GALLANT York Eagles under-14s basketball team displayed how they have advanced even in defeat at national champions Manchester Magic.

The York ranks, who have already reached the end of season play-offs, lost 82-57. But considering the previous encounter ended in a loss by a 49-point margin, to almost halve that deficit was evidence of solid improvement, said coach Dave Smith.

The previous day Manchester had blown away by 46 points the Bradford team who are second in the league.

York's bid started positively with two early Rory Thompson baskets but once the hosts got going and York struggled, though a high point was two good fast break baskets from Ralph Hillhouse.

A late error marred an otherwise fine second quarter from York. But instead of trailing by just 11 points, the half-way stage had Manchester 19 points in credit.

The third quarter again started well for York, outscoring Manchester eight to six with Kiran Thapa bagging a neat two-pointer and it was to York’s credit that they not only kept pace with Manchester but actually won the last quarter by a point .

Milan Manandhar provided the moment of the match going one on one to the baseline before scoring from a power move, while the man of the match was Thompson, who not only top-scored with 20 points but also notched in each quarter.

Said Smith: "The Manchester team are tough and probably the best team in the country. So the York Eagles performance was overall very good.

"York never gave up, winning the last quarter and several players stepped up."