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Fast-finishing Tactix clinch tight win over Magic

Fast-finishing Tactix clinch tight win over Magic


The Trident Homes Tactix moved into second place on the table after a storming second half helped the southerners clinch a tight 49-46 win over Avis Magic in Tauranga on Sunday.

The Magic made all the running in the first 30 minutes, turning with a three-goal lead at half-time before the Tactix overcame a slow start to find their full voice in commanding fashion.

The irresistible defensive pairing of Jane Watson and Karin Burger became more influential the further the game progressed while shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit was an equally strong contributor through her general play in directing the attack line and carrying an equal share of the scoring load.

Both ends of the Magic court were strong forces during the first half with captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Bailey Mes producing standout shooting performances while defenders Georgie Takarangi and Erena Mikaere put the squeeze on the Tactix shooters.

However, untimely lapses and the resurgent form of the Tactix left the home side fighting to stay in the contest in the run home, the Magic hanging on to pocket a crucial bonus point.

There were no surprises in the Magic starting seven, the resolute Claire Kersten getting the start at wing defence with Simmon Wilbore (wing attack) and Georgie Edgecombe (centre) making up the midcourt attack pairing.

For the Tactix, Paris Lokotui made her comeback to the elite level, from a serious knee injury, to slot in at wing defence after being named as the permanent replacement for Greer Sinclair, who has been ruled out for the season.

The international pairings in the circle were always going to be a feature of the match and in the first quarter it was the Magic duo of Mes and Ekenasio who held sway. The slick movement of the mobile pair and faultless shooting returns got the better of dynamic defensive duo of Watson and Burger.

In an impressive opening quarter, the Magic were efficient and productive on attack while constant defensive pressure where Takarangi and Mikaere picked up the spoils gave the home side a handy 15-10 lead at the first break.

Struggling to get their hands on much turnover ball, the momentum swung slightly during the second stanza with an improved Tactix getting themselves back into the contest.

A four-goal run provided the spark for the visitors with Watson and Burger flexing their collective defensive muscle while more impetus on attack, where goal attack Selby-Rickit excelled in the play-maker’s role, helped even up the game.

With both teams enjoying mini-runs, the Tactix trimmed the margin to just three when the Magic led 26-23 at the main break.

With a goal-for-goal start to the third stanza, the visitors eventually broke the deadlock. The constant hustle from Watson and Burger paid dividends, the Tactix consequently enjoying more ball in their hands as the intensity levels lifted.

Four goals on the trot helped the Tactix grab the momentum in a quarter they won by four goals, squaring the ledger before nudging into the lead.

That prompted changes from the Magic with the experienced Charlotte Elley coming off the bench to wing defence, Kersten moving to centre and Edgecombe to wing attack.

Reclaiming the lead, it was short-lived for the Magic as the Tactix headed into the last turn with a slim 37-36 lead, leaving the tight and intense contest hanging on a knife edge.