Month: September 2017

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 continue pre-season winner roll with victory over Derby Trailbalzers

Mystics 1 U14 followed up their tournament success at Northampton with a fine all-round team performance to overcome a very capable, well-organised Derby Trailblazers 83-72 last Sunday.

With all 12 Mystics getting on court in the first quarter, it may well have been difficult to find ant rhythm. It wasn’t.

We won the opening 10 minutes 21-12 but Derby had sufficient talent to respond.

They upped their game and went on a potentially damaging 4-16 run as Mystics over-dribbled and started playing street ball. A time-out was called to offer advice as to how to stop this.

The players listened and reacted admirably enough to put together a 14-2 run of their own to go into the half-time break 39-30 ahead.

We then played some eye-catching up-tempo basketball to open up a 22 point lead at 65-43.

This meant key players could now be withdrawn and all 12 Mystics could end up having had meaningful court time (which each of them made good use of.) Thanks to all parents for their much-valued support.

Next up is a ‘friendly’ against Mystics 2 U16 at 1:00pm next Saturday followed by our opening league fixture on 14th October away to Sheffield Hatters.


Mystics 2 U14

Mystics 2 U14 Development squad doing well

The Mystics 2 U14 Development Squad competed in the Northants Tournament yesterday in a Round Robin:

Mystics 21 – 34 Southend

Mystics 12 – 19 Hounslow

Mystics 22 – 8 Northants 1

Mystics 20 – 6 Northants 2

U14 Mystics 2 U14 Squad: Carina, Elizandra, Tallulah, Maisie, Ruby, Emily, Izzy, Ndey, Saffron, Rae, Kady and Jouna.

All the girls got good court time, played very hard, including the mini-marvel, Kady (the wizard) and with great spirit. Many thanks to all the parents for their fantastic support.

We are on the way!

Basketball England

Magic and Mystics selected in England squads after U15 regionals

Congratulations to Manchester Magic’s Greg Wild, Jason Ani, Saul May, Ty Jordan and CeeJay Hanson as well as the Manchester Mystics trio of Rebecca Harwood-Bellis, Dalitso Okeke and Jade Mbam.

All eight have been selected for the initial England Under 15/16 squads following the Regional Development Tournaments last weekend.

They have been invited to attend a camp in December as part of the selection process for England’s U16 national programme.

Many of the players who are selected will then be considered for the Great Britain squads for the 2018 European Championships.

List of full squads can be found here

Manchester Magic logo

Magic run Phoenix close as Gittens Impresses on debut

Donte Gittens registered 16 points on his first start for Manchester Magic as they ended their pre-season campaign with a battling 82-92 home defeat to BBL side Cheshire Phoenix.

The 23-year-old American, who only arrived in England on Sunday morning, gelled well with his new team-mates, showing glimpses of the talents – in particular, his speed and athleticism – that are sure to excite fans over the next eight months.

The Magic, who open their season on Saturday with a National Trophy pool game at Lancashire Spinners at Castle Leisure Centre at 5:45pm, kept pace with the Phoenix for the most of the contest before the visitors took control in the final quarter.

Ryan Lewis had a productive game for the Magic, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Stefan Gill top-scored for the home side with 17 points, adding a very useful 8 assists.

Orlan Jackman and Malcolm Riley both ended the game with 19 points for the Phoenix, with former Newcastle Eagles star Jackman adding 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Magic finished with two wins and two defeats from pre-season, beating USA Select (58-55) and Boroughmuir Blaze (79-58) before hard-fought losses to BBL outfits the Sheffield Sharks (64-76) and the Phoenix.

HIGHLIGHTS | Check out some of the exciting plays from Magic’s final pre-season outing against Cheshire Phoenix #ManchesterBasketball — Manchester Magic (@Mcr_Magic) September 20, 2017

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 undefeated in 6-team pre-season tournament

The Mystics U14s had their first ever outing as a group last Saturday when they travelled down to Northampton to take part in a 6 team tournament organised by Northants Lightning.

The players were a real credit to the club both on and off court.

After an understandably jittery start in the opening game which saw us come from behind to sneak a 3 point win over Hounslow, Mystics settled down quickly and excellent team basketball resulted in very comfortable wins against Northants U13s, Southend, Northants U14s and Brentwood to end the day undefeated.

Mystics U14s next fixture is Sunday 24th September when they will go to Derby for a pre-season friendly.

Basketball England

North West U15 Boys finish 3rd and Girls 4th at the Regional Development Tournament

Manchester Magic had nine players and the Mystics three players on North West duty for the Under 15 Regional Development Tournament on the weekend of 16th/17th September.

Magic’s Jason Ani, Dylan Consterdine, Luke Gordos, Saul May, Noah Togo, Henry Lyth de Pee, Ty Jordan, Greg Wild and Ceejay Hanson were part of the 12-strong squad for the two-day event at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Belle Vue.

Keeping the team organised were Magic’s Suzanne Wild and Joanne Consterdine as Team Managers.

Mystics’ Lucy Bryan, Holly Bryan and Courtney Kenyon-Betts were part of the 12-strong squad for the two-day event at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Belle Vue.

Keeping the team organised was Mystics’ Joanne McLoughlin as Team Manager.

Saturday’s Results:

10:00 Boys 23 – 20 South East (Court 5) – Win

11:00 Girls 14 – 16 South West (Court 3) – Loss

14:00 Boys 50 – 28 North East (Court 3) – Win

15:00 Girls 32 – 28 East Midlands (Court 3) – Win

16:00 Boys 42 – 39* East (Court 5) – Win *after overtime

17:00 Girls 11 – 33 London (Court 5) – Loss

18:00 Boys 52 – 33 South (Court 4) – Win

Boys finished top of the pool

Girls finished 2nd in the pool following a 3-way tie in the pool

Sunday’s Results:

10:00 Boys 36 – 44 London (Court 3) – Loss

11:00 Girls 22 – 35 South East (Court 1) – Loss

13:00 Shooting Test Semi-Final North West Boys – Greg Wild

13:30 Boys 78 – 74 East Midlands (Court 1) 3rd/4th – North West U15 Boys finished in 3rd place

15:00 Girls 34 – 51 London (Court 1) 3rd/4th – North West U15 Girls finished in 4th place

Dominique Allen

Mystics welcome back WBBL Cup Final MVP Allen

Great Britain frontcourt star and 2017 WBBL Cup Final MVP Dominique Allen will be wearing the colours of Manchester Mystics again in 2017-18.

She joins fellow Brits Rheanne Bailey, Georgia Jones and Lauren Thomas-Johnson who have also been confirmed as returnees during recent days.

Allen had a brilliant first campaign in the WBBL and almost turned in a double-double season – one that was typified by being crowned MVP in Birmingham at the showpiece WBBL Final against Nottingham Wildcats.

“It is safe to say Dom had a break out year in her first season in the WBBL with some tremendous performances, but more importantly, she really seemed to enjoy her basketball and that was infectious on the others,” smiled Mystics Coach, Jeff Jones.

“She obviously had to carry the main load for us last year as far as our inside presence which she did extremely well. Our priority is getting her some help in that department which we are close to doing so.

“From our perspective, we will need Dom to continue to grow as a player and assume much more of a leadership role within the team structure. I am looking forward to continuing to develop her as a player.”

Meanwhile after confirming the backbone of his side are now signed up, Jones is ready to reveal further arrivals in coming weeks to keep Mystics competitive in what promises to be the best WBBL season yet.

He added: “Managing to keep the core of the team together from last year has been important and we need to have some players step up.

“After last year, they have demonstrated the desire to do that and I am looking forward to their development.

“We will be adding 3 to 4 new players to the roster over the next few weeks and we have 2 players that will be coming in in October due to other playing commitments, so they will have to hit the ground running.

“I think some teams have really stepped up their playing talent and the league will be extremely competitive, but we are looking forward to the challenge?,” concluded Jones.

Basketball England

Magic and Mystics selected in England squads after U17 Regionals

Congratulations to Magic’s Joshua Grant, Arinze Emeka-Anyakw, Mo Abushego and Daniel Gargan and Mystics’ Ashana Hinds, Chloe Andrew, Khia Lee  have been selected in the initial England Under 17/18 Boys and Girls Squads following the Under 17 Regional Development Tournaments.

This summer all GB youth national team performed well in the European Championships over the summer with two teams gaining promotion into Division A next season. Over 90% of the players and staff were from England talent pathway and we are looking for players who can continue this trend and compete with the best in Europe.

The camp due to take place in December will help the coaches to select players for U18 England National programme who will then be in consideration for the Great Britain U18 programmes and European Championships in 2018.

The National Development Programmes for U17 and U15 players will continue to operate in the English programme and will support the player’s development for international level.

List of full squads can be found here

Lauren Thomas-Johnson

Thomas-Johnson ready to fire Mystics to more glory

Lauren Thomas-Johnson is to suit up once again with Manchester Mystics and looks set to be a powerful force after recording an impressive return to the WBBL last season.

After coming back from maternity leave, the former Hatters star and GB international caught fire with Mystics, not only enjoying WBBL Cup silverware shortly after her re-integration, but finishing the season as one of the form players in the league.

“I am so excited to get back to it and keep the ball rolling from what I started last season when obviously I came into it part of the way through,” stated Thomas-Johnson

“It’s not been the easiest after becoming a mum in terms of getting back to where I wanted to be, but I have been working hard and I feel like I have now lost some of the weight that I needed to.

“I am ready to get back to the old Lauren and I think it is great that I can offer experience to the team along with some of the other players who are returning.”

The flexibility of Thomas-Johnson who can play multiple positions and her nice athleticism, smarts and scoring touch, are all massive positives that Mystics head coach Jeff Jones is only too happy to have back in the mix.

He declared: “Lauren came to the team in early January after the birth of her son and helped us with her experience and basketball IQ.

“Needless to say she had to adjust her game a bit, but I believe it helped her in certain ways not always relying on her athleticism.

“She has been working hard in the gym over the summer and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits on the floor this season.

“It will be tough for her juggling parenthood and playing, but I am more than confident she will be able to handle it and her experience will invaluable to us as a team,” stated the play-caller.

Thomas-Johnson made an immediate impact for Mystics last season by racking up more than 13 points and 6 boards per outing in the WBBL Championship

Georgia Jones

Great Britain playmaker Jones back to pull the strings for Mystics

Manchester Mystics will once again rely on the backcourt leadership of Georgia Jones after the Great Britain guard agreed to play a second season with her hometown club.

One of the leading stars of the WBBL, Jones had been a standout performer for a number of seasons with Leicester before transferring her talents to Mystics for 2016-17.

Since last summer’s move to the club, she has lit it up in a big way for Manchester, guiding them to the 2017 WBBL Cup and completing a memorable father-daughter success with head coach Jeff Jones.

“It feels great to be back in Manchester for another season,” said the guard.

“I think last year we surprised a few people, but this year people will be expecting more from us so we will be facing a different kind of challenge.

“Obviously the Cup Final win was a huge highlight for us last season, but our aim is to bring more trophies to Manchester this year. We have a great core group returning, along with a few new faces and the chemistry is already starting to build.”

She continued: “Every team seems to have strengthened their roster this year which is exciting and will only increase the overall standard of the league.

“As for our team, we are all just looking forward to getting the season underway and seeing what this years team is capable of.”

Meanwhile Coach Jones is thrilled to get his point guard back for another term.

“Georgia did what she has always done – she led the side and put any nepotism aside,” commented the play-caller.

“Her contribution to the team last year was vital to our success and she is one of the best point guards around.

“She played with the freedom she needed and was able to run the team on the floor exceptionally well.

“This season is going to be tough again in terms of minutes on the floor and if we are able to reduce that, then I believe her performances can get even better,” added the Coach.

Jones was included in the prestigious Molten WBBL Team of the Year for 2016-17 and led the WBBL Championship in assists with almost seven per game.