IN Round 2 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division, four of the five games have opponents facing off for the second time this season, including a top-of-the-table clash between Dandenong Rangers and Diamond Valley Eagles, while Keilor Thunder and Melbourne Tigers lock horns for the first time.
Bulleen Boomers (6th, 0-1) vs. Sandringham Sabres (3rd, 1-0)
Last time: Sandringham Sabres 39 defeated by Bulleen Boomers 56
In the first clash between these two sides, Bulleen Boomers ran away to a 17-point win over Sandringham Sabres on the road, but that was before the Sabres piled on the wins later in the season prior to the two-grade split. The Boomers were a standout team in the grade, and led by Aleisha Cadee (11 points) and Rebecca Horvat (10), they put in a massive team effort with nine individual scorers. For the Sabres, they had just four players register points, as Jemima O’Toole (15 points), Summer Keating (10) and Christina Roberts (nine) the key contributors. In the first round last week, Tabitha Betson sank 13 points in the rare loss, while Hannah Wickstrom (11) was the top scorer in the Sabres’ win. Sandringham’s form should have them as favourites, but Bulleen will relish in being back at home.
Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd, 1-0) vs. Dandenong Rangers (1st, 1-0)
Last time: Dandenong Rangers 61 defeated Diamond Valley Eagles 46
The two dominant teams from Round 1 face off in a top-of-the-table clash in Round 2 as Diamond Valley Eagles host Dandenong Rangers in a massive clash. The last time these two sides met, Dandenong got the points by 15 points at home, but now the tables are reversed with the Eagles hosting the game. In Dandenong’s massive 23-point thrashing of Nunawading Spectres last week, Nyadiew Puoch (19 points), Dallas Loughridge (14) and Myah Healey (12) all caused headaches for the opposition side. Meanwhile the Eagles were too good for Hawthorn Magic, downing them 50-35. Eleanor Bollands produced 17 points and Aseka Ratnayake sank 14 in a strong performance across the board. This game is set to be an exciting contest, but Dandenong deserve favouritism as they took out the National Junior Classic, and are arguably the team to beat in the competition.
Keilor Thunder (5th, 1-0) vs. Melbourne Tigers (8th, 0-1)
The only game of the round that features two opponents yet to meet is the clash between Keilor Thunder and the visiting Melbourne Tigers. The Thunder recorded a narrow five-point win over Bulleen, while Melbourne went down to Sandringham Sabres by 14. Tess Heal continued her strong season for Keilor sinking 17 points, but not too far behind her was Bella Peterson who finished the game with 12 for the Thunder. Despite the loss, Camille Letts managed nine points for the Tigers, while Neve Giddey had eight. The Tigers will need to find more avenues to scoring after posting up just 37 points in the opening round, while Keilor could also stretch the defence further, winning with just 51 on the board. Keilor have shown to have plenty of versatile scorers and will head into this home match as favourites, while Melbourne will be keen to bounce back after a disappointing showing in Round 1.
Knox Raiders (7th, 0-1) vs. Nunawading Spectres (10th, 0-1)
Last time: Knox Raiders 39 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 59
Both these sides suffered disappointing losses in Round 1, with Nunawading blown away by the might of Dandenong Rangers to the tune of 23 points, while Knox went down by 15 to Ballarat Rush. The other time these two sides met, Nunawading cruised to an easy 20-point win on the back of a great team effort from Georgia Varcoe (13 points), Tamsyn Perry (12) and Yoshika Cook (12), while the Raiders had three players reach a team-high seven points in Zoe Shaw, Paige Burrows and Kaitlyn Scott. In Round 1, Evelyn Curtis was the top scorer from the Spectres, sinking 16 points, while Gemma O’Donnell finished the match with 13 for the Raiders.
Ballarat Rush (4th, 1-0) vs. Hawthorn Magic (9th, 0-1)
Last time: Hawthorn Magic 46 defeated by Ballarat Rush 53
These two sides had very different results in Round 1, with Ballarat Rush impressing in a 15-point victory over Knox raiders, while Hawthorn Magic suffered a 15-point defeat at the hands of Diamond Valley with the equal lowest score of 35. The last time these sides met it was prior to the Magic making a remarkable dash to the Championship Division where they won the last three games of the pre-split season. The Rush accounted for them in a tight seven-point win, as Georgia Cox led the way with 16 points, while Milly Simpson scored nine in the Rush’s victory. Ashley Bell was the dominant scorer for Hawthorn, sinking 14 points. Simpson was the dominant scorer in the league as a whole in Round 1, shooting 20 points, while for the Magic, Ally Marshall and Ciarra McAlary both managed nine. Ballarat should get the job done at home one would think with Hawthorn coming into the Championship Division as the tenth ranked side, but the visitors have a way of creating some magical performances.