ROUND 1 of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) got underway on Friday night with the Under 16s action front and centre. With 20 teams competing in each age range there was no shortage of close encounters and impressive performances as teams looked to kick their season off in style with a big win.
Arguably the game of the round was between Casey and Diamond Valley as the two sides could not be separated, ending the game on 61 points apiece. It was a heart in your mouth kind of game with the contest going right down to the wire as both sides contested each and every pass.
After getting the jump on them in the opening term, the Eagles fought their way back into the contest in a showing of grit and determination. Casey opened up an early 12-point buffer, nullifying the influence of the Eagles and did not look like giving it up. They got out to 13 points at half time with Diamond Valley staring down the barrel of their first loss, before they flipped the switch in the second half with their intensity increasing and subsequently translating onto the scoreboard.
It was a completely different game after half time with Diamond Valley playing with a newfound confidence to attack the basket and push Casey onto the back foot. They pegged back the margin from 13 points to eight heading into the final change before a blockbuster finish really stole the show. Piling on a whopping 21 points to 13 in the final quarter the Eagles did enough to secure a draw, proving they can never be discounted.
Axel Wicklein was the number one scorer for the Eagles producing a game-high 19 points and proving to be a real threat helping to inspire his sides comeback. He was ably assisted by Ben Shinkfield who knocked back eight points, with William Dean also chiming in with seven points of his own. Six other players managed to hit the scoreboard for the Eagles showcasing the number of viable options Diamond Valley had. On the flip side, Casey were led by a trio of players as Callum McDonald impressed thanks to his 16 points and zero fouls. Teammates Jye Horn and Truman Byrne slotted 10 points apiece as Sebastian van den Brink produced a handy nine points but it was not enough to push his side over the line.
In other results, Knox managed a win over Frankston, Hawthorn secured the points against Nunawading while Latrobe and Melbourne also kicked off their seasons in style.
Casey (61) drew with Diamond Valley (61)
Frankston (46) defeated by Knox (58)
Nunawading (55) defeated by Hawthorn (75)
Latrobe (94) defeated McKinnon (82)
Waverley (61) defeated by Melbourne (94)
Bulleen started their campaign in style with a five-point win over Keilor on Friday (53-48). It was an exciting match between the two sides with both Bulleen and Keilor not willing to take a backwards step.
It was a high scoring opening term of basketball with Keilor and Bulleen making their intentions clear, but once both sides settled into the game it evened out as a sense of composure came into play. The scoring dried up in the second and third quarter with the Thunder only managing seven points in the second and then 13 in the third while Bulleen managed 19 and then seven.
In the end it was the Boomers that prevailed, grinding out the game and opening their account in style. It was proof that Bulleen cannot be underestimated, able to work their way into the contest and are never really out of the game given their ability to share the shooting load around.
Tahlia Leeson was a real playmaker for Bulleen thanks to her 11 points while Brianna Cowley also featured on the scoreboard with nine points. Alexya Charalambous was another prominent feature for the Boomers knocking back seven points as teammates Anica Kujovic and Chloe Mayson nailed six points apiece. Ruby Murphy led the charge for Keilor with a game-high 13 points with Jelena Savic also chiming in with a handy 11 points.
Kilsyth impressed against Eltham as Hawthorn also reigned supreme against Nunawading. Melbourne narrowly edged out Ballarat while Geelong comfortably bypassed Eltham.
Hawthorn (55) defeated Nunawading (41)
Geelong (61) defeated Eltham (47)
Melbourne (50) defeated Ballarat (45)
Keilor (48) defeated by Bulleen (53)
Eltham (32) defeated by Kilsyth (59)
A spirited Geelong side got the job done on the road against Bendigo to walk away with a narrow seven-point win (62-55). A second quarter demolition all but handed Geelong the win however that was not without the Braves putting up a strong fight in the second half to worry their opponents and put them under a wealth of pressure.
Geelong quickly claimed the ascendancy to create a handy three-point margin at the quarter time break and looked to extend that heading into the next term. In fact, the second quarter was by far the best term of basketball for the away side as they posted a whopping 23 points while limiting Bendigo to a mere 14. The point-scoring spree allowed Geelong to open up a 12-point lead heading into the half time break.
The tables started to turn in the second half as Bendigo looked to keep their winning hopes alive. They slowed down the frantic scoring pace of Geelong and instead started to build some scoreboard pressure of their own. But they really hit their straps in the final term posting up 20 points to 16 and while it was not enough to topple Geelong they did prove that they have the skillset to dwindle down leads.
Three Geelong players managed 13 points apiece with the unlucky number 13 turning into the magic number for the winners. Jesse Ombega, Nathan Hargrave and Angus Morrison were the main three contributors that helped to set the tone as Brady Hall and Kai Smith managed eight points apiece. Bendigo were led by Harry King with 14 points as Dash Daniels posted 13 points in the loss. Jack McMahon was hot on his heels thanks to his 12 points while the scoring dropped off from there.
In other results, Keilor got their first win over Bulleen, Eltham prevailed over Hawthorn while Kilsyth and Ballarat registered wins.
Bulleen (39) defeated by Keilor (54)
Eltham (63) defeated Hawthorn (45)
Kilsyth (71) defeated Dandenong (56)
Bendigo (55) defeated by Geelong (62)
Ballarat (79) defeated Sandringham (67)
Sandringham and Casey went head to head with the former securing a 14-point win (45-31). It was a slow start to the match from both sides as they eased into the contest before the game really started to open up with Casey claiming the ascendancy and shutting down the Sabres.
Casey were kept to five points in the opening term but quickly rectified that in the second going on a scoring spree with 19 points to seven. Their ability to turn the tables on the game was impressive as they not only increased their offensive plays but also dialled up the defensive pressure. Sandringham did not hit double-digit points in any quarter credit to Casey’s smothering style of play.
Holding a commanding lead at half time, it was Casey’s game to lose and they were determined to get their season off on the right foot. Both sides managed nine points apiece in the third term but Casey put the nail in the coffin in the final term with a 12 point to seven quarter to run out with a solid win.
Kyra Webb was a star for the winners amassing 14 points while Leah Cornell and Emilija Dakic made their presence felt thanks to their eight points. For Sandringham Sierra Woolhouse and Cleo Marsh were dominant with nine points each as Natalia Hordejuk chimed in with six points.
Latrobe, Melbourne and Dandenong all won big while Diamond Valley edged out Casey.
Latrobe (54) defeated Frankston (28)
Sandringham (31) defeated by Casey (45)
Knox (45) defeated by Melbourne (67)
Diamond Valley (44) defeated Casey (31)
Dandenong (75) defeated Waverley (38)