THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division nears its close as the Keilor Thunder face the Dandenong Rangers in the Grand Final.
Despite finishing three wins below their championship competitors, Keilor proved the better side in the qualifiers to knock off Dandenong 47-42. The Rangers proceeded to a semi-final with Sandringham and then subsequent preliminary against Diamond Valley, where they recorded four and two-point wins. Keilor remained dominant following their break with a 28-point victory over the second-placed Bulleen Boomers. The pair prepare to face for the fourth time in 2019, with Keilor holding a two to one record over the league-leaders. 2019 Under-16 National athletes, Tess Heal and Jaz Salon boasted outstanding performances in week one, recording 18 and 12 points respectively, while fellow Under-16 National, Nyadiew Puoch (12) held strong for Dandenong.
Heal has been the league’s most dominant scorer all season – ranking first with 18.7 points per game (PPG) and 206 overall points. Puoch trails just behind in second with 14.1, while Dallas Loughridge sits in third with 12.8. The match-up is made more interesting by Salon’s position in fifth at 11.3 – making this the biggest potential shootout of the year. Puoch and Loughridge proved standout in the semi-finals, recording 20 points each against Sandringham, while Puoch reached 16 alongside in Grace Montgomery (14) in last week’s preliminary. Though neither could match Tess Heal’s fire power as she recorded a huge 27 points against Bulleen, with Salon also impressing with 16 of her own.
The Grand Final kicks off tonight at 9:10pm at the State Basketball Centre – Court 4, with some of the MUVJBL’s best battling it out in the most anticipated game of the season.