Sunday, January 29, 2017
Manchester Magic booked their place at the National Trophy Final at the University of Hertfordshire on Sunday 19th February after beating Derby Trailblazers 84-69 at the Amaechi Basketball Centre on Sunday evening.
Playing their first home game of 2017, the Magic game out the blocks firing on all cylinders, scoring the first seven points unanswered. The visitors then started to find their feet, until half way through the period when the Magic went on 10-0 run, the home team ended the quarter up 27-13.
In the second quarter, the Magic continue to score with relative freedom, which gave coach Middleton the chance to introduce the younger players into the game. Magic went into the break 46-29.
Although it took both teams a full two minutes to score the first basket of the third stanza, the Magic decided to put on show for the crowd, with two dunks from Simon Anumba and one monster alley-op dunk from Duane Morgan, saw the Magic go into the final period up 63-45.
Magic controlled the tempo in the final quarter of the game, with Stefan Gill using his experience to run time off the clock to ensure Derby could not get back into the contest. The tactic worked, and the Magic forced the visitors into fouling for possession in the final minute of the game, this strategy did not work and Magic closed out the victory from the free-throw line, making 4 of 6 in the last minute and a half of the ball game.
Simon Anumba led the way with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists, with Duane Morgan closely behind him on 20 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks, while Stefan Gill chipped in with 17 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.
Magic will now face London Lituanica in the final on Sunday 19th February at the University of Hertfordshire at 3:00pm, as the Magic look to claim the three-peat of National Trophy titles. You can buy your online tickets via Basketball England's online shop here: https://www.basketballengland.co.uk/about-be/BE-Shop
Before that though the Magic have back-to-back home games next weekend, facing Leicester Warriors on Saturday 4th February at 6:30pm and Essex Leopards on Sunday 5th February at 4:00pm (and not the usual time for a Sunday game of 5:00pm).