Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Mega Mart Magics and Linkup All Stars became the first teams to secure their place in the quarter-finals of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS)/ Hi-Lyte Southern Conference Division One basketball competition, following game two victories over Blazing Panthers and Portmore Blazers, respectively, at Edward Seaga Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
Magics registered an exciting 60-52 win over Blazers to win the series 2-0. Cleon Reese led the way for the Damion Richards-coached Magics, with a game-high 16 points and 12 rebounds. Reese got good support from Derrick Whyte (14 points) and Fabian Murray (12 points).
Gary Reid, with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Curtis Myers, with 10 points, were the main scorers for Blazers.
"We are feeling very good about our chances of winning this league," said Richards.
"We know that going forward, the teams are going to be a lot harder to beat. However, we are up for the challenge and so we are going to pull together as team and hopefully we can get it right for the remainder of the competition," he said.
Richards added: "We have been playing well because we have players who are stepping up and our guards have been taking care of the ball better than they did in the first round."
In the second game of the double-header, Linkup All Stars, who participated in the National Basketball League (NBL) two seasons ago, recorded an easy 74-59 victory over Panthers to win the series 2-0. All Stars won the series-opening match 65-52.
Phillips on fire
All Stars were led to their latest victory courtesy of Nico Phillips' game-high 35 points and 10 rebounds. He received solid support from Garfield Campbell, who added 11 points, as All Stars led 36-32 at half-time and 51-50 at the end of the third period.
Jermaine Paterson, with 15 points and Christopher Crawford, 10, were the main scorers for Panthers.
The competition continues today with North Street Heats and Aqua Youths squaring off in their deciding game three, at the same venue, starting at 7:30 p.m., while Upper Room Church will be aiming to close out their best-of-three series against Sky Legends, when both teams meet in game two, starting at 6 p.m.
Upper Room Church lead the series 1-0, following their 65-59 victory over Sky Legends in game one.