THE Eltham Wildcats displayed genuine dominance in Round 9 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys competition after thumping the Knox Raiders (66-30), earning top-spot and their sixth consecutive win. The Raiders’ poor scoring capacity had the visitors trailing by 20 points at the main break (37-17). In the third, they recorded their best score as Eltham extended their lead to five, before dipping to just one point in the closer (12-1). Bradley Moorey and Harrison Stones were standouts for Eltham, recording 16 and 12 points respectively. Across the league, Moorey’s efforts lift him to twentieth spot for points per game (PPG) with 10.6. Lachlan Heron was the only Knox player to hit double-digits with 10 points, followed next by Zachary Greeves on eight. Though despite a poor result the Raiders will still play finals, finishing in seventh place for the regular season.
Bulleen Boomers’ record at home (8-1-0) remains near perfect as they closed out the season with a 77-49 win over the Bendigo Braves. The result marks their fifth consecutive win, equalling their 15-3 record with Eltham in second-place. Remarkably, Bulleen finish with most points scored throughout the Championship Division, while top-end rivals, Eltham, finish with the least points conceded. Their effort against The Braves showed their incredible capacity to score, recording 17, 19, 19 and 22 across each term. Marcel Haj was at his usual best, hitting 17 points, alongside Will Rimmington‘s 14. Haj goes on to finish fourth in the league for PPG, with 17.2 from nine outings. For the Braves, Edward Hayes held strong to score 13 points, while Macey Eaton‘s five points keeps him in touch with the top 20.
In the most stunning result to record in the lead-up to finals, the Dandenong Rangers managed a 43-43 tie against the third-placed, Keilor Thunder. Of their last four games, both teams have won a single game each, both against the Latrobe Energy in ninth place. In the match-up, Keilor owned the first half, recording 12-8 in both terms. The Thunder’s eight-point lead shortened to six in the third as the Rangers hit back with 12-10, before slipping even further with a 15-9 closer. For Dandenong, Beau Tranter was standout, recording 15 points to finish eleventh across the league, while Jerome Pierre hit eight to close out the top-five. For Keilor, Cooper Colson was dominant on the floor recording 23 points, beside Nikolas Ellul‘s 10. Colson’s efforts place him in tenth at the season’s end.
The tightest match-up of the round pitted the Waverley Falcons against the Geelong Supercats, with the Falcons getting the better at home with a 66-58 victory. With their second win in a fortnight and a dominant 8-1-0 away record, Waverley’s second chance for finals seems better placed without a home fixture. In the contest, both teams came out strong (20-18). While numbers dipped in the second, Geelong kept the margin to four at the break. In the third, Waverley conceded their first (13-15), but struck back hard in the fourth (19-13) to close out the win. David Amum and Matt Jefferson were pivotal for the Falcons, recording 16 and 13 points respectively. Amum finishes the league in sixth with 15.7 PPG, while Geelong’s Olivier Northam finishes in second with an 18-point performance. Jet Kneebone also impressed with 14.
Unfortunately, the result between the Latrobe Energy and Pakenham Warriors bared no weighting for finals, with Latrobe’s 73-65 win still keeping them one out of the eight. In the contest, Latrobe led by a point at the main break (31-32) after fair scoring from both ends. They recorded a game-high 29 points in the third, before falling to an 18-12 margin and subsequent victory. Coby Burgiel finishes the league on top with a 30-point domination, followed close by Kody Tibballs with 25, moving to eighth. For Pakenham, Drue Maher finished his season right with a team-high 24 points, while Lachlan Smith and Zachary McLean followed next with 11 each.
In the Reserve Grade, the Diamond Valley Eagles earned a 60-52 win over Melbourne Tigers, Kilsyth Cobras clinched a 74-71 win over the Sunbury Jets, and Eltham Wildcats lost 48-79 against Hawthorn Magic. The regular season ended with the Southern Peninsula Sharks losing 53-78 against the Nunawading Spectres, and the Whittlesea Pacers beating the Casey Cavaliers (68-60).
In the Championship Division, the elimination finals kick off with the Geelong Supercats hosting the Bendigo Braves, and the Dandenong Rangers hosting the Knox Raiders. The qualifying finals follow soon after with the Eltham Wildcats hosting the Waverley Falcons, and the Bulleen Boomers hosting Keilor Thunder.