THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division finalists might be set in stone, but home finals, and even the minor premiership is still up for grabs in what is expected to be a huge final round.
Waverley Falcons (4th, 11-6) vs. Geelong Supercats (5th, 10-6-1)
The battle for the final spot in the top four is well and truly on with Waverley Falcons and Geelong Supercats to determine who grabs a double chance in the finals. The Falcons could even grab third if Keilor Thunder has a shock loss to Dandenong Ranges, while a loss for the Supercats could see them fall as low as eighth. The Falcons have been shaky at home with just three wins from eight games, while the Supercats are four wins and a draw from the same amount of matches on the road. Olivier Northam is the top shooter in the clash, averaging 20.6 points per game to rank second overall, while David Amum (15.6) and Tesloch Thong (13.4) are also ranked inside the top 10 after their performances so far this season for Waverley.
Bulleen Boomers (1st, 14-3) vs. Bendigo Braves (8th, 10-7)
The top eight is done and dusted, but Bendigo is still in line for a home final if the Braves can cause a monumental upset over title favourites, Bulleen Boomers. The Boomers have only dropped one game at home, while the Braves are comfortable hitting the road with six wins from eight matches. If they win, they will likely jump at least one team, while for the Boomers, a minor premiership is on the line as Bulleen is level on points with Eltham Wildcats. It is no surprise the top side has plenty of scoring options, led by top 10 shooters, Marcel Haj (17.3 points per game) and Daniel Poelsma (15.0). The Braves do have Macey Eaton inside the top 20, who is averaging 12.1 points per game this season.
Pakenham Warriors (14th, 7-9-1) vs. Latrobe Energy (12th, 8-9)
In the game that has no bearing on finals, the winner will ensure they do not finish bottom in the Championship Division. With Latrobe sitting two wins adrift of Dandenong sitting in the last finals spot, there is no chance the Energy will see past this week, but will be keen to go out on a high after four consecutive losses. The Warriors would also be keen to bounce back from a loss last week, but regardless both these teams are having their last showing for the season. Despite sitting low on the ladder, the Energy actually have a damaging trio, but much of the scoring power is relied upon them. Coby Burgiel (20.5 points per game) and Jack Hrehoresen (19.5) are ranked third and fourth respectively in the league, while Koby Tibballs (13.7) is ranked ninth. For the Warriors, the eighteenth placed Kayne Taylor is their top scorer with 11 points per game in his eight outings.
Eltham Wildcats (2nd, 14-3) vs. Knox Raiders (6th, 10-7)
This game has a fair bit of interest with the minor premiership on the line for Eltham, while Knox has the chance to secure a home final with victory. Currently sitting sixth, the Raiders will move past the Supercats if they win and Geelong lose, but cannot surpass Waverley under the head-to-head rule. The Wildcats would love to grab top spot as whichever teams falls into fourth will be an easier task than the third placed Keilor Thunder. Eltham will need to find a way to contain Raiders’ star Jordan Anderson who has been a shooting machine this season putting up 22.1 points per game. He is the top ranked shooter in the competition, while Zachary Greeves also makes his way into the top 20 with 11.9 points per game. For the Wildcats, it is a shared contribution with Kristian Ferronato (12.3 points) the only player in the top 20, but Bradley Moorey (9.9) and Anton Stratov (8.8) not far behind.
Dandenong Rangers (9th, 10-7) vs. Keilor Thunder (3rd, 12-5)
Hard to see the Rangers causing an upset against the Thunder in this game, though there is more on the line for the Rangers. They could potentially leapfrog a couple of teams and snatch a home elimination final, where a loss guarantees them eighth. For the Thunder, a win would lock up third spot, but a loss and Waverley move past them based on the Falcons’ three-point win recently. Jerome Pierre holds the key to the Rangers’ success this season, shooting 17.6 points per game, well aided by partner-in-crime Beau Tranter (13.3). For the Thunder, Brodie McWhinney (13.0) and Cooper Colson (13.0) sit in eleventh and twelfth spot on the scorers table respectively.