- National Teams
Manchester Magic cruised towards their second piece of silverware this season after emphatically beating Leicester Warriors 88-48 in the National Trophy Final on Saturday.
American Ellis Cooper claimed the MVP award for the second time in as many finals after producing a near double-double performance of 16 points and 9 rebounds to help his side add to the National Cup success they enjoyed last month.
All but one player on the Magic roster got themselves on the scoresheet in what proved to be a routine victory in Leeds. The Warriors shot just 24% from the field and were led by Derek Knutty’s 11 points.
“I’m so pleased for the team,” said Manchester Head Coach Paul Middleton. “It was a different game to what we expected but credit has to go to our team. We started so well which made it difficult for Leicester to come back.
“They had a go and all credit to them but we were able to step up the intensity again and increase the gap. There’s something about this group of players and stepping up to big occasion games.
“They play a harder and are more determined so it’s now my job to carry that through to our league games because when we’re playing well we can beat anyone.”
Leicester had taken the lead with the opening score of the game, but Manchester went on a 10-0 run and never looked back. Middleton’s side held their opponents to just five opening quarter points as they built a commanding 27-5 advantage at the end of the first.
The lead continued to grow in the second with Manchester enjoying a 44-19 cushion as the teams headed into the locker rooms at half-time with Cooper already up to 13 points. After an even third quarter, Manchester delivered another hammer blow in the final quarter to take the winning margin to 40 points.
Image credit: Photomidgley