Manchester Mystics played host to West Bromwich Albion Basketball at the Amaechi Basketball Centre as both teams got their U18 Women’s North campaigns underway.
The Mancunians came flying out of the blocks, connecting on back to back three pointers as they sought to establish themselves early in the contest. Swarming defence helped Mystics open up an 11 point lead before their guests could respond. The Midlanders’ relief would be short lived, as the hosts continued to hunt in packs. With crisp ball movement keeping the Albion defence busy, Manchester entered the first quarter break riding a 27-5 advantage.
The second period would prove to be closer, as the Mystics’ scoring slowed down somewhat, combined with a slightly improved offensive showing from West Brom. Rebounding woes contributed to the hosts coughing up 9 points in the quarter as Albion battled gamely. The transition game offered generated much of the home scoring over the 10 minutes, as Manchester held a 31-point lead at the halftime buzzer.
The strength in depth of the Amaechi Centre outfit was plain to see in the third quarter as they rediscovered offensive rhythm, whilst continuing to spread the playing minutes throughout the roster. In the face of a couple of slick Albion plays, the Manchester defence maintained its intensity and focus to continue to make their guests labour for every point. The Black Country side matched their output from the previous quarter, but the hosts pushed the score out further with a strong 26-9 period.
Even as the game wound down, the effort levels of both teams remained as high as at any point during the game, with hustle plays being the tale of the quarter. West Brom refused to back down to their hosts, getting the better of the Mystics’ mobbing defence on a couple of occasions to remind them that only the final buzzer would end this battle. The scoreboard, however, failed to tell the tale of a well contested outing, Manchester prevailing 93-30 to kick the season off and drop a marker for how they mean to go forward.
Report by Mbongeni Greg Mpofu