DESPITE some surprising results in the final round of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16 Boys championship division, the top five teams in each pool at the start of Round 9 were the teams to advance through to the next stage. Everything was all but certain barring a massive win and a heavy loss in the Watson Pool, but that did not happen and the top 10 sides moved through to the championship division, while the bottom 10 sides head off to the Reserve division.
Knox Raiders 51 defeated by Bendigo Braves 71
Southern Peninsula Sharks 55 defeated by Keilor Thunder 73
Whittlesea Pacers 47 defeated by Diamond Valley Eagles 58
Dandenong Rangers 77 defeated Latrobe Energy 58
Eltham Wildcats 2 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 78
With the top five done and dusted heading into the final round, all eyes turned to the top-of-the-table clash between Knox Raiders and Bendigo Braves. The Raiders were yet to lose, and could not be knocked out of top spot, but it did not deter the Braves who claimed a bragging-rights win, 71-51. Macey Eaton dominated with 33 points for the Braves, while Jordan Anderson continued his good season form with 16 for the Raiders. Dandenong Rangers head into the championship division full of confidence on the back of four straight wins, including a victory over fifth placed Latrobe Energy. Jerome Pierre (24 points) and Dennis Ameti (22) were dominant for the Rangers, while Coby Burgiel (26) and Jack Hrehoresen (16) were also impressive in some of the top shooters in the competition going head-to-head. Meanwhile Keilor Thunder also headed into the next stage with confidence, defeating Southern Peninsula Sharks, 73-55. Cooper Colson sank 26 points for the Thunder, marginally shading the Sharks’ Darcy Jones (22). In other results, Diamond Valley Eagles defeated Whittlesea Pacers by 11 points, as Corey Rutherford scored 11 himself in the win, while Matthew Ryan (13) topscored for the Pacers. Nunawading Spectres also upset Eltham Wildcats 2 for the Spectres second win of the season, triumphing in an impressive 78-60 win. Tristan Devers (24 points), Dean Simos (22) and Jose Fakalata (20) all combined to outscore the Wildcats, while Brody Glenn (22) was the top scorer for the losing side.
Hawthorn Magic 75 defeated Melbourne Tigers 73
Pakenham Warriors 59 defeated Casey Cavaliers 49
Kilsyth Cobras 70 defeated by Bulleen Boomers 84
Sunbury Jets 52 defeated by Waverley Falcons 61
Eltham Wildcats 57 defeated Geelong Supercats 50
Of the sides most unlucky to miss out on a spot, Hawthorn Magic notched up four wins in the season to just miss out on on a top five spot. They defeated Melbourne Tigers in the final round to ensure they finished out right sixth, winning 75-53. Ned Caldwell scored with 18 points and was one of five players in the Magic line-up to record double-figure point tallies, while Fred Hayne also scored 18 points in Melbourne’s loss. It was a lot closer than they would have liked, but the Falcons secured fifth spot with the much-needed win over bottom of the ladder, Sunbury Jets. The Falcons won 61-52, with Nemuel Soliven leading the way with 20 points, while David Angove and Isaac Fofana both scored 12 for the Jets. Ninth placed Kilsyth Cobras came agonisingly close to causing the upset of the season against the undefeated Bulleen Boomers. Trailing by just two points at half-time, the Cobras stayed with the Boomers for the most part, but Bulleen’s class shone through with a 46-34 second half to be the difference. Marcel Haj posted a game-high 25 points for the winners, while Daniel Poelsma (17) and Will Rimmington (16) also got amongst the points, as did Kilsyth’s Harrison Adams (19). In other results, Eltham Wildcats stole second spot off Geelong Supercats courtesy of a 57-50 victory. Kristian Ferronato (19 points) did all the damage, while Geelong had a two-prong attack with Jamie Ryan (17) and Jet Kneebone (16) reaching double figures in defeat. Meanwhile Pakenham Warriors secured another win with a 10-point victory over Casey Cavaliers. The Warriors shared the points around in the 59-49 win, with Jak Morris-Burney (14 points) leading the way, while Archer McMenamin (10) reached double figures for Casey.