THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division pits the Bulleen Boomers against the Ballarat Rush and the Dandenong Rangers against the Sandringham Sabres for the long awaited semi-finals.
Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 13-3-2) vs Ballarat Rush (7th, 8-10)
The Bulleen Boomers kick things off against Ballarat Rush in Keilor. Last week, the Rush were one of two top two teams to fall in the first week of finals after losing 39-53 against the Diamond Valley Eagles. The Rush will play their second game in Keilor within the fortnight after defeating the Nunawading Spectres there last week (46-56). While effective for Bulleen throughout the year, Ella McIntyre (8.3), Tabitha Betson (8.3) and Emily Maltezos (8.2) all remain outside the top 20 for points per game (PPG). Last week, no Bulleen player managed over 10 points, with Aleisha Cadee leading on eight. For Ballarat, Georgia Cox (20) had a standout game last week. Cox currently leads her side for PPG (11.5), followed next by Milly Simpson on 11.3. With a spot in the preliminaries on the line, the pair are expected to lift.
Dandenong Rangers (1st, 17-1) vs Sandringham Sabres (5th, 11-6-1)
The second semi-final sees the Dandenong Rangers up against the Sandringham Sabres at Batesford Reserve. Despite seeming untouchable all year, the Rangers pulled up short in the qualifiers to lose to Keilor by five points (42-47). Comparatively, the Sabres snared their third consecutive win in their qualifier, defeating the Melbourne Tigers by the second biggest margin of the round (63-50). Nyadiew Puoch has been Dandenong’s most consistent scorer all year with a 13.2 average in fourth place for PPG, and a solid performance in last week’s loss (12). Dallas Loughridge trails close in sixth with 12.9, making Dandenong a real threat in the coming weeks. For Sandringham, second-placed Hannah Wickstrom >remains a force. Last week, Wickstrom led her side to victory with 22 points, accompanied well by Lily Mao, Maya Dear and Jemima O’Toole who all recorded 12 points. Summer Keating and O’Toole round out the top 20 with 10 and 9.9 PPG.