MYSTICS OUTMUSCLE TACTIX IN STORMING WIN

08 May 2019

The Northern Mystics produced a dominant second half to end The Good Oil Tactix slim hopes of making the Finals Series after posting a commanding 69-57 win in Auckland.

There was little to separate the two teams occupying the bottom two spots on the points table during an even first half but the Mystics showed their late season improvement with a compelling second half to register their third win of the season.

With youngsters Grace Nweke and Tayla Earle getting their first full games of the season, the Mystics showcased their future potential as the teenaged pair played key roles for the home side.

Competing gamely through the first half, the Tactix struggled to contain Nweke the longer the game progressed and could not score at the same rate or pace although Ellie Bird continued her strong form with an individual haul of 48 goals which included just two misses.

Long-limbed 17-year-old Avondale College shooter Nweke got her second start of the campaign, revelling in the occasion with 56 goals to her name, while Mystics captain Phoenix Karaka continued her integration back into active play after spending time on the side-lines with concussion.

Happy to retain their settled line-up of recent weeks, the Tactix made the most impressive of starts. Lofty shooter Bird continued her ever-growing status under the hoop, ably supported by Kate Beveridge, as the visitors pushed out to an early seven-goal advantage.

Long bombs into the respective shooters was a key ploy for both sides, the Tactix proving more proficient in the opening exchanges before a storming finish to the stanza by the home side had the scores all tied up at 16-all after an entertaining and high-scoring start.

Confident on the long shot, Beveridge continued to provide valuable support to Bird as the teams’ level-pegged on the resumption. However, pinpoint feeding into Nweke from Elisapeta Toeava and Earle helped the Mystics jump into the lead.

Tight and tense, the lead changed hands twice more with next to nothing separating the teams. The Mystics broke the stalemate on the stroke of halftime when taking a slim 31-30 lead into the main break.

The attacking nature of the game paid dividends for the Mystics through a momentum-changing third stanza. With their confidence growing, the home side unleashed a constant and consistent brand of free-flowing action, long passes from Bailey Mes, Toeava and Grace Kukutai landing in Nweke’s hands with ease.

With few opportunities on defence, strong hustling from the Mystics trio of Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Karaka and Erena Mikaere created turnover opportunities.

The flow of ball into Nweke proved almost unstoppable as the home side pushed into a position of control. The Tactix followed suit late in the quarter with some fine feeds into Bird but by then the damage had been done as the Mystics took a healthy 51-43 lead into the last break.