A rematch of the qualifying final between Dandenong Rangers and Keilor Thunder is on the cards for Grand Final night on Friday with both sides advancing through to the decider after big wins in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division preliminary finals.
Diamond Valley Eagles 44 defeated by Dandenong Rangers 46
The Dandenong Rangers bared one of the tightest victories in the finals series with a 46-44 win against the Diamond Valley Eagles. The 17-win side retained their dominance into the championship match-up with one of their lowest scores in recent memory. With 22-all tying up the second half, it was a slow start that brought the Eagles’ downfall (13-9). Despite the low score, Nyadiew Puoch (16) and Grace Montgomery (14) pulled up with fair numbers for Dandenong with Puoch’s efforts moving her to third for points per game (PPG) with 14.1, while Dallas Loughridge trails in sixth (12.8) following a five point performance. Sophie Burrows was the only Eagles player to record double-digits with 10, followed close by Eleanor Bollands and Aeska Ratnayake with nine each.
Keilor Thunder 83 defeated Bulleen Boomers 55
The second of the preliminaries was much more one-sided, with the Keilor Thunder mounting an 83-55 victory over the Bulleen Boomers. Keilor set the tone early in the first, scoring 26-16 before conceding a point in the second (8-9). They carried their efforts well into the second half, recording 17-13 and 32-17 to close out a strong performance. League leader, Tess Heal went to work for the Thunder, recording a game-high 27 points, with Jaz Salon (16) and Bella Peterson (11) providing support at the board. Salon’s game moved her to seventh for PPG (11.3), followed by Peterson in 12th. For the Boomers, Emily Maltezos and Aleisha Cadee rounded out their season well with 10 points each in the loss. Maltezos finishes her season in nineteenth above teammate, Tabitha Betson who managed eight in her final game of the season.
The Championship Division prepares to host the Keilor Thunder and Dandenong Rangers Grand Final next week at the State Basketball Centre, as Diamond Valley and Bulleen close out their season with 14 and 13 wins each.