THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division tips off the Preliminary finals this week, with Eltham Wildcats going head-to-head against Dandenong Rangers, and Bulleen Boomers facing the Waverley Falcons.
Eltham Wildcats (1st, 15-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-7-1)
The first preliminary pits the Eltham Wildcats against the Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum Stadium with the Rangers facing their biggest challenge yet after picking up wins over Knox (61-54) and Keilor (56-51). The Rangers came through in the last term against the Thunder, stretching their one-point lead to four on their way into this week. In the week prior, the Wildcats proved better over Waverley (79-69) to enjoy some time off during the Semi-finals. Eltham will rely heavily on Kristian Ferronato to maintain his efforts at the board – leading his side with 12 points per game (PPG) from eight outings, while Bradley Moorey trails with 11.1 PPG from nine. In last fortnight’s clash, the pair led their side with 18 and 15 points respectively, with Harrison Stones also impressing in the paint (13). Jerome Pierre and Beau Tranter have both had solid years for Dandenong. Currently, the pair sit ninth and tenth for PPG with 14.6 and 14.5 PPG respectively. Last week, Tranter carried his team into a preliminary final with 18 points, following on from his 21 points the week prior.
Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 15-3) vs Waverley Falcons (4th, 12-6)
For the last spot in the Grand Final, the Bulleen Boomers go head-to-head with the Waverley Falcons. Last week, the Falcons revived their finals chances following a 71-65 win over Geelong. Both sides shot consistently for four terms, with Waverley’s biggest lead coming in the final term. Comparatively, Bulleen earned their spot in the preliminaries with one of the largest margins seen in the MUVJBL this year, defeating Keilor 90-40 with six players recording double digits in the win. Will Rimmington (17), Daniel Johnston (16), Marcel Haj (10) and Copper Ferdinando (10) all stepped up in Bulleen’s big win last fortnight, while Daniel Poelsma led from the front with 22 points – carrying him to seventh for PPG with Haj above in fourth.The Falcons currently boast four players in the top 20 for PPG with David Amum (15.5), Matt Jefferson (11.9), Tesloch Thong (11.5) and Nemuel Soliven all placing. Last week, Soliven led the Falcons with 17 points, followed next by Jefferson (14) and Amum (12), and will look to do the same this week against an in-form line-up.