UNLIKE the other grades, Round 2 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys sees opponents facing off for the first time this season, having come from opposite pools prior to the two-grade split to make the Championship Division.
Geelong Supercats (6th, 0-1) vs. Dandenong Rangers (10th, 0-1)
Both Geelong and Dandenong suffered losses in Round 1, with the Supercats going down by just four points to Latrobe Energy, while the Rangers suffered the heaviest defeat of the round, losing to Waverley Falcons by 20. Billy Dawson was impressive for the Supercats in Round 1 with 19 points, while Olivier Northam finished with 15. For the Rangers, Jerome Pierre continued his strong season, albeit with a lower score than his 19.8 points per game average, sinking 12 in the opening round loss. Having the home ground advantage, one would expect the Supercats to stand up, especially comparing first round results, but they will need to find a way to stop Pierre. Geelong has a number of scoring options and will look to be unpredictable going forward.
Bendigo Braves (9th, 0-1) vs. Eltham Wildcats (4th, 1-0)
After a 14-point Round 1 loss to Keilor Thunder, Bendigo Braves will be keen to make a statement in their second consecutive home game. This time they take on Eltham Wildcats who recorded a 13-point win over Pakenham Warriors. Anton Stratov was superb in the opening game, finishing with 23 points in a standout performance, while Macey Eaton (18) and Jacob Nihill (17) were a couple of strong players from the losing Braves’ side. Bendigo will need to find more avenues to score in this game having posted the equal lowest score in Round 1, however the Wildcats had the lowest winning score of the round meaning the match could end up a low-scoring scramble.
Keilor Thunder (2nd. 1-0) vs. Pakenham Warriors (7th, 0-1)
Keilor Thunder were the best defensive performing side of Round 1 on their way to a 14-point win over Bendigo Braves, restricting the home side to an equal competition-low 47 points. The other team to score 47 in the round was Pakenham as they fell to Knox Raiders in a similar scoreline. Now hitting the road against one of the title contenders, the Warriors will need to be at their best to post a win. Cooper Colson (19 points) was the star for the Thunder in Round 1, while Drue Maher (10 points) was the top scorer for the Warriors. The Thunder will head in as favourites and keen to post their second consecutive win, with an impressive victory in front of home fans.
Knox Raiders (3rd, 1-0) vs. Waverley Falcons (1st, 1-0)
The match of the round will be the top three clash between ladder leaders Waverley Falcons, and third placed Knox Raiders. The Falcons dominated Dandenong Rangers in the highest scoring effort of Round 1, posting 74 points on their way to a huge 20-point win. Knox Raiders were not too far behind with a 15-point win over Bulleen Boomers, posting up 66 points themselves. Nemuel Soliven (19 points), Matt Jefferson (16) and David Amum (14) all contributed in the big win in what was a terrific team effort, while Jordan Anderson (15), Zachary Greeves (14) and Blake Stratton (12) were equally as productive across the board for the Raiders. This game has the hallmarks of a thriller which could be high-scoring on both ends with plenty of versatility in forward half shooters. Waverley might be favourites after the first round win, but Knox is at home and could be determined as equal favourites in this one.
Latrobe Energy (5th, 1-0) vs. Bulleen Boomers (8th, 0-1)
Latrobe Energy got up in a thrilling four-point win over Geelong Supercats in the opening round, while Bulleen Boomers were knocked off by Knox Raiders in a 15-point defeat. The Energy are quite strong at home and it showed against quality opposition in Round 1, and they will hope to repeat the dose against Bulleen in Round 2. The Boomers are a strong side who will want to bounce back from a disappointing defeat against quality opposition, and the key will be stopping a couple of Latrobe’s prime movers. Jack Hrehoresen (25 points) scored a round-high points tally in the Energy’s win, teaming well with Coby Burgiel (19) as the pair has all season. Daniel Poelsma (16 points) and Daniel Johnston (12) were the top scoring Boomers in the loss. Latrobe go in as favourites, but if Bulleen can restrict the influence of the Energy’s damaging duo, it will go a long way to winning the match.