BULLEEN Boomers and Dandenong Rangers have survived tight encounters during the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division semi-finals to advance through to the preliminary finals. The Boomers just got past the Keilor Thunder by five points, while Dandenong’s dominance during the regular season earned it top spot, but the Rangers only just got past a plucky Sandringham Sabres outfit by four points after going down in the qualifying final the week before.
Bulleen Boomers (70) defeated Keilor Thunder (65)
Bulleen would have sighed a breath of relief after just getting past Keilor in a tight semi-final contest. Both Bulleen and Keilor opened with 19 points in the first term, before Bulleen stretched to a three-point lead into half-time. They followed their good work into the third with 24 points to 18 – conceding the fourth (13-17) but finishing comfortably with the win. Tabitha Betson and Emily Maltezos led for the Boomers with 19 points, followed by Kobie Kino on 13. Betson finishes the league in 18th for points per game (PPG). For Ballarat, Rosie Todd stood up well with 14 points, followed by Milly Sharp on 11. Georgia Cox and Milly Simpson finished the season in seventh and 11th for PPG.
Dandenong Rangers (69) defeated Sandringham Sabres (65)
Dandenong has survived an alimighty scare to see off Sandringham in a thrilling semi-final. The Sabres started strongly in the first half to lead the Rangers by 10 points into the main break and almost looking like causing an upset, before the Rangers got back on top with a 41-27 second half to run out narrow winners. It was the 26-point closer which carried the Rangers to their preliminary final. The Rangers continued to take the hard way into finals and do so marginally to progress against Diamond Valley. Dallas Loughridge and Nyadiew Puoch carried themselves well to 20 points each against the Sabres, moving to third and fourth for PPG. Maya Dear and Hannah Wickstrom followed close for the Sabres with 20 and 19 points respectively. Despite the impressive performances from her opponents, Wickstrom closes out the league above in second place for PPG, while Dear finishes in thirteenth.
The Championship Division tips off the Preliminary Finals on Friday night with the Diamond Valley Eagles facing Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum, while the Keilor Thunder come up against the Bulleen Boomers at Broadmeadows.