The Fortress proved not only to be a first-class facility for THE TICKET, but also an impressive home-court arena for Magic Gaming.
Showered with chants of “Let’s Go Magic” at tip off, Orlando jumped out to an early lead in front of its hometown crowd and never trailed in a 62-54 victory over Grizz Gaming on Thursday.
Brendan “Reizey” Hill continued to make his case for Rookie of the Year, erupting for a career-high 32 points to go along with seven assists in Magic Gaming’s first round victory.
“I don’t think it’s much of a campaign anymore, I think he’s won,” Magic Gaming Head Coach Jonah Edwards said. “He couldn’t have played any better.”
Cameron “KingCamRoyalty” Ford sealed the deal for Magic Gaming, delivering two clutch buckets down the stretch, including a corner triple with 56.4 seconds left and an emphatic slam with 26.4 ticks remaining.
“He’s huge for us,” Reizey explained. “He knew he had to step up in the fourth quarter and make plays. We have full faith in him to do that and that’s what he did.”
The contest had extra meaning for Magic shooting guard Brandon “ToXsiK” Raudenbush, who was recently acquired in a mid-season trade from Grizz Gaming in exchange for Mykel “KelMav” Wilson. While KelMav had critical comments of his former squad during a pregame broadcast interview, ToXsiK remained level headed and kept his team focused on the task at hand.
“I wasn’t going to make this about me, because it’s not about me, it’s about the Magic,” he explained. “The main goal is to keep winning, to win the tournament and that’s way beyond just me.”
ToXsiK continued to display the characteristics that made him such a desirable target for Orlando, including his leadership, selflessness and defensive tenacity – coming up with four steals.
“He’s just a second coach, he makes my job so easy,” Edwards added. “It’s such a blessing to have him around. He’s the most committed guy I know and a great leader.”
Full Sail’s technologically advanced 11,200-square-foot esports venue, the largest of its kind on a college campus in the U.S., was filled with fans of Magic Gaming and they made their presence felt early in the contest. Orlando jumped out to a 15-3 first-quarter lead behind the energy of its hometown crowd.
“In the two seasons (I’ve been in the league), I’ve maybe only had three fans in the building that have been supporting my team, this was a big difference,” Edwards said. “The fans, I can’t say enough, the turnout was awesome, the energy was awesome.”
All 21 teams are in Orlando for the single-elimination tournament, with the winner earning a spot in the playoffs.
“It’s beyond cool,” NBA 2K League Managing Director Brendan Donohue said. “This is our second year, and we’re in the tail end of our second year, and this is the most exciting day in the history of our league. This is an amazing (event).”
Magic Gaming’s TICKET journey will continue on Saturday when they play the winner of Heat Check Gaming and Blazer5 Gaming at a time TBD.