Grand fi­nal glory looms

HOPES FOR SUC­CESS AT NEW STA­DIUM

Pinjarra Murray Times - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Pike

THE Man­durah Magic women’s team is one win away from the SBL grand fi­nal for 2017 af­ter win­ning the open­ing game of its semi-fi­nal se­ries with the Lake­side Light­ning on Satur­day night.

THE Man­durah Magic women’s team is one win away from the State Bas­ket­ball League grand fi­nal for 2017 af­ter win­ning the open­ing game of its semi-fi­nal se­ries with the Lake­side Light­ning on Satur­day night.

Man­durah had ad­vanced to the semi fi­nals af­ter beat­ing the Perth Red­backs in the quar­ter fi­nals on the back of fin­ish­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son in sec­ond po­si­tion.

But Lake­side was al­ways set to be a sig­nif­i­cant test, hav­ing won its past eight matches com­ing into Satur­day night’s clash at Man­durah Aquatic and Recre­ation Cen­tre.

It was the open­ing con­test in the best of three-game se­ries and even though the Magic started brightly to lead by as much 13 points dur­ing the first quar­ter af­ter scor­ing 17 straight points, the Light­ning trailed by just a point at half-time.

The Magic, though, did well to pull away through the sec­ond half, outscor­ing the Light­ning 44 points to 35 to claim the 86-76 vic­tory.

Man­durah guard Nici Gil­day was out­stand­ing, fin­ish­ing with 32 points and five re­bounds, with Casey Mi­hovilovich pro­vid­ing great sup­port in the back court with 17 points.

Carly Boag was a strong pres­ence in­side for the Magic with 14 points, 18 re­bounds and four steals while Bree Klasz­torny racked up 12 points, seven boards and three as­sists. Rachel Halleen also did a good job de­fen­sively, lim­it­ing the im­pact of Lake­side su­per­star Ali Sch­wag­meyer.

Magic coach Randy Miegel en­joyed the chance to play some ex­cit­ing and win­ning bas­ket­ball at the re­de­vel­oped new sta­dium in Man­durah.

“One thing I spoke about ear­lier in the year was that I wanted to make sure we were suc­cess­ful in our new sta­dium to get bas­ket­ball in the news down in Man­durah,” Miegel said.

“It’s worked out well so I have been pretty happy with the re­sponse from the Man­durah pub­lic.”

Game 2 will be held on Fri­day night at Lake­side Recre­ation Cen­tre. If Man­durah wins it’s straight through to the grand fi­nal, but if Lake­side wins it’s back home for the Magic for the de­cider Satur­day night.

Pic­ture: Sports Im­agery Aus­tralia

Rachel Halleen in ac­tion.

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