This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Hawthorn Magic’s only senior championship, when our men took out the Division 1 Men’s title in 2007.
After years of playing in the Melbourne Metropolitan Basketball League (MMBL), the Hawthorn Magic joined the Victorian Basketball League (VBL – now known as Bigv) in 2002. After enjoying a solid first few seasons in the VBL, it was the introduction of head coach Glenn Rees in 2005 that saw the Magic take their play to the next level. In each of his first two seasons, Rees led the Magic to the Division 1 grand final series. However on each occasion, they fell agonisingly short at the last hurdle.
Going into the 2007 season, the Magic were hoping that it’d be third time lucky. The regular season saw the Magic finish with a 13-7 record, which had them seeded 3rd in the finals but they would have to do it the hard way without home-court advantage if they were to win their first championship.
The Southern Peninsula Sharks were the first obstacle in the post season for the Magic. In game 1 at BSC, big men Seb Belfrage and Steve Carter led the Magic to a 1-0 series lead, combining for 38 points and 24 rebounds. However, they were comprehensively defeated by 28 points on the road in game 2 as the Sharks levelled the series at 1-1. In the deciding game 3 on the road, the Magic were superbly led by co-captains Jay Allen and Boyd Smart who scored 23 and 20 respectively to lead the Magic back into the grand final series for the third straight year.
Waiting for the Magic in the grand final series were minor premiers Mildura Heat (18-2). In front of a packed-out BSC, 25 points from Allen led the Magic to a 1-0 series lead and gave them a lot of confidence heading into the mother of all road trips to Mildura. A red-hot start by the Magic in game 2 had them up 11-0 and on track to finish off the Heat and claim their first championship. However, Mildura chipped away at the lead and eventually levelled the series in what was a heartbreaking and confidence shattering loss for the Magic. The Magic put up a brave performance in game 3 but found themselves with their backs against the wall early in the fourth quarter as the Heat took control at home. Coach Rees called upon a young Brenton Lenaghan who hadn’t as yet hit the court in the grand final series and Lenaghan sparked the Magic with a quick 7 points to get them back into the game. The game went right down to the wire but a clutch basket from Smart and two clutch free throws from Allen iced the game (89-86) and the championship for the Magic. Allen was named grand final MVP with a combined total of 71 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 4 steals for the series.
Several more successful seasons in Division 1 paved the way and culminated in Hawthorn’s promotion in 2014 to the State Championship Men (SCM) division of the BigV, the highest level in the state and the level our men are competing at currently.
To commemorate the 10 year anniversary of our championship, a testimonial intra-team match will be played at 5:30pm on Saturday July 15th where the members of the 2007 Division 1 championship winning team will dust off their sneakers and see if they’ve still got it. The match will be followed by our current men’s team taking on the McKinnon Cougars in their round 16 SCM match. Come along to BSC for a night of fun, to commemorate our 2007 championship players and support our current men’s team. Entry is free to those who arrive prior to half-time of the testimonial match, $5 after that point but as always, entry is free for kids in Magic or HBA domestic club uniform.