Author: Brandon Hutchinson

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC review: Grand Final – Rangers finally overcome nemesis

THE Dandenong Rangers claimed a stellar one-point victory over the Keilor Thunder in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division Grand Final on Friday.

Just like their Under-18 counterparts, the Dandenong Rangers were just one point better in their Grand Final, bringing a second title home for the association. After losing their opening round to Grand Final competitors, Keilor, the Rangers let loose in the remaining weeks to claim wins over Sandringham (69-65) and Diamond Valley (44-46). Keilor advanced straight into the preliminaries where they faced the Bulleen Boomers in an extremely one-sided contest (83-55), as both teams prepared to meet again in the championship game.

In the Grand Final, the Rangers opened better in the first at 9-13 but slipped in the following term to allow Keilor a 21-20 lead at the main break. The pair went shot for shot in the third to record 13 apiece before the Rangers surged home in the closing term with 11-13 – claiming a one-point victory. Dallas Loughridge was huge for Dandenong, recording a team-high 14 points to take her to sixth for points per game (PPG) with a 12.9 average; followed close by Abbey-Lee Wood with nine. Nyadiew Puoch finished her season in third (13.4) after her six points in Friday’s game. Tess Heal was at her usual best for Keilor with a game-high 16 points – claiming the top spot in the league for PPG (18.5). Jaz Salon and Amisyn Leigh followed with eight points each, with Salon finishing her season in ninth across the league.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Grand Final – Waverley redeems for a championship

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division came to a close on Friday with the Waverley Falcons defeating the Eltham Wildcats (67-69) in the Grand Final.

Throughout the finals both teams presented well. Eltham defeated their Grand Final rivals 79-69 in the qualifiers before advancing into the preliminaries with a 72-42 win over Dandenong. After losing the opening round, Waverley recorded consecutive six point wins against Geelong then Bulleen to find themselves against Eltham in the finals once again. Both sides opened with 13 each in the first term and 16 apiece for the third. It was the two closing quarters which separated them at the final buzzer, with Waverley’s 13-19 second term taking them to a six-point lead into the closer. Eltham and Falcons fought it out hard in the fourth, recording 25-21 with Waverley holding on to be two-point victors.

Waverley’s Nemuel Soliven led scoring for the night with 19 points, followed close by Tesloch Thong on 17. The pair finish their seasons in 17th an 15th for points per game (PPG) across the league with a 10.9 and 11.8 average from the season. Matt Jefferson topped them in fourteenth (12.2), rounding out his season with 13 points. For Eltham, Harrison Stones (18), Zahn Agosta (15) and Kristian Ferronato (13) all starred in the paint. Ferronato finished his season in twelfth for PPG (13), with Bradley Moorey claiming twentieth (10.6) with nine points in his final game.

This rounds out the MUVJBL Under-16 Boys season for 2019 with Waverley claiming the championship, bringing a stellar season to its close.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC review: Grand Final – Hanafin takes over for Dandenong

THE Dandenong Rangers clinched a 60-59 thriller against the Knox Raiders last Friday in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division Grand Final to be named league champions.

The opening term saw Dandenong control the offensive end right away, scoring 8-2 in the first minutes with Leia Hanafin dictating a lot of play alongside Elly Morgan. The Raiders’ offensive and defensive structures let them down in the first. Despite having bigger bodies, Knox elected to play the perimeter and struggled identifying lanes in their zone, often appearing disjointed in defense.

Leah Mackenzie sunk the first to open the second term as the Raiders continued with their press established late in the first. More issues presented for Knox at the foul line, having missed five by the halfway mark of the second term. Morgan was let off the chain more so in the second, losing defenders through the paint, while Charlise Dunn took control for the Raiders with a three-pointer and body work at the ring. While impressing defensely, Rhiannon Ockwell pulled up poo rly from the foul line in the second, recording two from six attempts. The term closed out with Arielle Mackey-Williams sinking a two-pointer to draw level, followed immediately by Hailey Merrigan‘s three-point buzzer beater to reclaim the Rangers’ lead.

The third term was Dandenong’s best – earning a game-high 20 points. Kodie Myszka increased efforts to claim three consecutive buckets, forcing the Raiders into a time-out, with Mackenzie claiming the one percenters on either end. Morgan and Hanafin maintained their dominance, with Morgan sinking consecutive three-pointers and Hanafin taking control on the inside.Zoe Jenkins impressed in the paint for the Raiders, showcasing her footwork at the rim, while Dunn and Meg Robinson found form from the perimeter as their team began lifting. Knox maintained that form into fourth as they began penetrating harder, beating defenders and move the ball more through offense.

Bottom-ager, Dunn, got things rolling with a three-pointer and subsequent steal as her teammates began locking down on defense and applying themselves better in transition. They game drew level in the final minutes with Knox eventually taking the lead from the foul line. With 12 seconds left Hanafin went alone to the rim, losing Robinson to reclaim the game with a floater. Dunn tried for a three-pointer in the closing seconds but rimmed the ball to the line for the Dandenong win. Hanafin put her side on her back in the final term, recording a game-high 19 points with her work on the inside. Morgan followed on 14 with clean movements through the paint, while Mackenzie (8) showcased outstanding vision on both ends. For Knox Dunn led off the bench, recording three three-pointers with 17 points to close out her season. Mackey-Williams and Robinson also impressed, both recording 11 points.

This concludes the MUVJBL Under-18 Championship Division for this year as Dandenong claim a thriller to be named the 2019 champions over Knox.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Grand Final – Boomers lock down a thriller

THE Bulleen Boomers have been declared the champions of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division following their 65-52 win over the Melbourne Tigers at State Basketball Centre last Friday.

Both teams fared well in the contest, though it was Bulleen who sought to maintain their aggressive, high-scoring finals brand. Owen Foxwell opened scoring in all terms excluding the fourth, crossing his opponent early in the first to sink a floater. Centre of Excellence returnee Joshua Giddey made his mark promptly, blocking two shots under the ring while continually hitting up teammates with his outstanding passing ability. Decisively, the first term belonged to Bulleen. Despite Melbourne’s impressive defensive work, their favour for ranged shooting limited opportunities for repeat efforts, having no one on the inside.

In the second term, Foxwell regained momentum to again open scoring, impressing with a recovered spill and skyhook in the paint. Melbourne sought to halt Bulleen’s transition with a press but fail to run with Foxwell as he affected consecutive buckets with Anthony Dell’Orso to eventually force a Melbourne time-out. Soon after Giddey got the ball rolling for Melbourne as he worked the baseline for an easy lay-up. Giddey maintained effort on both ends, earning a steal to put Patrick Twigg into space as well as continually floating through the zones weak spots. To close out the term, Isaiah Harvey and Twigg recorded back-to-back threes, while Foxwell sunk a three-pointer two metres outside the arc from one play, before affecting consecutive scores on the inside.

The third was undeniably poor for both sides with seven points each scored on either end. Once again, Foxwell hit the first with a brilliant left-handed euro, soon following up against Giddey, nearly losing the guard on his way to the ring. The contest between the guards ensued for the remainder of the game with neither player managing a score for a while. Despite impressive looks from the Bulleen point, Giddey’s three-point assist, work to secure consecutive scores, and closing block shot on Foxwell earned him the win for the third. built on his efforts late in the third to open up the fourth, earning a three point play with some sharp footwork.

It was clear by the opening minutes that Melbourne had lost momentum with Foxwell’s grip tight on both ends of the court. Rushed offensive work and a fading drive eventually crushed the Tigers as Bulleen dismantled them through transition. For the Boomers, Foxwell and Oscar Hide were most dominant. Foxwell managed his third 20-point (21) game in the finals series, dictating offense well and applying good pressure at the top of the arc. Hyde was a pillar for the Boomers under the ring, taking everything from the with 12 points for the night and an outstanding dunk in transition. For Melbourne, Giddey was pivotal, recording a game-high 24 points with impressive defense and court vision. Twigg presented fair in the first half, recording back to back threes with a strong run at the board. Though unfortunately faded in the second half.This effectively closes the MUVJBL Championship Division for this year with a decisive final term cementing the Bulleen Boomers as 2019 champions.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC preview: Grand Final

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division nears its close as the Keilor Thunder face the Dandenong Rangers in the Grand Final.

Despite finishing three wins below their championship competitors, Keilor proved the better side in the qualifiers to knock off Dandenong 47-42. The Rangers proceeded to a semi-final with Sandringham and then subsequent preliminary against Diamond Valley, where they recorded four and two-point wins. Keilor remained dominant following their break with a 28-point victory over the second-placed Bulleen Boomers. The pair prepare to face for the fourth time in 2019, with Keilor holding a two to one record over the league-leaders. 2019 Under-16 National athletes, Tess Heal and Jaz Salon boasted outstanding performances in week one, recording 18 and 12 points respectively, while fellow Under-16 National, Nyadiew Puoch (12) held strong for Dandenong.

Heal has been the league’s most dominant scorer all season – ranking first with 18.7 points per game (PPG) and 206 overall points. Puoch trails just behind in second with 14.1, while Dallas Loughridge sits in third with 12.8. The match-up is made more interesting by Salon’s position in fifth at 11.3 – making this the biggest potential shootout of the year. Puoch and Loughridge proved standout in the semi-finals, recording 20 points each against Sandringham, while Puoch reached 16 alongside in Grace Montgomery (14) in last week’s preliminary. Though neither could match Tess Heal’s fire power as she recorded a huge 27 points against Bulleen, with Salon also impressing with 16 of her own.

The Grand Final kicks off tonight at 9:10pm at the State Basketball Centre – Court 4, with some of the MUVJBL’s best battling it out in the most anticipated game of the season.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Grand Final

THE Eltham Wildcats will face off with the Waverley Falcons in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division Grand Final.

This game marks their second finals encounter with one another, after Waverley fell to Eltham at Mullum Mullum in a 79-69 qualifier. Since then the Falcons have fought hard to earn redemption, taking out the Supercats (71-65) last fortnight, as well as eliminating Bulleen (61-55) the following week. Eltham’s second match-up against Dandenong was the most decisive win of the series, defeating them by 30-points (72-42). Eltham and Waverley’s previous meetings have the league leaders at two to one. They both hold impressive records on the road, with Eltham at 7-1 and Waverly at 9-2. Eltham’s high defensive capabilities will be put to the test against Waverley’s high scoring capacity in the season’s most pivotal game.

Waverley’s David Amum ranks as the main scoring threat heading into Friday night – averaging 15.5 points per game (PPG) in sixth place across the league. In his last two matches he recorded 12 and 15 points, with Matt Jefferson hitting back to back games of 14. Jefferson and Tesloch Thong also hold in fourteenth and fifteenth respectively overall – averaging 12.1 and 11.4 PPG. For Eltham, Kristian Ferronato, Bradley Moorey and Anton Stratov have all presented well through the series. Ferronato opened strong in the qualifiers with 18 points, before hitting 22 in the preliminary. Moorey opened with 15 in the first before dipping to eight against Dandenong, while Stratov managed 11 and 12 in his two contests.

The MUVJBL Under-16 Boys Grand Final kicks off at 9:30pm at Dandenong Basketball Stadium tonight, bringing the Championship Division to close as we present the winners of the 2019 season.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Grand Final

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division will host the championship game tonight, with the Dandenong Rangers going head-to-head with the Knox Raiders.

Last month, Knox opened the finals series with a tight win over now Grand Final opponents, Dandenong (54-51), sending them straight into the preliminaries. After the loss, Dandenong responded appropriately against Bendigo in a 24-point demolition at Broadmeadows – recording three consecutive terms over 20 points. Knox also remained atop their game come preliminaries, snaring a 70-50 win over Nunawading, while Dandenong charged through the once finals favourites, Bulleen, to join Knox in the championship match-up. Friday’s contest boasts three players from the 2019 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship squad in Charlise Dunn, Leia Hanafin and Emily Sewell. Though with Sewell yet to take part in this finals series, it seems to be just a battle between Dunn and Hanafin.

Currently Dunn retains top spot for shooters in this match-up, averaging 13.7 points per game (PPG), ranked ninth across the league. In last week’s hit-out, the forward scored 19 points for the Raiders to back up her 19 the week prior. Though Hanafin ranks outside the top-20 for her average (9), the Dandenong guard has presented exceptionally well over the last fortnight with 18 and 11 points. Elly Morgan also remains impressive, scoring 22 and 16 to move to fifteenth for PPG. The Raiders will rely heavily on Dunn in this match-up and hope for Zoe Jenkins to continue last week’s form – managing a game-high 22 points. Of the three times these outfits have faced, Knox have won two but never by more than five points. This Friday, we will find out if Knox can cement themselves as decisive victors or if Dandenong can pull off the most important win of the four.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Grand Final

THE final match-up in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division kicks off this week with the Bulleen Boomers coming up against the Melbourne Tigers at State Basketball Centre.

Bulleen opened their finals’ series with a four point loss against Nunawading (50-46), while Melbourne stood firm over Diamond Valley with a 66-53 victory. Both teams advanced to the semi-finals, which saw Melbourne roll over Dandenong (75-65) and Bulleen responding big against the Keilor Thunder (72-42). Last week, both sides cemented their spots for the big dance as Melbourne snared a 60-66 win over their second top-four side in Nunawading and Bulleen picked up a second consecutive 30-point victory to crush finals favourites, Kilsyth (45-75). They both face their biggest challenge this week, with Melbourne presenting comfortably the against top four sides and Bulleen picking up stellar form at the right time.

NBA Global Academy player, Joshua Giddey, has sparked the biggest revival to Melbourne’s season. Besides averaging 19.8 points per game (PPG) from four outings and 25 and 27 points in his last two games, the 2021 prospect could also be NBA bound. Giddey’s efforts at the FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship led Australia to a gold medal, where he averaged 16.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and five assists per game. He has been accompanied well by Patrick Twigg (11.4) this season, who has been an important mainstay for the Tigers, closely followed by Jordan Adams (10.4) with 11 and 12 outings respectively.

For the Boomers, Owen Foxwell has been standout with 15.1 PPG from 12 outings. In Bulleen’s last two hit-outs, Foxwell stepped up to record back to back 20-point games, while top-20 counterpart Anthony Dell’Orso slowed with six and nine.
In their last outing against each other, Bulleen walked away decisive victors (41-70). Dell’Orso and Thomas Giannatos stood up to record 18 and 12 points respectively, while Adams held down the fort for Melbourne with 18 of his own. In the rematch, Giddey’s return is likely to shake up Bulleen unfaultable fortnight, as the State Basketball Centre prepares to host the game of the year this Friday night.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC review: Preliminary Finals – Heal takes over

A rematch of the qualifying final between Dandenong Rangers and Keilor Thunder is on the cards for Grand Final night on Friday with both sides advancing through to the decider after big wins in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division preliminary finals.

Diamond Valley Eagles 44 defeated by Dandenong Rangers 46

The Dandenong Rangers bared one of the tightest victories in the finals series with a 46-44 win against the Diamond Valley Eagles. The 17-win side retained their dominance into the championship match-up with one of their lowest scores in recent memory. With 22-all tying up the second half, it was a slow start that brought the Eagles’ downfall (13-9). Despite the low score, Nyadiew Puoch (16) and Grace Montgomery (14) pulled up with fair numbers for Dandenong with Puoch’s efforts moving her to third for points per game (PPG) with 14.1, while Dallas Loughridge trails in sixth (12.8) following a five point performance. Sophie Burrows was the only Eagles player to record double-digits with 10, followed close by Eleanor Bollands and Aeska Ratnayake with nine each.

Keilor Thunder 83 defeated Bulleen Boomers 55

The second of the preliminaries was much more one-sided, with the Keilor Thunder mounting an 83-55 victory over the Bulleen Boomers. Keilor set the tone early in the first, scoring 26-16 before conceding a point in the second (8-9). They carried their efforts well into the second half, recording 17-13 and 32-17 to close out a strong performance. League leader, Tess Heal went to work for the Thunder, recording a game-high 27 points, with Jaz Salon (16) and Bella Peterson (11) providing support at the board. Salon’s game moved her to seventh for PPG (11.3), followed by Peterson in 12th. For the Boomers, Emily Maltezos and Aleisha Cadee rounded out their season well with 10 points each in the loss. Maltezos finishes her season in nineteenth above teammate, Tabitha Betson who managed eight in her final game of the season.

The Championship Division prepares to host the Keilor Thunder and Dandenong Rangers Grand Final next week at the State Basketball Centre, as Diamond Valley and Bulleen close out their season with 14 and 13 wins each.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Preliminary Finals – Falcons earn chance for redemption

THE Eltham Wildcats continued their strong season with a dominant performance in the Melbourne United Victoria Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division preliminary finals. The Wildcats easily moved past Dandenong Rangers, while in the other game, Waverley Falcons upset second placed Bulleen Boomers to face Eltham in the 2019 decider.

Eltham Wildcats 72 defeated Dandenong Rangers 42

The league-leaders pulled no punches on their way to the big dance, recording a dominant second half at 42-18. Eltham held better on the defensive end, keeping the Rangers below 10 in the second and third terms, while Kristian Ferronato stepped up in offense. The Vic Metro representative led his side with 22, moving his way to twelfth for points per game (PPG) as Anton Stratov and Zahn Agosta follow with 12 and 10 points respectively. Dandenong’s Nyareth Mayoum rounds out his season with a team-high 11 points in the absence of team scoring leader, Beau Tranter (14.5 PPG), followed by Jerome Pierre with eight and Arian Berisha and Dennis Ameti on seven apiece. Pierre finishes his season just below Tranter in tenth (14 PPG).

Bulleen Boomers 55 defeated by Waverley Falcons 61

In a tighter affair, the Waverley Falcons progress to a Grand Final over the second-place, Bulleen Boomers, with a 55-61 win at State Basketball Centre. Waverley secure their chance at a title and redemption as they come up against their qualifying rivals in the championship game. In the contest, Bulleen controlled the first term, recording a 19-12 opener. Though Waverley rebounded well in the second to record a game-high 20-point (15) term, before taking control of the remainder of the game with consecutive winning terms. David Amum managed 15 points for the Falcons, taking himself to sixth for PPG (15.5), while Matt Jefferson (14) and Tesloch Thong (10) both provided support in offense. Jefferson’s performance moves him one spot past Thong (11.4 PPG) into fourteenth (12.1). For the Boomers, Marcel Haj (14) and Daniel Poelsma (13) put up respectable ends to their seasons – finishing at fourth (16.3) and seventh (15.1) for PPG.

In the Championship Division next week, the Waverley Falcons get their shot to make amends in the Grand Final against the Eltham Wildcats, who bested them in the qualifiers, while Bulleen and Dandenong bring their seasons to a close with 15 and 10 wins respectively.