Month: November 2017

Lina Asobirionwu

Loreto’s Asobirionwu name WEABL Player of the Week

Loreto College and Manchester Mystics’ Lina Asobirionwu has been named as the latest Player of the Week in the WEABL after an impressive performance for Loreto Mystics Basketball Academy in Week 4.

The 2000-born forward put up 32 points along with 21 rebounds and seven steals to lead her side to a 95-55 victory over Moulton.

“Thank you team,” Asobirionwu declared. “It’s a team award and I am really happy for our whole team and the win that was the most important on the day.

“Also, I would like to thank our coach Ollie, who always tries to motivate us and take the best out of us as young student-athletes.”

Head Coach Aurimas Ollie Verbukas added: “Lina has approached this game in a very professional manner at practice in preparation and executed well during the game.

“She is not just a good basketball player, but also a good character on and off the floor. I am and all the team and are very proud of her and this reward is more than deserved.”

Loreto return to action with a road trip to Nottingham this Wednesday.

(source: WEABL)

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 take win over talented Hatfield Fliers

During my frustrating 2 and a half hour 60 mile journey to our home game against Hatfield Fliers, arriving 5 minutes before tip-off to find all of my pre-game jobs/routines all covered perfectly, it struck me that I am in the privileged position of being around two wonderful teams- players and parents. Thank you so much James, Jim, Sam, Carys and anyone else who contributed to ensuring the game went ahead on time. Having arrived at the ABC like 3 of Snow White’s dwarves- Grumpy, Anxious and Stressed- I firmly believe my negative state of mind didn’t help our players during the first quarter. Hatfield’s side is virtually the same one that performed well as a largely under-age group last season. The experience they gained would make them a hard nut to crack. It appeared even harder when they used their length and ability off the dribble to cause us huge problems for the opening 10 minutes, scoring a staggering 24 points.

Defensively, we had performed as effectively as wet sellotape but, fortunately, had been good enough offensively to keep in touch with 19 points of our own, thanks largely to the skill of Charli Wroe, Nia Molloy and Kizzi Spence. Up to now my contribution had been as worthless as Monopoly money and we all needed to pull our socks up. 

Hatfield’s excellent guard, A Racjan opened the scoring very early in the second period to make it 19-26 and many teams at this level would have lost belief. It takes mental strength and togetherness to turn things round against talented opponents. I am pleased to say that this Mystics U14 team has both attributes in abundance. Defensive adjustments and greater focus henceforth resulted in a huge improvement in all aspects of the team display. An almost faultless 9 minutes of team basketball deservedly manifested itself in an eye-catching 22-6 run with Olivia Forster, now at her best, accompanying the unstoppable Charli and the all-action Nia in their quest to make up for our under-par beginning. Credit must also go to Esher Nayar for the superb defensive job she did to limit the problems A Swift had previously caused us. (Swift by name and Swift by nature!) The ever-reliable duo of Lily Hayes and Daisy Bryan (shame we haven’t also got any players named Rose or Poppy because I could then label them as a fine bunch!) were equally instrumental in repelling Hatfield’s offensive weapons so that by half-time we had transformed a 7 point deficit into a 9 point lead in a mere 9 minutes, an outstanding team performance, particularly when one considers that 9 Mystics, including 6 under-age players, had so far seen court time. (Not for crimes committed!)

Our dominance continued throughout the third period. Zara Mesada-Tate and Lia Vourliotis came off the bench to perform with real energy and intent. Jo and Eleni Vourliotis, between them, gave us rebounding strength, an ability to move the ball quickly and accurately and a scoring threat. Everybody else, except the injured Daisy and the absent |Emily Wood, also played their part in helping us to extend our lead by a further 12 points to a very comfortable 65-44 going into the final stanza.

Mid-way through the fourth, more fluent offense and determined defence had given us an unassailable 31 point lead at 77-46 to cap a phenomenal 58-20 run against one of the leading sides in the Northern Conference. This prompted regular and multiple substitutions which understandably impacted on our rhythm, allowing our gallant opponents, who kept going right to the end, to take advantage, making the final score somewhat more respectable at 82-57.

Sincere thanks to all for your help and support, including the fabulous post-game banquet! Next up, Mystics II 9th December now at 3:30pm not 1:00pm.


Manchester Magic and Mystics Referees

One venue, four courses, 24 Level 1 qualified referees

One venue, four courses, 24 Level 1 qualified referees.

It’s been a successful year at the Amaechi Basketball Centre.

Under the expert guidance of Rick Dell, our referees manager, we have made it a priority to develop the next generation of referees.

And Rick’s hard work is paying off.

We ran Level 1 courses in March, May, August and November.

We also ran two Level 2 courses, which have so far resulted in seven qualified officials, six of whom have already taken charge of junior games in the National League.

Most of them are also officiating in the Junior Community Leagues on Friday evenings at the ABC.

Rick has also helped run a Level 3 course and plans to run another Level 2 one on 4-5 January, ensuring we start 2018 as we finished 2017.

“This has been a very busy and exciting time for referees and refereeing at the Amaechi Basketball Centre,” said Rick.

“It’s been a positive change for basketball in the area and we now have a group of teenage referees who are developing very quickly.

“Some of these young referees have shown great potential and I look forward to seeing their future progress.”

For more information about the two-day Level 2 course at the ABC on 4-5 January, contact Rick at or on 07803241172.

Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 claim victory in War of the Roses

Our visitors for last Saturday’s War of the Roses (red is so much more colourful than white!), Leeds had made a promising start to the season, beating a strong Hatfield side and pushing league leaders Sheffield all the way. We expected a tough contest and for large portions of the game we got it. For the first quarter and nine minutes of the second, not even Psychic Sally would have dared to predict the outcome. We led 37-29 but Leeds had shown that they possessed several talented offensive players. Our defensive match-ups would need tweaking, as would our help defence.

Up to now, we had performed competently offensively, generally doing the simple things well. A 6-0 run in the final minute of the second period then pushed the lead to 14 by half-time and seemingly did wonders for our young team’s confidence- 8/13 are young enough to compete at this level next season- after the interval. Throughout the third period, Leeds relied largely on a barrage of 3 pointers of varying accuracy and power in an attempt to get back on terms. Mystics approach was kinder on the backboards and less spectacular but far more productive. Eye-catching team offense, full of good decision making and ball sharing, highlighted by effective use of the extra pass to create higher percentage shots resulted in a staggering 33 points over the next 10 minutes with all 11 available Mystics-  the unlucky Eleni is injured again- again making meaningful contributions. 

Now a comfortable 35 points to the good, it was an ideal opportunity to use the whole of the fourth quarter to share court time more equitably. It was used well by everyone in a genuinely excellent, thoroughly enjoyable all-round team performance. The final score of 94-57 was as deserved as it was surprising, given the strength of the opposition. Our 4 most experienced players, Charli Wroe, Olivia Forster, Lily Hayes and Kizzi Spence led from the front, taking it in turns to go on scoring spurts. Additionally, praise for outstanding defensive displays should go to Olivia and Charli. Nia Molloy, Daisy Bryan and Emily Wood all seem to improve with every game and each of them made valuable contributions on the scoring front once more. The dependable quartet of Jo Vourliotis, Lia Vourliotis, Esha Nayar and Zara Masadah-Tate stood out for their defensive displays, particularly on the rebounding front. They, too, are progressing at every turn. 

Many thanks to Sam, Carys, Kayun and Jim for all you did and to all parents and friends for you support. Sadly, no game next week. Next up, Hayfield at home on Sunday 26th Nov. Tip 12:30pm.


Manchester Mystics

Mystics U14 record emphatic victory over local-rivals Lancashire Spinners

In just our third Northern Conference fixture so far, as well as being a group who would be hard to beat at Scrabble (check out the surnames!), Mystics U14 1 showed great togetherness and teamwork to record an emphatic 98-29 victory over a battling Lancashire Spinners last Sunday. The bulk of the scoring was done by the game’s outstanding player, Olivia Forster, who, amazingly, still has another year at this level. Olivia was ably backed up by the supremely athletic Kizzy Spence and the pocket dynamo Nia Molloy. More gratifyingly, all 12 Mystics registered points, including an impressive late flurry from Lia Vourliotis and Zara Masadeh-Tate.

Disappointingly, Charli Wroe’s contribution was drastically curtailed by illness so point guard duties were shared for the most part by Lily Hayes and Daisy Bryant. Both again demonstrated their ability to play with poise and intelligence, making sound decisions throughout.

Spinners deserve mention for the part they played in a game conducted in excellent spirit. Their tall centre, R Smith caused us problems in the first half at high post but this Mystics side is full of bright athletes who are keen to learn and improve. Despite giving up several inches in height (and even more centimetres!), Esha Nayar and Emily Wood responded to advice and defended with enormous resolve in a controlled, efficient manner after the interval.

Eleni Vourliotis had been out of action due to a netball- related injury(!) but she more than made up for lost time with an eye-catching display. She combined expertly with her ever-improving cousin, Jo whenever they were on court together and her passing was a pleasure to behold. All in all, it was a delight to watch this young team share the ball and do the simplest thing to get the job done.

Thanks to James for his words of wisdom (fortunately not of the Norman variety) and to messrs. Forster and Nayar plus mesdames Forster and Vourliotis for their help as well as the much-appreciated family and friend support which we will need in our next game this Saturday against Leeds at 1:00pm.


Magic BBL Trophy

Magic face a trip to Yorkshire to face Sheffield Sharks in BBL Trophy

Manchester Magic have been drawn away against DBL Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Trophy.

The Sharks, currently second in the BBL table, came to the Amaechi Basketball Centre for a pre-season friendly, eventually winning 76-64.

The Magic will head to the EIS Sheffield in mid-December to match-up with them again, this time in competitive action. 

We’ll update you to the exact date and time the game will take place as soon as we know.

Samantha Roscoe

Mystics go big with signing of University of North Dakota Forward Roscoe

Manchester Mystics have added Australian/British forward Samantha Roscoe for the remainder of the 2017-18 WBBL season and she will make her debut this weekend.

Graduating from the University of North Dakota earlier this year, she averaged a double-digit scoring return during her senior year with more than 10 points per game, as well as 5 rebounds per outing. Roscoe has also played recently in Australia with Lakeside Lightning.

“She has only been here a few days, but has settled straight in and we are very excited to have added Samantha to our roster,” enthused Mystics’ play-caller Jeff Jones.

“She brings us some real size at 6ft 3in tall and she will really help us and especially Dom [Allen] in the paint.

“A highly skilled player, Samantha also has a strong basketball IQ and when you take the whole package she offers into account, we are confident she will be a major asset for us and the league.

“We are looking forward to her making her debut this Saturday,” added Jones.

Mystics face BA London Lions at the National Basketball Performance Centre in a 3pm tip-off.

By the way, she’s famous for making this shot:

Manchester Magic logo

Magic await BBL Trophy fate

Manchester Magic will be challenging the big guns of the BBL this season after entering the BBL Trophy.

And Paul Middleton’s National League Division One side won’t have long to wait before learning who their first-round opponents will be.

The draw takes place at 6pm on Friday (3rd November) and will be streamed live on the BBL Facebook page.

Any chance of a home draw against Manchester Giants?

England Commonwealth Games 2018

Mystics’ Jones and Allen in England squad for Commonwealth Games squad

England Head Coach Jose Buceta has named his 23 strong long list of potential players as the 2018 Commonwealth Games edge ever closer. Mystics’ Georgia Jones and Dominique Allen have both made the list; the pair are also in the Great Britain Squad that play at the Mystics’ base (at the National Basketball Performance Centre) on Saturday 11th Novermber against Israel.

The basketball tournament at the Commonwealth Games gets underway on 5th April 2018 with 16 teams competing across the Men’s and Women’s competitions. In total 192 players will be selected from 11 different nations and Team England’s Women begin their Commonwealth Games campaign on 6 April 2018 against Canada before further games against Mozambique and Australia.

Full Squad can be found here

Mystics logo

Mystics’ Jones and Allen make WBBL Stat Stars for October

Manchester Mystics’ Georgia Jones and Dominique Allen make the WBBL Stat Stars list for the month of October.

WBBL Stats Stars for October
Mystics’ @gljones4
22ppg (3rd) 6.3apg (joint 1st) 90.9% ft% (1st) #Molton WBBL Player of the Month — Manchester Mystics (@Mcr_Mystics) November 2, 2017

Jones averaged 22 points per game (3rd) dished out a 6.3 assists per game (joint 1st) and led the league in free-throw percentage with 90.9% from the charity stripe over the course of the month of October, to earn Molton Player of the month

WBBL Stats Stars for October
Mystics’ @dom_allen12
66.7% FG% (1st) — Manchester Mystics (@Mcr_Mystics) November 2, 2017

Allen shot a league leading 66.72% from the field.