Author: Michael Alvaro

Victoria to host the National Junior Classic

VICTORIA will will play host to the nation’s elite junior invitational tournament, with the best teams from around the country set to play off in the National Junior Classic across the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Victorian teams make up a large number of the 128 overall sides to have qualified for the invitation-only event, with a cap of 16 teams competing in age groups ranging from Under 12 to Under 18 in girls and boys divisions.

Dandenong and Nunawading will each have seven teams competing in the Classic, with Bulleen the next most represented with six, while Kilsyth and Melbourne have five, and Hawthorn and Keilor will send four each on the back of impressive qualifying campaigns. Three sides from Bendigo and Geelong, as well as one each from Ballarat, Pakenham, Sale, and Southern Peninsula also earned their place through Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) qualification, with three sides from the Basketball Victoria Country (BVC) Junior Championships – from Ballarat, Warrnambool, and Maffra – also making the cut.

VJBL General Manager John Hilton said it is “a great thrill” to have the best teams from around the state ready to compete in the Classic, noting the interstate sides would be just as keen.

“For the MUVJBL and Country teams across Victoria, the Classic is the perfect opportunity to highlight their abilities in one of Australia’s most elite junior tournaments,” he said.

“The interstate sides are just as keen to attend the Classic – as they are set to take on Australia’s best in their age group.

“The MUVJBL would like to wish all 128 competing teams the best of luck heading to the Classic.”

Teams from South Australia (29) New South Wales (17), the ACT (seven), and New Zealand (two) will also compete, with the journey to crown Australia’s best junior teams set to commence on Saturday, June 8.

Full fixtures can be found here, and entry is free for all spectators.

A full list of teams can be found below:

UNDER 12 BOYS
Ballarat
Bulleen
Canberra
Casey
Dandenong
Eltham
Kilsyth
McKinnon
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Sandringham
South Adelaide
Southern Tigers
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 12 GIRLS
Bulleen
Canberra
Casey
Forestville
Frankston
Hawthorn
Kilsyth
Manly
Melbourne
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Sandringham
Sydney Comets
Warrnambool

UNDER 14 BOYS
Canberra
Casey
Central Districts
Dandenong
Geelong
Hawthorn
Hills Hornets
Kilsyth
McKinnon
Melbourne
New Zealand
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Norwood
Nunawading
Penrith

UNDER 14 GIRLS
Canberra
Dandenong
Eltham
Forestville
Frankston
Hawthorn
Keilor
Kilsyth
Melbourne
New Zealand
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sale
Sturt Sabres
West Adelaide

UNDER 16 BOYS
Bendigo
Bulleen
Canberra
Central Districts
Dandenong
Eltham
Geelong
Hills Hornets
Keilor
Knox
Maffra
North Adelaide
Norwood
Pakenham
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 16 GIRLS
Ballarat
Bulleen
Canberra
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Eastern Mavericks
Forestville
Keilor
Manly
Melbourne
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sandringham
Southern Tigers
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets

UNDER 18 BOYS
Bendigo
Bulleen
Canberra
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Forestville
Hills Hornets
Keilor
Kilsyth
Melbourne
North Adelaide
Norths Bears
Nunawading
Sturt Sabres
Sydney Comets
Werribee

UNDER 18 GIRLS
Altona
Bendigo
Bulleen
Dandenong
Diamond Valley
Forestville
Geelong
Hawthorn
Knox
Manly
Norths Bears
Nunawading
South Adelaide
Southern Peninsula
Sturt Sabres
West Adelaide

Victoria Metropolitan Under 18s claim both titles at the AusChamps

VICTORIA Metropolitan doubled up for wins in both the Men’s and Women’s National Championship competitions, snatching victory in a pair of remarkable comebacks to claim both trophies at the tournament.

The Metro men’s side overcame a 17-point deficit in the second quarter to topple South Australia 74-64 and regain the National trophy. Up against the swift outside attack of South Australia Metro, the Victorians were bombarded by threes in an unrelenting quarter-and-a-half display. A 32-8 run after that completely switched the momentum, with the South Australian side pushing to the very end after relinquishing the lead.

Josh Giddey proved the star for Vic Metro with 31 points, nine rebounds and five steals in an big-time performance on both sides of the paint, with the likes of Zac Taylor (10 points) and Paul Tsapatolis (nine) instrumental in keeping the margin manageable early on. Marcus Windhager (nine points, three assists) provided some grunt off the bench alongside Riley Simmons to thwart SA’s ball movement and scoring.

Crediting a shift to the 2-1-2 press, Vic Metro Coach Darren Perry said a call to “(back) each other” spurred his side to their incredible second half.

“We just talked about at half time that we weren’t playing hard enough, we weren’t backing each other and didn’t play our defence,” Perry said. “We just asked for effort and whatever happened was going to happen. “We found some success in the 2-1-2 and we just stuck with it – we had some great individual plays and some great defence and you don’t expect to run over teams in the second half like that… but it was a great win.”

In another come from behind effort, Vic Metro’s women’s team triumphed 72-51 in a hard slog against Queensland South to complete the Victorian double. Trailing by 13 points in the first quarter, the Big V built a revival on a typically even team effort. Leaders Gemma Potter (14 points, nine rebounds) and Leia Hanafin (nine points, six assists, five rebounds) were crucial to the early fightback, while Casey Valenti-Paea (13 points), Charlise Dunn (12) and Emily Sewell (10) ensured that the Victorians had plenty of scoring versatility – as had been their strength all tournament.

Vic Metro Coach Reece Potter lauded his side’s “big plays” in the second half after some defensive adjustments, while also acknowledging the depth required to win such tournaments.

“They had a really big time second half – I thought Leia Hanafin was unbelievable, with deflections, blocked shots and made some really big plays. Gemma Potter made some big plays as well and I think everyone followed,” Potter said. “That’s what we kept preaching to the girls – we run deeper than them. “They’ve had some players play 40 minutes but we’ve barely had any who played over 30, so we’ve really rotated well. We go 10-deep and that’s the great strength of Vic Metro.”

In other results, Victoria Country Women finished third after taking out a 68-67 overtime win over New South Wales Metro, rebounding well from their disappointing semi-final defeat. Meanwhile, Victoria Country Men lost its final tournament game against Queensland South 82-84, with the result seeing it finish sixth overall.

NBL finals fixture released

MELBOURNE United and Sydney Kings will tip off the National Basketball League finals series this Thursday at Melbourne Arena. The three-game semi-final series poises two of the competition’s more fancied line-ups against each other, with their strong rivalry set to resume. While United lays claim to bragging rights as it stands having gone 3-1 in meetings with the Kings this season, anything can happen come the post-season and the Andrew Bogut-led Sydney will count themselves in with a decent chance of an upset win. Reigning premiers, Melbourne will have the added confidence of knowing this will be Sydney’s first finals appearance in six seasons, as well as earning the advantage of a second home game if required.

On the same night, Perth Wildcats host Brisbane Bullets at RAC Arena in what will be the Bullets’ first finals appearance since 2008. Perth’s home court advantage may count for more in this fixture, with the sides going 2-2 in four clashes this season in what looks like an even match-up.

The winners of each tie will meet in a best of five grand final series next week, with dates yet to be confirmed. Fixtures for the semi-final series can be found below.

Semi Final Series 1

Thursday 28th Feb 10.20pm AEDT / 7.20pm Local – Perth v Brisbane. RAC Arena – Live FOX Sports. 9Go! from 11.20pm.

Saturday 2nd Mar 2.50pm AEDT / 1.50pm Local – Brisbane v Perth. Brisbane Entertainment Centre – Live 9Go! and FOX Sports. Live on Nine in Perth from 11.30am (local)

Monday 4th Mar 9.50pm AEDT / 6.50pm Local (if required) – Perth v Brisbane. RAC Arena – Live FOX Sports. 9Go! from 11.20pm

Semi Final Series 2

Thursday 28th Feb 7.50pm – Melbourne v Sydney. Melbourne Arena – Live FOX Sports. 9Go! from 11.20pm

Sunday 3rd Mar 2.20pm – Sydney v Melbourne. Qudos Bank Arena – Live 9GO! and FOX Sports

Tuesday 5th Mar 7.50pm (if required) – Melbourne v Sydney. Melbourne Arena – Live FOX Sports. 9Go! from 11.20pm.

Weekend preview: MUVJBL Girls – Crossover Round 3

THERE was a clear divide between the top two sides in three of the four divisions with matches tonight to determine automatic qualification to the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) championship division for the Under 18 Girls. We take a look at each pool in the Under 18s and Under 16s.

Under 18

Pool 1:
With a clear top two formed, Pool 1’s elites play off for top spot, while the bottom sides will look to get on the board in the final round. Ladder leaders Broadmeadows host Waverley in the play-off for first, with the Broncos’ admirable percentage of 196 keeping them atop the standings – 66 per cent adrift from the second-placed Falcons. At the other end of the ladder, Eltham boasts a percentage of 77, 25 per cent better than Melbourne 2 going into their battle to avoid last place at home. The Wildcats will hope to hold onto their current standing to have a second shot at qualifying, but the Tigers could well roar in their final game. With first and third on the line in either game, there is still plenty to play for in Round 3 and it should produce some hotly-contested ties.

Pool 2:
In a familiar scenario, the top two sides in Pool 2 are set to do battle for automatic promotion, with third place also up for grabs in the round’s other game. There has been a clear gap between the top and bottom two, made most obvious by the margin of percentage between second (153) and third (68). The battle for first sees the gap poised at a far less margin, but percentage will not matter after one side’s 0 finally goes. With both survival and spared blushes available to the winner out of Collingwood and McKinnon, Pool 2’s results will be another entertaining prospect as the weekend rolls around. Despite sitting last, McKinnon has conceded less points than nearest rivals Collingwood, and will be in with a definite shot.

Pool 3:
With Diamond Valley the clear number one in Pool 3, third placed Ringwood faces an uphill battle in its quest to snatch second as the sides meet in Round 3. The Hawks could of course also fall to fourth if they lose by a considerable margin and bottom side Sunbury snatch a win, so the ramifications of the clash could prove to be huge either way. The Jets will be relying on a big Eagles win to bridge the 19 per cent gap, while also having to beat Melbourne to stand any chance of progressing in third. The Tigers will be looking to put those hopes to bed, but face an absolute mountain to climb in their quest for first. Relying on an Eagles loss and facing a percentage bridge of 107, Melbourne would not be blamed for settling for second. Still, there is no room for complacency as sides look to take their last chance to jostle for position.

Pool 4:
As is the case in Pools 1 and 2, the ladder-leading teams will tussle for first spot in Round 3, while the bottom two look to stay alive and snatch third. There is not much separating first-placed Warrandyte from Pakenham, and a home court advantage in their clash could make all the difference in settling who gains automatic qualification. It looks to be a similar story in the round’s other fixture, as Werribee hosts Bulleen 2 to decide who snatches third. While both sides have scored the exact same amount of points, the Boomers have conceded 17 more thus far – a stat they will have to rectify as they search for a win. It does not look like a high-stakes week on paper, but make no mistake that each team will put it all on the line as they look to gain an all-important final edge.

Under 16

Pool 1:
Top spot and a chance at survival are on the line across Pool 1’s Round 3 fixtures, with the clear frontrunners looking in ominous form going into their clash. As it stands hosts, Bulleen sit top on the back of impressive defensive performances, while Bendigo is 27 per cent behind despite averaging 67 points per game. It shapes as a game where an irresistible force meets an immovable object, promising to produce a ripping contest. In the round’s second game, Dandenong and Nunawading’s second sides do battle to determine who can grab their first win along with third spot. Elimination awaits the loser, so neither side should be leaving anything on the court come the final buzzer.

Pool 2:
A familiar scenario is set to take shape in Pool 2 as first faces second, and third takes on fourth to confirm the top three qualification places. A free-scoring Ballarat side hosts Ringwood in a clash to settle top spot, with the Miners holding just a five per cent advantage in first place. The Eagles will count themselves in with a huge chance given the defensive display they put on last week against Melbourne, but will have to be at their best here. In the round’s second clash, Latrobe and Melbourne 2 take their settling battle to the National Basketball Centre, with just one per cent separating them. With nothing but a win set to help either side in their respective missions, this game could prove just as entertaining as 1v2.

Pool 3:
The scene in Pool 3 is slightly different, with fourth place all but eliminated and first place also almost certainly decided. Leaders Altona host second-place side Sunbury, but even a resounding Jets win may not be enough to uproot the Crocs in first as percentage stands in the way. Wangaratta plays host to bottom side, Hawthorn 2 in a clash that could settle which side grabs second spot. With the winless Magic holding a percentage of just 55, their chances of progression remain slim – even if they manage to beat Wangaratta. There does not seem to be a whole lot on the line, with pretty extraordinary circumstances having to take place to rearrange the table drastically, but that should not stop each side from putting in big shifts.

Pool 4:
As is the story in Pool’s 1 and 2, automatic promotion is on the line for two unbeaten sides, with third also to be decided by the bottom two of the group. Bellarine and Casey hold virtually identical form-lines at the top end of the ladder, with the Cavaliers edging their rivals out for the current top spot. With no risk of falling out of a qualification spot, expect both sides to throw down in this one. The round’s other game poises Southern Peninsula against Bulleen 2, with the Sharks hosting in their bid to retain third place. While survival is less impactful that the battle for first, the high stakes should provide keen interest.

Weekend preview: MUVJBL Boys – Crossover Round 3

WHILE the tables across each Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Boys Under 16 and 18 AA division pool tell similar stories, a heap of third-place sides remain in top-two contention and could well turn qualification scenarios on their heads.

Under 18

Pool 1:
The top two and bottom two sides face off in Round 3 of Pool 1, with a mid-table deadlock set to be decided by the final fixtures. Pakenham’s resounding Round 2 win over bottom side Latrobe was enough to see it climb into second after dropping the ball in the opening round, but the Warriors face a tough ask in holding onto that spot as they travel to face Melbourne in a top-of-the-table clash. In the group’s other game, Diamond Valley 2 is a good chance of snatching second should it overcome Latrobe away from home, but will need a sizeable percentage boost if the Warriors manage to beat Melbourne. With sliding doors continuing to move, the few scenarios left will make for an interesting last round as three sides look to take up two qualifying positions.

Pool 2:
As is the case in Pool 1, the top two sides face each other in Pool 2 to decide top spot with third place lurking should either team slip up. Ladder-leaders Eltham host first-place hopefuls Ringwood in a bid to secure the spot, with a handy 57 per cent buffer and game advantage in hand. A good amount of high scorers makes the Wildcats a scary proposition, but the Hawks need a solid performance to keep safe of slipping to third. Current holders of that place, Knox, hosts Wangaratta in hopes of securing a win and climbing the ladder – but will again need a percentage boost in the process. Form suggests Eltham are a lock to progress, and Knox stands a good chance of also doing so, but you cannot count Ringwood out of this group given its win over the Raiders just last week.

Pool 3:
Believe it or not, the exact same scenario quipped in Pools 1 and 2 faces Pool 3, only the gap between the top and bottom two sides seems slightly more pronounced. Blackburn sits third – level on points with Eltham 2 after overcoming the Wildcats last week, but holds a considerably weaker percentage of 77 compared to Eltham’s 101. While that can change relatively quickly, Eltham will hold some confidence in retaining its spot given that fact – despite a clash with the formidable Diamond Valley to come. With that fixture to take place later in the night at Mullum Mullum Court, the Vikings will set the scene earlier on as they take on McKinnon at home. Should McKinnon cause an upset, Eltham may already secure progression before taking the court, but should take nothing for granted against the 2-0 Eagles. Like each of the other groups, this one could well go down to the wire.

Pool 4:
Pool 4 stands alone in its final round scenario, with first playing third and second doing battle with fourth in what could provide a more clear-cut outcome. The unbeaten Collingwood All Stars host Dandenong 2 to open proceedings, with the Rangers coming off a thrilling one-point win over Geelong in Round 2 to get on the board. While the win would undoubtedly have boosted confidence, Dandenong’s percentage still sits down on second-placed Sandringham at this stage. An upset over the All-Stars could remove that factor altogether for Dandenong, but the Sabres will be keen to grab a second win and possibly even top spot to eliminate all doubt. While form-lines suggest an easy passage for two sides, both 1-1 teams know it is all on the line in Round 3 and should produce some magic.

Under 16

Pool 1:
Pool 1 throws up a similar set of outcomes as the many of the Under 18 groups, with the top two sides playing off while third plays fourth. Fresh off a win against second-placed Latrobe, McKinnon travels to face Frankston in hopes of jumping into a qualification spot with a win. The confidence dent made last week to Latrobe’s hopes would have been lessened given the Energy retain second spot, but requiring a win over table-toppers Kilsyth to guarantee progression is a tough assignment. Still, the top of the table clash stands and it should be a cracker given 2-0 Kilsyth have the chance to go through undefeated.

Pool 2:
A unique Pool 2 ladder will be finalised in Round 3 as the current top two sides look poised to progress. Pakenham hosts Geelong in a battle of the two top teams, with the Warriors coming off a solid second win last week to solidify their top-two status. The Supercats fared slightly differently as they drew with Bulleen 2, but the result was not all bad as they held on to second and the best percentage in the pool. While that could allow Geelong to jump into first with a win, the ramifications multiply as it means Bulleen 2 faces a tough road to second. The Boomers have to hope their nearest rivals lose, while also going out and beating Sandringham by a substantial margin to roll into qualification – despite not yet grabbing a win. The Sabres are a somewhat forgotten factor in this scenario, but will also be keen to get on the board with a win and finish the group stage on a high.

Pool 3:
With the typical 1v2 and 3v4 set-up taking place in Pool 3, third place remains a chance to snatch top two honours in what should be an action-packed Round 3. Werribee and Camberwell open proceedings at MSAC in a clash that could either see the Devils grab second, or the Dragons get on the board with win number one. Werribee remained in third despite a win over second-place Sunbury last week, but could finally jump the Jets at the final hurdle if they go down to Southern Peninsula. The Sharks had a closer than expected win over Camberwell last time out, but are nonetheless the only side with two wins from two attempts. The chance to progress at 3-0 will give them motivation, but a hungry Sunbury side should give it all in their last chance saloon.

Pool 4:
A straight-out play-off for second spot is set to go down in Round 3 as Whittlesea travels to play Dandenong with qualification up for grabs. The Pacers are the form team of the two given their win last week and how Keilor accounted for Dandenong, but anything can happen when the sides finally meet. The ladder-leading Thunder will look to go through unbeaten as they do battle with Diamond Valley 2 on the road, with a first win looking hard to obtain for the Eagles. Given the freedom with which Keilor have scored thus far, another blowout could be on the cards as the Thunder look like one of the top overall sides.

MUVJBL U16 Girls: Crossover Round 2 Review

THREE top-of-the-table clashes are set to decide automatic qualification spots across three of the four Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16s Girls AA division pools, as each ladder took a familiar shape after Round 2.

Pool 1:

Nunawading 2 (20) defeated by Bulleen (46)
Bendigo (64) defeated Dandenong 2 (47)

The qualification scene is already set in Pool 1 as both Bulleen and Bendigo again secured wins to ensure their progression, with the two sides set to do battle for first place in Round 3. The Boomers accounted for Nunawading 2 by 26 points with an even spread of contributors. Sarah Calvisi this time led the way with her nine points for the winners, helped well by Kobie Kino (eight) and Emily Maltezos (seven). For Nunawading 2, Beyonce Wigg top scored with six points in a low-scoring effort, while Sarah Bushby had five after a seven-point Round 1 showing. Meanwhile, Dandenong 2 put 47 points on the board in its 17-point loss to Bendigo, thanks largely to 15 points from Taleah Read and 12 from Georgia Taylor. Not to be outdone, Kaleah Bonanno sunk 18 for Bendigo, while April Eeles had 13 and Caitlin Richardson backed up for her 11. With the top two playing off for automatic promotion, Nunawading 2 hosts Dandenong 2 to decide who scrapes clear of bottom.

 

Pool 2:

Ballarat (68) defeated Latrobe (36)
Melbourne 2 (25) defeated by Ringwood (44)

Much like Pool 1, there are already two established qualifiers in Pool 2 as Ballarat and Ringwood are set for a clash to decide top spot in Round 3. Ballarat had a convincing 32-point win against bottom-place Latrobe at home, with Rosie Todd (14 points) leading Jada Skennerton (11), Bella Clark (11) and Georgia Cox (10) as players to reach double figures in points. Latrobe’s scoring was limited well, but that did not stop Jamie Gallatly from netting 11 points, while Indigo Waugh turned in a consecutive eight-point game. Ringwood’s travels to Melbourne’s home court also proved fruitful, with the Hawks coming away 19-point victors in a low-scoring match. With the two halves of the table decided, the specificities will be arranged after Round 3 as top spot will be battled for, and bottom place hopefully avoided as Melbourne 2 travels to Latrobe.

 

Pool 3:

Hawthorn 2 (36) defeated by Sunbury (61)
Altona (64) defeated Wangaratta (44)

A top of the table clash rearranged the Pool 3 table as Altona comfortably beat Wangaratta to subject them to third spot, while Sunbury took advantage of its meeting with bottom side, Hawthorn 2 to bounce into second. The Jets finished up 25-point winners on the night, with Erin Condron registering another double figure game in points (13), to go with Zoe Attard‘s 11 and Scarlett Orritt‘s 10 in the percentage-boosting win. For the Magic, Hayley Cordova top scored with seven points, while three of her teammates managed six in a low score. Meanwhile, Chelsea Randich did most of the damage with 14 points as Altona downed Wangaratta, with teammate Lucy Barth not far behind for her 11. Wangaratta’s Hannah Onley and Olivia Pearce shared top-scorer honours with their nine points, as two others reached seven for a total of 44. Altona are most likely to progress with two wins on the board and good percentage, but that could all change if Sunbury beat them away from home, and Wangaratta do the business against Hawthorn 2. With no room for complacency, it is set to be a ripping final round.

 

Pool 4:

Bulleen 2 (42) defeated by Casey (54)
Bellarine (42) defeated Southern Peninsula (40)

Another first-against-second clash is set to bring a pool to a close as Casey and Ballarine registered their second wins in as many rounds to make up Pool 4’s unassailable top two. The Cavaliers ran out 12 point winners away from home to clinch top spot as it stands, as Talyssa Route netted 19 points in an impressive display alongside Dakota Crichton (11 points). It was the Boomers’ Chantal Vitale who led all-comers though, with a round-high 21 points, as Lilly Amor was the next best with six after an 18-point performance. Southern Peninsula was unlucky not to remain in the qualification hunt after a narrow loss to second-placed Bellarine. Chantelle James put up another 12 points, matched by both Sienna Privitera and Bella Breen for the Sharks to no avail, while an even spread saw Grace Purcell and Charlotte Murray top score with eight each for Bellarine. Round 3 sees the Storm host Casey to decide top spot, while Bulleen 2 travels to Dromana to settle the bottom two places and see out the group stage.

MUVJBL U16 Boys: Crossover Round 2 Review

POOLS are taking shape after Round 2 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16 boys AA division, with second spot open across each group as sides do battle to secure qualification to the elite division.

Pool 1:

McKinnon (54) defeated Latrobe (41)
Frankston (50) defeated by Kilsyth (62)

A mid-table qualification battle is set to carry into Round 3 in Pool 1 as Round 1 losers, McKinnon managed to topple second-placed Latrobe to go level on points with its weekend rival. The Cougars powered to a 13-point victory and now stand a decent chance to progress should they win again in the final round. Their opponents in that game, Frankston will make it anything but easy though, with the Blues showing improved form as they went down to top side, Kilsyth at home. McKinnon’s Denver Lund was huge with 17 points to lead the scoring, with Luke Lyngberg backing up his 11 Round 1 points to net 12 this time around. Jack Hrehorensen and Coby Burgiel also backed up well for Latrobe after a combined 29 points last week, sinking 12 apiece to lead the way in a losing effort. Meanwhile, pool leader Kilsyth continued its winning run, downing bottom side, Frankston by 12 points to secure qualification. While Harrison Adams is proving a consistent contributor after downing another 12 points, Zach Fitzpatrick and Will Ellis were big improvers from Round 1 as they claimed 13 and 11 points respectively in the win. Frankston had a nicely even spread of scorers, with Liam Atkinson‘s 11 topping their charts, followed by Lachlan Jensen and Tarrant Wallace on nine each. The Blues will not have much on the line as they host a hungry McKinnon in Round 3, but Latrobe faces the tough task of toppling 2-0 Kilsyth to earn progression.

 

Pool 2:

Geelong (60) drew with Bulleen 2 (60)
Pakenham (63) defeated Sandringham (58)

The competition’s first draw was produced in Pool 2, as second and third battled to 60 points apiece to open Round 2, while Pakenham claimed a second win to soar clear at the top. Hosts Geelong shared the points with Bulleen 2 in the mid-table thriller, with Jet Kneebone netting 15 points for the Supercats alongside Harry Den Dryver (13 points) and Olivier Northam (11). Boomer Samuel Natoli had a game-high 17 points to lead the charge for his side, aided by Oliver Slawinski (16 points) and Ethan Wellington (11) in a free-flowing affair. In another tight contest, Pakenham sealed qualification with a five-point win over Sandringham at home. An impressive four players reached double-figures for the Warriors, with Jarred Small and Kobe Wilson sinking 12 each, while Zachary McLean and Lachlan Smith had 10. Aiden McCarthy backed up from a good outing last week with 13 points for the Sabres, while Flynn Gaywood came in and downed 10 in his first group game. With Pakenham and Geelong playing off for first place next week, Bulleen could benefit and jump into a qualification spot with a win over Sandringham in what looks like one of the more even pools.

 

Pool 3:

Camberwell (62) defeated by Southern Peninsula (67)
Werribee (43) defeated Sunbury (39)

Three teams could finish Pool 3 with two wins after Round 3, with every side bar-Camberwell claiming wins after two games. It was a close call for ladder-leaders Southern Peninsula, as the Sharks overcame the bottom-placed Dragons by five points on Friday night. Darcy Jones and Ben Fisher again bore a most of the scoring load with 14 points each, while Corey Hastings improved on his Round 1 output with 12 points for Southern Peninsula. Sam Veitch (16 points) was again important for their opponents, supported by Liam O’Hoy (12 points) and Lochlan Redford (10). In the round’s other game, Werribee got on the board with a close win over its nearest rivals, Sunbury in a low-scorer. Feloni Ngata downed a game-high 11 points for the Devils, with Mitchell Smith‘s eight the next best for their side. For Sunbury, both Ryder Rousch and David Angove netted 10 points each as the only Jets to reach double digits. Werribee looks likely to proceed alongside Southern Peninsula as it hosts bottom-side Camberwell in Round 3, but could hit a snag given the closeness of the group. Meanwhile, the Sharks host Sunbury and will set them a difficult task in getting out of the group to see out proceedings.

 

Pool 4:

Diamond Valley 2 (29) defeated by Whittlesea (44)
Keilor (77) defeated Dandenong 2 (47)

With Keilor having all-but secured promotion and Diamond Valley 2 at the bottom, a battle for second spot is set to take place after Round 2 proceedings in Pool 4. The Thunder produced the biggest margin of the round in the top of the table clash, trouncing Dandenong by 30 points in an awesome scoring display. It was a slightly different story in the clash between Diamond Valley 2 and Whittlesea, with the bottom side managing just 29 points to the Pacers’ 44 as they were ruled out of contention. The Eagles now host a red-hot Keilor side, while Dandenong 2 and Whittlesea will battle it out for second place to close out the round in what should be a cracker.

Weekend preview: MUVJBL Boys – Crossover Round 2

ROUND 2 in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) boys competitions looks to be a one that will define most pools across the Under 16 and 18 AA groups, with plenty of Round 1 winners set to try their hand against those who went down last week. Still, three top-of-the-table clashes will also take place across the weekend’s action.

Under 18:

Pool 1:

A top-of-the-table clash looms to kick off proceedings in Pool 1, as Melbourne Tigers travels to Diamond Valley to take on the Eagles’ second team. Having accounted for Latrobe last time out, the Tigers are sitting pretty atop of the able with a handy percentage advantage over their weekend opponents. That was largely thanks to sharpshooter Jordan Adams, who netted 24 points in the opener, with three of his Tiger teammates sinking nine each to put a winning score on the board. Diamond Valley 2’s close shave last week means they know how to get up in the clutch, which could well come in handy if they bring it to Melbourne as one of the side’s 0 wins has to go. The Eagles look to have the scoring power to match Melbourne across the court, with four players finishing with at least nine points in their Round 1 win. The round’s other match-up poses the two sides at the opposite end of the table against each other, with a win vital to either team’s chances of progressing. Pakenham will fancy itself away from home given its narrow margin of defeat last time out, but Latrobe’s big loss may well just be a sign of how dominant Melbourne is. Either way, a side in each game will be handed its first loss and earn its first win, giving the table some shape.

 

Pool 2:

Both Ringwood and Eltham will be looking to secure qualification with a second win in Pool 2 as they swap Round 1 opponents in the second set of fixtures on Friday. The Wildcats had a massive win to open their account as they trampled Knox by 27 points to secure top spot. That was on the back of Nicolas Uzelac and Matt Debney both posting more than 20 points, and they will look to boss the boards once again against a Wangaratta side that did not quite put it together around the paint in Round 1. Victors in that outing, Ringwood host Knox and will be looking to bring the same intent into Round 2. The Hawks had a good spread of scorers last week as five players claimed over eight points for the night, while the Raiders had just two players net over 10 points as they went down handily. It will certainly be make or break for the two bottom sides, while the top two would be hopeful of edging a step closer to automatic qualification with another win.

 

Pool 3:

As is the case in Pool 2, the Pool 1’s opening round winners will be swapping opponents in their second outings as they look forward to a final-round clash. Diamond Valley put a firm stamp on its automatic qualification credentials with a resounding 42-point win, which will be hard to beat in this week’s clash with McKinnon. Easily the highest scorers of the week across all pools, the Eagles look the early favourites to soar into the championship division. While they lost their opening effort, the McKinnon side will be hopeful of bouncing back in what looks like a strong group as their qualification hopes are still alive. That is also the case for Blackburn, but the Vikings face a tough task in the form of Eltham 2, with the Wildcats fielding two strong line-ups in the competition. Caleb Bruggeman was the big scorer in Round 1 with his 18 points for Eltham, with he and his Wildcat teammates looking to follow from Diamond Valley’s example, which could even propel them to top spot. If that is the case, a final round clash with the Eagles looks set to be a belter. With the group shaping up like Pool 2, now would be a good time for the two bottom sides to throw a spanner in the works and make Round 3 interesting.

 

Pool 4:

A top-of-the-table clash is set to open Round 2 in Pool 4, as Collingwood hosts Sandringham. Both sides had wins in excess of 10 points last week to pit them just three per cent apart, with four players on either side reaching double figures in the scoring stakes. Leaders Collingwood overcame Geelong in that game, but it was not all bad for the Supercats as they managed to post a respectable 55 points. They travel this week to face bottom-placed Dandenong 2, with the Rangers coming off their 11-point loss to Sandringham in the opener. It looks a matter of which side can gain the confidence needed on D as both bottom sides leaked points in Round 1 without having too many serious woes netting the ball in their hoop. The same sturdiness will be needed in game one between the ladder leaders, but either side’s scoring power should produce an entertaining encounter.

 

Under 16:

Frankston faces a tough task in its search for a win in Pool 1 as the Blues host table toppers, Kilsyth to open Round 2. In a similar fashion, McKinnon is set to do battle with Latrobe at home after going down to the Cobras, with the second-placed Energy looking to travel well and claim a second-straight win. The qualification could be clear as day after just the second round should both the top sides get up, but McKinnon and Frankston will be keen to get on the board.

It is a similar story in Pool 2 as Pakenham and Geelong host Sandringham and Bulleen 2 respectively after claiming wins last week. While the Warriors had a tight win over the Bulls to slip them into second, Geelong’s victory looked a little more convincing as it returned a 19-point winning margin. With automatic promotion likely to be up for grabs for either winning side, the Bulls could well be the team to throw up an upset against a strong Geelong side, while the Sabers would be keen to bounce back after going down handily.

Again, the two winning sides of Round 1 swap rivals coming into a second outing in Pool 3, with Southern Peninsula looking to add to its winning start with a win away at Camberwell. The Dragons are no slouches though, having narrowly gone down to Sunbury last time out, and will give themselves every chance to get on the board at home. Meanwhile, Werribee will be looking for a similar outcome as it hosts Sunbury to see out Round 2. This looks the group most likely to have a winner drop points as both games were reasonably tight, so expect a couple of hot contests as the round robin heats up.

Pool 4 breaks the fixturing trend as a top of the table clash rounds out the second lot of games, with Keilor hosting Dandenong 2. While the Thunder’s winning margin was double that of the Rangers, anything can happen and this group looks to be another tight one. A Rangers win would keep the group interesting, with both sides in the first game of the round surely confident in their chances of securing their first win. Plenty Valley 2 fared slightly better than its counterpart from Whittlesea, but the Pacers posted a slightly higher score in their loss. Either way, one team is set to create a mid-table battle going into Round 3.

MUVJBL U16 Girls: Crossover Round 1 Review

CONTENDERS have separated themselves from the trailing pack in as early as Round 1 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16 Girls AA division, with clear top two’s forming in all but one of the pools after big wins, as the slimmest margin of victory was eight points.

Pool 1: 
Dandenong 2 (31) defeated by Bulleen (50)
Bendigo (70) defeated Nunawading 2 (36)

Both Bulleen and Bendigo look to be locks to progress after just one game, reeling in big wins to open tournament proceedings. Playing away at Dandenong, the Boomers came away with a comfortable 19-point victory on the back of an even spread of points across the team. Emily Maltezos and Kiralee Collings both bucketed nine points each, with Ella McIntyre (eight) and Tabitha Beston (seven) not far behind in the winning effort. Taleah Read and Breanna Granger stood up for the Rangers’ second side with eight points each as they went down, scraping into third. Meanwhile, Bendigo had the biggest win of the round as the Braves came away massive 34-point victors at home. Two players bossed the court for Bendigo, with Caitlin Richardson sinking 21 points and Kaleah Bonanno claiming 15 as April Eeles (eight points) and Pheobe Radford (seven) also chimed in. A nice spread of scorers for Nunawading saw Stephanie Georgantas star with 11 points, while Sarah Bushby had seven and Gabriella Shane, six. Winners Bendigo and Bulleen will be looking to seal qualification in Round 2 as they swap opponents, possibly setting up a first-place playoff to see out the group stage. While the Braves host Dandenong 2, Nunawading 2 plays host to Bulleen as they search for a crucial win.

 

Pool 2:
Melbourne 2 (33) defeated by Ballarat (66)
Ringwood (47) defeated Latrobe (23)

Pool 2 looks to be another group with clear top-two contenders as Ballarat and Ringwood posted comfortable wins in their opening fixtures. Ballarat had the second-greatest winning margin of the week with the 33-point win over Melbourne Tigers 2 placing them firmly in first spot. The travelling side had three big scorers on the day as Milly Simpson dropped 16, Georgia Cox sunk 15, and Jemma Amoore pitched in with 11 points. Amelie Kamberis was the only Tiger to crack double digits with her half-dozen, while Francesca Newport followed suit with six of her own in the losing effort. Ringwood’s home fixture proved more fruitful as a 24-point win saw Zoe Servinis drop 18 points, with Ella Grigg (eight points) the next best scoreboard performer. Indigo Waugh had eight points for Latrobe in a low team score, with Jaime Gallatly netting four points as the Energy struggled to keep up with Ringwood’s scoring power. Round 2 sees Latrobe travel to face an in-form Bendigo side that sits in first, while Ringwood heads into Melbourne to face the Tigers, who will be keen to bounce back from their big loss and get on the board.

 

Pool 3:
Hawthorn 2 (30) defeated by Altona (51)
Sunbury (40) defeated by Wangaratta (48)

The pursuits of both travelling sides in Pool 3 proved fruitful as Altona and Wangaratta claimed wins to open their accounts. Altona’s 21-point victory puts them top of the table with a healthy percentage as the only side in the group to notch 50 points. A trio of winners did the job for Altona, with Angelina Vi top scoring for 12 points, while Kasey Maddock had 11 and Cassie Dodemaide also broke double digits for her 10. Ruby Price proved best for the Magic as she sunk 10 points, with two players sinking four each to add to the losing total. Wangaratta’s win came in a slightly closer affair, as they ran out eight-point victors against Sunbury on the Jets’ home court. Erin Condron (11 points) and Maddison Ford (nine) hit the scoreboard hardest for the home side, as two others also netted six points despite going down. For Wangaratta, Hannah Onley was instrumental with 17 points, while Tayissa Gray hit nine points and Olivia Pearce had eight as part of a dangerous trio. Table toppers, Altona now host Wangaratta in a clash to see who is handed their first loss, while Sunbury travels to Hawthorn to decide which side can snatch its first win.

 

Pool 4:
Casey (55) defeated Southern Peninsula (43)
Bulleen 2 (43) defeated by Bellarine (55)

In an extraordinary set of events, Pool 4’s fixtures threw up a set of identical scorelines, as Casey and Bellarine claimed 12-point wins to kick off proceedings. The Cavaliers overcame Southern Peninsula at home, thanks largely to 14 points from Lucy Dexter, who was aided well by 12 points each from Talyssa Route and Dakota Crichton. Chantelle James was one who stood up for the Sharks with 12 points, leading the way from Sienna Privitera (11 points) and Bella Breen (seven). Bellarine fared well away from home as the Storm overcame Bullen’s second side in similar fashion. Charlotte Murray took on the brunt of the scoring responsibility with her 16 points, aided by Summer Field (nine points) and Aimee Wookey (eight). For the Bulls, Lilly Amor netted a huge 18 points, with Chantal Vitale sinking 12 of her own to be the next best. The winners swap opponents for Round 2, as Casey faces Bulleen on the road, and Bellarine hosts the Sharks at MSAC as the pool ladders take shape.

MUVJBL U16 Boys: Crossover Round 1 Review

ROUND 1 of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 16 boys Crossover group stage threw up a couple of lopsided results across each pool, with the biggest margin blown out to 32 points out of Pool 1, while the tightest game was decided by four points in Pool 3 as the ladders take their initial shape. Teams are looking to finish atop their group to qualify for the MUVJBL Championship division, while second and third placed sides will face a knockout match to qualify.

Pool 1:
Kilsyth (78) defeated McKinnon (46)
Latrobe (67) defeated Frankston (55)

Pool 1’s opening round results threw up an early favourite for top spot, while a battle for the second qualifying position looks to be one that may be more hotly contested. Kilsyth came up big with a comfortable 32-point win over McKinnon, scooting the hosts to the top of the standings after their first AA division outing. Wyatt Stewart was the star for the Cobras, netting 18 points alongside Seth Mccubbin (13) and Harrison Adams (11) for the winners, with Callum Hankin (12) and Luke Lyngberg (11) top scoring for McKinnon. Meanwhile, Latrobe took home the points against Frankston, with the travelling side not having enough to overcome the regional side, pitting them in third. Kody Tibballs had 19 points for the Energy, with Coby Burgiel sinking 15 and Jack Hrehoresen, 14. Frankston’s Jesse Lans had a day out with a game-high 23 points, while Tarrant Wallace contributed 10. The Blues host a red-hot Kilsyth in Round 2, with McKinnon fronting up against La Trobe in hope of securing a win and entering the race for second.

 

Pool 2:
Bulleen 2 (59) defeated by Pakenham (65)
Sandringham (40) defeated by Geelong (59)

In Pool 2, Pakenham secured a solid away win at Bulleen against the Boomers’ second side, edging their opponents by six points to slot into second. Drue Maher was the highest scorer in an even team spread with 16, while Jak Morris-Burney downed 12 and Jarred Small had 10 for the Warriors. Three players did the majority of the scoring for the home side, with Matthew Robinson (20 points) leading Oliver Slawinski (12) and Sebastian Cox (11). First place is occupied by Geelong though after the Supercats downed Sandringham by 19 points in another away win. Jamie Ryan was instrumental for Geelong with 15 points with Olivier Northam sinking 12 as the only other to break double digits. Aiden McCarthy bettered Ryan by a point for his 16, while Earl Delahunty (eight points) was Sandringham’s next best. Like in Pool 1, Round 2 will see the two sides searching for their first W meet those who have already notched a set of three points in a weekend that could decide the Pool’s standings with a game still to play. Geelong will play host to Bulleen 2 with eyes on maintaining its solid percentage, while the Sabres travel to Pakenham – meaning the two bottom sides will have to search for their first wins away from home in a make-or-break round.

 

Pool 3:
Sunbury (57) defeated Camberwell (53)
Southern Peninsula (62) defeated Werribee (52)

The tightest of the four pools at this stage, Pool 3 threw up a couple of close results with each of the home sides coming up clutch to edge over the line. It was also a round of big performances, with three players netting over 20 points for their sides. Southern Peninsula earned first spot with its 10-point win over Werribee as Darcy Jones proved the difference, and some, with his dominant 34-point display. Given Jones sunk more than half of his side’s score, Ben Fisher (13 points) was the only other one to clock double digits. Matthew Stephenson was the Devils’ best with his 20 points, as Jack Fletcher (nine) was the only other to notch over five points and get close to him. Sunbury also managed to sneak over the line against Camberwell, with three players doing the damage for the hosts. Ryder Rousch finished with 20 points alongside Israel Wilkins (11) and Rhys Davey (eight) for the winners. The Dragons had more of an even spread as Samuel Wise top scored with 16, while Sam Veitch (11), Hudson O’Keeffe (eight) and Lochlan Redford (seven) also contributed. Camberwell now faces the steep task of overcoming Jones and his Sharks albeit at home, while Werribee’s clash with Sunbury should be a belter as the Devils search for their first AA division win and Sunbury hope to secure qualification.

 

Pool 4:
Whittlesea (47) defeated by Keilor (61)
Dandenong 2 (51) 
defeated Diamond Valley 2 (44)

Keilor lead the pack in Pool 4 after accounting for hosts, Whittlesea in Mill Park to open the round. Boosted to the top of the table, the Thunder will like their chances of advancing after putting a decent total on the board. Brodie McWhinney led the way with 16 points for the winners, with Cooper Colson‘s 12 points also proving handy. Meanwhile, Matthew Ryan provided a lone hand for the Pacers with 24 points, almost exactly half of his side’s total as he was not to be outdone. In Dandenong, the Rangers’ second team got home by seven points against Diamond Valley in a tighter affair. Bowen Johnston (14 points), Jaxon Sliwinski (14) and Austin Rapp (11) shared the load for the home side, while Noah Gorgievski (10), Marley Lambert (nine), Sam Tyrrell (eight) and Hunter Somerville (seven) made up a good spread in the Eagles’ losing effort. Round 2 will see Diamond Valley host Whittlesea in a game to see who can get off the mark, while the two Round 1 winners face off in Keilor as the top two race hots up.