THE top two sides at the end of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division have been determined with Bulleen Boomers and Eltham Wildcats now two wins clear of third placed Keilor Thunder after wins on the weekend.
The Wildcats saw off the Thunder in the second and third clash at Eltham High. The Wildcats opened with a big first half to race away to a 14-point lead at the main break, before Keilor hit back with a 19-13 third term to cut the deficit to single digits. Eltham steadied in the final term to take control, winning the quarter 14-10 and the match, 59-47 to guarantee a top two spot. Zahn Agosta posted 16 points for the winners, while Bradley Moorey assisted with 13. For the Thunder, Cooper Colson sank 18 points, while Brodie McWhinney finished with 11.
Bulleen Boomers maintained top spot with a round to go thanks to a comprehensive win on the road against Dandenong Rangers. The Boomers slammed home 28 points to 12 in the first term, with an almost as impressive 20-12 second quarter. It meant the visitors headed into the main break with a 24-point lead and the game all but done and dusted. They extended it out to 25 by the final break before the Rangers mounted a spirited comeback in the final term to score 18-13 in the 55-75 loss. Daniel Poelsma (22 points) was superb in the win, while Daniel Johnston (15) and Marcel Haj (13) were also impressive. For the Rangers, Jerome Pierre (23 points) continued his scoring spree this season, while Beau Tranter (13) also impressed.
Waverley Falcons jumped into the top four with a 91-45 smashing of Latrobe Energy. The Falcons took advantage of a Knox Raiders loss to grab the double chance opportunity and send the Energy out of finals contention. They dominated from the start, opening up a 12-point lead at quarter time, and blew the visitors away in the second term courtesy of a 24-2 quarter to lead by 36 points at the main break. They did not stop there, piling on 44 points to 32 in the second half to run away with the massive 46-point victory. Tesloch Thong (17 points), Nemuel Soliven (16), David Amum (16), Matt Jefferson (14) and Angus Perry (10) all reached double figures, while Koby Tibballs (18) and Coby Burgiel (15) did the bulk of the scoring for the losers.
Geelong Supercats grabbed fifth spot by leapfrogging Knox Raiders after defeating the Raiders by seven points at Knox. The Supercats opened strongly to lead by six points at the first break, but that lead was cut to just three by half-time. Geelong produced its best quarter in the third term, piling on 25-16, while Knox tried to hit back with a 24-19 last quarter, but the Supercats held on to the win, 75-68. Olivier Northam (22 points) and Harry Den Dryer (20) were crucial for the winners, while Jet Kneebone (16) and Billy Dawson (12) both found plenty of room in the paint. Jordan Anderson (23 points) and Zachary Greeves (16) were the two key scorers for Knox in the loss.
Bendigo Braves kept themselves in contention for a home final after defeating Pakenham Warriors by 12 points. The Warriors started strongly to lead by two at quarter time and four at half-time and three quarter time before the visitors clicked into gear. A massive 26-10 final term saw Bendigo finish with a flurry of points, running over the top of the Warriors and celebrating a 64-52 win. Jett Vandenberg (15 points) and Michael Kiraly (14) were the key scorers on the night, while for Pakenham, Jak Morris-Burney (11) and Lachlan Smith (10) contributed.
In the Reserve grade, Nunawading Spectres’ massive winning streak stretched to nine after downing the second best side in the grade in Hawthorn Magic, by four points on the road. Kilsyth Cobras made it three wins on the trot with an 18-point triumph over Diamond Valley Eagles, while Casey Cavaliers got up 50-46 over Southern Peninsula Sharks to make it back-to-back wins. In other results, Eltham Wildcats 2 just got over cellar dwellers Sunbury by two points, while Whittlesea Pacers moved into the eighth spot in the grade with an upset 61-53 win over Melbourne Tigers.
In the final round of action, the two non Championship Division sides who will miss finals face off with Pakenham Warriors hosting Latrobe Energy, meaning all finalists will play another finalist in the week leading up to the post-season series. Top-of-the-table Bulleen Boomers will hope to secure top spot when they play Bendigo Braves, while Eltham Wildcats have a tougher assignment against Knox Raiders if they are to overtake the Boomers. Dandenong Rangers can still grab a home final if they topple top-four bound Keilor Thunder who have the benefit of Waverley Falcons and Geelong Supercats facing off meaning only one of them can make top four with the Thunder.