THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division kicked off finals this week with the Eltham Wildcats defeating Waverley Falcons in the first qualifier (79-69). Eltham proceed into the preliminary while Waverley look to use their second chance next week. In the match-up, Waverley was competitive early, following 22-20 at quarter-time. In the second, their efforts dipped as the Wildcats continued to a game-high 26-7. Despite a good response in the third (11-25), Waverley’s rebound could not affect the win. For the Wildcats, Kristian Ferronato (18 points) and Bradley Moorey (15) controlled the floor. With 12 points per game, Ferronato remains Eltham’s most consistent scorer and a threat heading deeper into finals. David Amum (18) led for Waverley and was accompanied well by Matt Jefferson (15). Amum’s performance moves him to fifth for PPG (15.9) in his tenth consecutive game in the Championship Division.
The second Qualifying Final saw the Bulleen Boomers advance into the preliminaries following a 50-point thrashing over Keilor Thunder. In the contest, Bulleen controlled from the very beginning. They set the tone with 25-4 in the first, before slowing to 16-6 in the second. By the main break, Bulleen led 41-10 – scoring Keilor’s total score by the first half. Although Keilor managed double-digits for consecutive terms in the second half, it was not enough to contend. Bulleen boasted plenty standouts in the win, with Will Rimmington (17), Daniel Johnston (16) and Joe Foxwell (15) all cracking above 10 points. Though most impressive was Daniel Poelsma, who moves to seventh spot for PPG (15.3) following his game-high 22 points. For Keilor, Cooper Colson managed 10 points, followed next by Xavier Maye and Jackson Djatschenko with seven each.
The first of the eliminations occurred after Dandenong Rangers defeated the Knox Raiders (61-54). The Rangers advance into the semi-finals as the Raiders season reaches its conclusion. At Batesford Reserve, Dandenong was keen to set the pace. They controlled both sides of the floor, scoring 16 and 19 in the first half, while keeping the Raiders below 10 in both. The Raiders took over in the second half, winning consecutive terms (16-22, 10-17), but could not escape their poor openers to snare the win. Beau Tranter starred for the Rangers with a team-high 22 points and finished the only Dandenong player over 10 points. Tyson Leys finished next best with eight. For the Raiders, Jordan Anderson earned a game-high 27 points, followed next by Lachlan Heron‘s 14. Anderson finishes his season in second place for PPG with 20.4 from 10 outings.
The last Elimination Final saw the Geelong Supercats earned a 74-54 win over Bendigo Braves. The Melton affair seemed over fast for the Braves, having conceded 18-9 in the first term. Like the rest, Bendigo’s first half took them out of the contest despite some valiant efforts in the second half. Both teams lifted in the closers, but the Braves were just unable to shut down on defense. For the Supercats, Jet Kneebone led the way with 19 points, followed next by the league’s third best scorer in Olivier Northam (16). Northam currently averages 19.9 PPG from 10 outings, while Kneebone follows on 12.6. Jacob Nihil proved good in attack for Bendigo, picking up a team-high 18 points. Michael Kiraly also impressed on his way to 11 points in his last for the season.
In the Reserve grade, the Diamond Valley Eagles defeated the Eltham Wildcats (61-49), the Nunawading Spectres fell short to Casey Cavaliers (45-58), Kilsyth Cobras lost 53-56 against the Whittlesea Pacers and Hawthorn Magic closed out the round with a 64-53 win over Melbourne Tigers. In the semi-finals for the Championship Division, Waverley Falcons face the Dandenong Rangers and Keilor Thunder face Geelong Supercats. The Eltham Wildcats and Bulleen Boomers advance into the Preliminary Finals.