THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) makes way for the third round of finals this week with the Diamond Valley Eagles set to take on the Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum Stadium and Keilor Thunder looking to cement their spot in the Grand Final when they face Bulleen Boomers at Broadmeadows Stadium.
Diamond Valley Eagles (3rd, 14-4) vs Dandenong Rangers (1st, 17-1)
League-leaders Dandenong Rangers progressed to the preliminaries last week to face the Diamond Valley Eagles. After falling in a shock loss to Keilor two weeks ago, the Rangers worked hard to respond against Sandringham (69-65). The four-point victory came off the back of a big second half – scoring 41-28 after conceding 28-37 in the opening terms. Comparatively, Diamond Valley were at the positive end of an upset in their win over Bulleen (39-53), enjoying a week off during the semi-finals. Genevieve Broadbent stood up in the Eagles’ low scoring finals affair against Bulleen to record a game-high 11 points. Despite only recording five points last fortnight, Eleanor Broadbent remains Diamond Valley’s most consistent shooter – averaging 15 points per game (PPG) in fifteenth across the league. For the Rangers, three players boasts spots inside the top 20. Nyadiew Puoch and Dallas Loughridge sit third and fourth for PPG with 13.9 and 13.6 respectively. Myah Healey holds the twentieth spot with 9.3 PPG from 10 outings.
Keilor Thunder (4th, 13-5) vs Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 13-3-2)
After the biggest MUVJBL upset in the first round of finals, Keilor Thunder look to continue their top form against a similarly damaging Bulleen Boomers. Much like Dandenong, Bulleen fell in the first round against a lower side. In the second round, they returned to form against Ballarat to record a comfortable 15-point win (70-65). Keilor also proved damaging over Dandenong in the week prior – defeating the league-leaders with fair numbers in the second and third terms. Keilor’s Tess Heal and Jaz Salon were at their usual best last fortnight – recording 18 and 12 points respectively. Currently, Heal leads the league in PPG with 17.9, while Salon holds in ninth (10.8) and Bella Peterson follows close in twelfth (10.3). The Boomers boasted huge performances from Tabitha Betson and Emily Maltezos last week, as the paired picked up 19 points each alongside an impressive Kobie Kino (13). Betson currently holds the only top-20 spot for Bulleen, sitting in eighteenth with 9.4 PPG.