Article by Vlad Alava, Elevate Athlete Management
A THREE-point barrage and another vintage Casey Mihovilovich performance was enough to help the Mandurah Magic register a 81-65 victory over the visiting Rockingham Flames at the Mandurah Aquatic and Recreation Centre on Friday night.
The home team led at every change and were able sustain several Flames surges throughout the 40 minutes.
A tenacious start on defence saw a scrappy opening and the game took a perimeter-oriented approach early as both teams seemed to find it easier to score from distance in the opening passages of the contest.
Players from the two teams played it tough inside making the perimeter shot the preferred mode of scoring combining for four of the early baskets of the game from three-point range.
Three of those three-pointers were courtesy of Magic players and went along way to helping establish a 22-15 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw both teams looking to attack the rim with Janelle Adams for the visitors particularly effective in helping the Flames provide a different look offensively.
The game took an unfortunate twist with Magic captain Rachel Halleen going down with a knee injury in transition while defending Alex Ciabattoni after four minutes of the second quarter. The injury halted proceedings with Halleen leaving the game on a wheel chair and playing no further part as a result of what looked like a particularly serious injury.
Despite the loss of their leader and gun defender, the Magic rallied and with a plethora of three pointers from Carly Boag (two), Rachel Pettit (two) and Emma Klasztorny.
The home team increased the margin to nine points at the half, 45-36.
The tight defensive tussle of the contest saw only Milo in double digits with 10 points. The visitors had Darcee Garbin, Ciabattoni and Adams with seven apiece. The Magic bench also contributed 15 points to half-time.
The third quarter continued the tough nature of interior defense and the aggressive defense played by both teams forced the referees into the game. Despite an ever increasing number of fouls being called, it was still an entertaining contest with both teams exchanging baskets with the home team edging ahead 61-50 with one quarter to play.
The fourth quarter again had both teams matching basket for basket early with Magic’s Taylor Brown particularly effective in facilitating for her teammates while Ciabattoni and Garbin paced the Flames.
The two teams applied different strategies in search of a win with Mandurah pushing double teams inside on Garbin whenever possible while Rockingham tried zone to look for the win. Sadly for the visitors, 11 made three points attempts and a 26-11 bench points differential by the Magic ensured that the contest was tipped in favour for the home team on this occasion.
Top performers for the game were Mihovilovich and Brown with 20 and 16 points apiece for Mandurah while Garbin and Ciabattoni both finished with 18 points each to help the Flames cause.