ROUND 6 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division looks set to be a tight one with six teams in the top-eight facing with a max of two spots separating them in the standings. The Bulleen Boomers look to host the game of the round this week when they face Diamond Valley Eagles at home. The contest between Keilor Thunder and the Nunawading Spectres also looks to impress alongside another significant match-up between the Ballarat Rush and Sandringham Sabres.
Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 10-2-2) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd, 11-3)
The match of the round kicks off this week between the Bulleen Boomers and the Diamond Valley Eagles at Mullum Mullum. Last week Bulleen fell short in a rare draw against the fourteenth placed Raiders on the road – a match-up most of the league saw them winning. Diamond Valley pulled up well in their contest against Ballarat, consolidating themselves in second as they chase for the number one spot. On the road, the Eagles have been in-form, collecting just the one loss from six outings. Similarly, Bulleen’s record at home has also been one of best at home, recording six wins, one loss and a draw over the season. Tabitha Betson has been a huge contributor to Bulleen’s recent success, recording 12.5 points per game (PPG) from four outings in the Championship Division. The Bulleen star currently boasts seventh spot for league scoring, while teammate, Ella McIntyre, holds strong in 16th spot with 10 PPG. For Diamond Valley, Eleanor Bollands has been immense with 13.8 PPG, sitting in fourth across the league. Aeska Ratnayake has also been a solid performer across her three games, sitting in nineteenth with 9.7 PPG.
Keilor Thunder (4th, 10-4) vs Nunawading Spectres (6th, 9-5)
The tight match-ups continue with the Keilor Thunder hosting the Nunawading Spectres. Since joining the Championship Division, the Thunder have won three of their five outings which include wins against top-four rivals, Bulleen and Diamond Valley. Though in Round 5, Keilor received a slight reality check then they copped a fair loss against league-leaders, Dandenong, at home. This week they face Nunawading, who have picked up consecutive wins since returning from the break. With what they have shown thus far, both teams are definitely deserving of the top-four. Though against a 7-1 away record, it seems unlikely that Keilor will be the ones to climb this week. Keilor currently boast the top league scorer in Tess Heal who’s been averaging 17.8 PPG from five appearances, while Jaz Salon and Bella Peterson also holds spot in the top-20 with 10.4 and 10.3 PPG respectively. Though despite their efforts, the Spectres only hold one player on the list with Olivia Morris averaging 10.4 PPG. Madison Sinclair (9.2) and Evelyn Curtis (9.2) have also been in fair form, sitting twenty-second and twenty-third across the league.
Ballarat Rush (7th, 8-6) vs Sandringham Sabres (5th, 9-4-1)
The Ballarat Rush hope to re-join the winner’s list this week as they come up against the Sandringham Sabres at home. The Rush have suffered consecutive losses since returning from the break, falling to quality opposition in Bulleen and Diamond Valley. While not as high in the standings, the Sabres aim to pose a similar threat as they themselves push for a top-four spot. In the first two rounds of the Championship Division, the Sabres managed wins over Melbourne and Bulleen. Though since then have not snared a win. A win matters plenty for both sides as plenty opposition push for their positions on the tables. Milly Simpson leads scoring for Ballarat with 11.3 PPG in twelfth for league-scoring. However, unlike Sandringham, Ballarat do not have another player in the top 20 with Rosie Todd just missing the cut in 21st with 9.3 PPG. The Sabres boast several scoring utilities with Hannah Wickstrom picking up 13.8 PPG in third, alongside Summer Keating (10) and Jemima O’Toole (9.8) rounding out the top 20 in seventeenth and eighteenth spot.
Hawthorn Magic (13th, 6-7-1) vs Melbourne Tigers (8th, 7-7)
Two more sides hope to return to the winners list this week as the Hawthorn Magic face the Melbourne Tigers at home. Last week, the Magic caused a major upset against the Sandringham Sabres in a 47-47 tie. Though Hawthorn’s record at home has been a talking point this season, collecting just the two wins from six appearances. Similarly, the Melbourne Tigers have struggled away, having recorded three wins from eight games – though came close to upsetting the Nunawading Spectres in Round 5. For Hawthorn, Ally Marshall has been in top form with 14.2 PPG in second spot for league scoring, alongside Amy Ohara who sits 11th for league scoring with 11.8. Leila Davis has been a tough utility for the Tigers in the new division, sitting sixth with 13 PPG with Amy Kurkowski following close on 12 from her three appearances.
Knox Raiders (14th, 5-7-2) vs Dandenong Rangers (1st, 13-1)
Sitting two wins ahead of the rest of the competition, the Dandenong Rangers look ready to increase their lead when they face the Knox Raiders on the road. The Raiders remain undefeated in the Championship Division with eight consecutive wins and an undefeated record on the road (9-0-0). Comparatively, the Raiders do not match up, holding neither a preference for home (2-3-1) or away (3-4-1) with poor records for both. The Raiders did manage a rare draw against Bulleen last week to upset the standings, but it’s unlikely that Dandenong will suffer similarly. Jaida Reid only just makes up the top-20 for league scoring in 20th with 9.3 PPG. Gemma O’Donnell follows next with 8.8 from four outings. For the Rangers, Dallas Loughridge leads scoring in fifth spot with 13 PPG, followed by Nyadiew Puoch eighth with 12.5 and Myah Healey in ninth with 12.