MUVJBL U16 Boys review: Eltham Wildcats survive Sunbury scare

NINE of the 10 games were played in the Melbourne United Junior Basketball (MUVJBL) Under 16 Boys championship division last Friday, with the Southern Peninsula Sharks and Eltham Wildcats 2 clash rescheduled for April 1. On the court, the closest match was a four-point win to Bulleen Boomers over Waverley Falcons.

The Falcons were searching for their second win, while the Boomers had gone undefeated in the opening two rounds of the season. Travelling to Batesford Reserve, the Boomers started strongly, leading by three at the first break and extended that advantage to four by the main break. After half-time, neither team could be split with a 13-all third quarter and 20-all fourth term meaning the Boomers had escaped with the points in the 60-56 win. Daniel Poelsma led the way with 21 points for the Boomers, while Daniel Johnston sunk 13, and Cooper Fernando finished with nine. For the Falcons, it was a super trio that shared the points with Matt Jefferson (17 points), Nemuel Soliven (15) and Harvey Moore (13) all on their games up the offensive end.

Along with the Falcons, the other side to remain undefeated was Eltham Wildcats, but not without a scare from cellar dwellers, Sunbury Jets. The Jets showed fight in the opening half, reducing the Wildcats’ scoring impact to lead 6-3 at quarter time, with both sides converting 14 points apiece in the second term, the Jets still held a three-point advantage. Eltham cut into that deficit with a 15-13 third term to only trail by a point at the final break. That was when they decided to flick the switch and poured down 21 points to four in the final term to run away with a 53-37 win that did not accurately reflect the closeness of the game. Joshua Weddle and Anton Stratov both scored 10 points for the Wildcats, while Jake Egan and Ryder Rousch converted 11 points apiece for the Jets.

In other Watson Pool results, Geelong Supercats made light work of Kilsyth Cobras despite a promising second half from the Cobras. Oliver Northam (14 points), Billy Dawson (13), Jet Kneebone (12), Patrick Johnstone (11) and Harry Den Dryver (10) all went to work against Kilsyth in the 74-43 win. Nathan Blackman (13 points) and Zachary Fitzpatrick (11) were the top Cobras in the heavy defeat. Melbourne Tigers celebrated their first win of the season with a 56-48 point game that had its share of high and low scoring, with a 58-point second term and a one-point final term. Kai Garnant (12 points) and Blake Shankland (13) were the top scorers for Melbourne and Casey respectively. In the final game, Pakenham Warriors secured a 67-58 away win over Hawthorn Magic. Level at half-time, the likes of Kayne Taylor (19 points) went to work as they shared around the ball with Drue Maher (12) also contributing. For the Magic, Jarryd Remy (14) was one of four Magic players to reach double figures in the points column.

In four games played for the Ashe Pool, it was the six-point win to Keilor Thunder over Diamond Valley Eagles that caught the eye. The Thunder raced away to a seven-point lead at quarter time, and extended that to 11 by half-time and 12 by the main break. The Eagles fought back in the final stanza with a 23-17 term, but it was too little, too late for the visitors, going down 63-69. Brodie McWhinney and Cooper Colson continued their good form in 2019 with 14 points apiece, while Deklan O’Toole sank 13 as well for the Thunder. For Diamond Valley, Isaac Callaghan was the prime mover with 16 points, while Jack Miles (14) and Matthew Marinucci (10) were also prominent on the scoring end.

The three other matches were blowouts, with Knox Raiders, Latrobe Energy and Nunawading Spectres all recording easy wins. The Raiders never looked like losing to the Dandenong Rangers, with a 46-19 first half to finish with an 81-58 win. Jordan Anderson sank 31 points in a terrific effort, while Tejaye Kleverkamp and Luke Guerra assisted with 10 each. Jerome Pierre was once again the standout scorer for the Rangers with 17 points. The Energy also recorded an easy 32-point win, defeating Bendigo Braves 76-44, winning every quarter on the way to the big win. The double trouble of Luke Hrehoresen and Coby Burgiel was on show again for the home side with 19 points, while Koby Tibballs stood up as well sinking 15. For the Braves, Liam O’Brien was the sole scorer into double figures with 10 points. The Spectres were far too good for the Whittlesea Pacers, producing a commanding 78-43 victory. Tristan Devers, Jose Fakalata and Dean Simos all finished with 14 points for the Spectres, while Luke Fakhri (16) points was the top scorer for the Pacers.

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