away.
Young guard Maika Shortland showed his ability to both shoot and get to the hoop on debut.
While potentially over-shooting from deep, he hit three triples and racked up 23 points.
Guard Tom Davison chipped in with 14 in his return to the team, after spending a year in Auckland.
The scores was tight throughout and the Bombers led 21-19 early in the second.
Back-to-back Roydhouse baskets were followed by a Lachlan Stent three-pointer to give the Lions a 26-21 lead.
They extended that gap to six at halftime, before Davison sparked a run midway through the third quarter to give the Bombers a 51-50 lead at the final break.
Roydhouse went on a tear to put the Magic up 56-51.
While the Bombers hit back to tie the scores at 66-66, Roydhouse got to the line to give the Lions a late lead they would not relinquish.
The St Kilda Saints rode a 22-point display from Southland Sharks forward Connor Coll to beat the Andy Bay Falcons 70-62.
The Saints shot out to an 8-0 lead, but the Falcons rallied to get back to 14-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Matt Pyper (20 points) helped spark the Falcons through the second quarter, although the Saints remained ahead 33-30 at halftime.
That ballooned out to 43-32 midway through the third, as Saints backcourt duo James Ross and Mike Ruske began firing.
However, the Falcons hit back once more when Ross picked up his fourth foul.
The score remained close through to the end, but the Saints held their narrow lead.
In the early game, a rusty display from the Mid City Magic toppled Varsity 65-54.
Dallas Hartmann had 19 points for the Magic, while Tom Oldham top-scored with 18 for Varsity.