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Image Courtesy - Kai Johnson

Team Solent Kestrels got their play-off campaign off to a successful start with a 95-65 victory over the Manchester Magic at the Solent Sport Complex, to book their place in the semi finals next weekend.


Isa Brandon top scored with 25 points, 8 rebounds whilst also tallying 7 steals as Russell Gariepy scored 19 points with 11 rebounds to record a double-double. Sean Mulhern put in an energetic display from the bench, pouring in 18 points including four 3-pointers.


The first quarter saw two very different plans of attack go against each other. The visitors quickly got their perimeter game started and found repeated success from beyond the three point line. The Kestrels focused instead on attacking the interior as Gariepy and Brandon both able to drive to the rim and find frequent finishes in the paint. The hosts were able to find more success with their method as the first quarter ended 28-17 in their favour.


Kestrels’ head coach Matt Guymon turned to his bench to help keep the lead his side had built. Mulhern hit two quick three-pointers to warn the Magic to not just focus on the interior defence they had struggled with in the first quarter. Manchester responded by drawing in fouls and punishing the Kestrels from the foul line, matching them point for point as the first half ended 51-40 to the home team.


The second half started and the Kestrels were the side to make the faster start. Will Taylor and Ashley Briggs both contributed points whilst Gariepy continued his scoring run. The tempo of the game had increased after the break and turnovers became more common from the visitors, giving the initiative to Solent as they stretched out a 76-47 lead.


The final quarter saw the point deficit grow too large to be overcome by Manchester. Despite a much more competitive showing than in the previous quarter, the duo of Mulhern and Brandon sparked attack after attack for the Kestrels until enough time had passed for the Magic to realise the comeback had slipped out of their hands. 

Kestrels will now face the #1 seed in the North division, Bristol Hurricanes, on the road next weekend, with day and time yet to be finalised, keep an eye on our social media platforms for all information.

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