The Splice Construction Magic are still searching for their second win of the 2021 season, after going down 68-63 in a high-scoring encounter with the Northern Mystics last night.
Scores were tied 62-all in the round nine ANZ Premiership match between the two, with three minutes left on the clock, when a rapid three-goal run from the Mystics denied the Magic the chance to fight back in front of their home crowd in Hamilton.
A battle that was too close to call until the dying minutes, the lead see-sawed between the teams throughout, with the Magic holding a slight advantage until the final quarter, which they lost 16-11.
Magic captain Sam Winders was disheartened by the loss, saying she "honestly felt like we had control of that game, and that is the most disappointing thing, is to finish off like that".
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Pleasing signs were shown early by the Magic, some smooth shooting by goal attack Chiara Semple giving the home side a five-goal lead early in the first quarter.
Despite the Magic's success on the attack, the Mystics found their goal shoot Grace Nweke under the hoop with ease and drew the margin back to only two goals at the quarter break.
The Magic maintained the two-goal lead at halftime, thanks to the defensive efforts of Winders, Georgia Tong and Erena Mikaere whenever the Mystics threatened to close the two-goal margin.
Errors crept into the Magic's game in the second half and the composure of the Mystics sealed the deal, Nweke scoring the last two goals of the game.
The Hobbiton Cup was on the line, with the Magic relinquishing the trophy to the Mystics after winning the first two battles in 2018 and 2019.
For being within five goals, the Magic get the small consolation of a bonus point, but remain at the bottom of the ladder while the Mystics are only one point off the Stars, who sit at the top.
The Magic travel to Trafalgar Centre in Nelson to take on the Tactix next Monday night.