2016 – No magic for Big Cats
Levett Leopards become the latest side to fall to a dominant Manchester team who look certain to succeed the Big Cats as Division One champions as they went down 88-69 at the Amaechi Centre. Will Ashby and Courtney Van Beest led the way for the visitors with 13 points apiece, while Ladi Brown added 11 points and six rebounds.
A good defensive performance from captain Albert Margai limited Magic’s Ellis Cooper, who has picked up four MVP awards in his time in Manchester, to 15 points although he did add nine boards.
Brown opened the scoring with a trey before Van Bees made it 5-0 with a dunk off Tosin Oyelese’s assist, and Van Beest kept them ahead.But that was as good as it got for the visitors as S Anuba gave Magic their first lead of the game as the homes went on a 14-2 run before a Dougie Bennett trey followed by a Jamie Hayes dunk cut the deficit to 21-14 at the final break.
A tip-in from Hayes, who continues to improve every week made it a five point game and the Big Cats were still in touch with four first half minutes remaining before a 13-4 run gave Magic a 44-25 half-time lead.
Leopards went three second half minutes for the visitors to trouble the scorers as Oyelese cut the deficit to 50-27, but it took a trey from Ashby to reduce the arrears to 68-39 at the final break.
Ashby opened the fourth period scoring and the Big Cats did manage to outscore Magic 30-20 in the final quarter but it was too little, too late to prevent their sixth league loss of the campaign.