DANDENONG Rangers moved two wins ahead on top of the table in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division following their 66-49 win at home over Hawthorn Magic. The result makes it seven consecutive wins for the Rangers, with the Magic slipping into dangerous territory in tenth. During the game, the Rangers took a 38-23 lead into the main break, and while the Magic pushed back in the third (15-8), the Rangers’ decisive final term (20-11) led them to a comfortable win. Myah Healey led scoring for Dandenong, picking up 15 points with her teammates, Dallas Loughridge and Nyadiew Puoch both following close on 14. For the Magic, Ally Marshall dominated the floor with 29 points to move to second for league-scoring. Rianna Thiele was the next highest scorer for Hawthorn on seven.
Bulleen Boomers continued their form prior to the break, snaring another win after beating Ballarat Rush (61-48) at home. Currently, the Boomers are one of two teams with consecutive wins within the top-eight, while Ballarat’s travelling issues continued to let them down (3-3-0). Despite snaring a game-high 22-point final term, Ballarat’s first three terms were lower scoring (8-7-11). Tabitha Betson was huge in Bulleen’s win, snaring a game-high 17 points. Her teammate, Ella McIntyre, followed next with 13 points, both outscoring Ballarat’s top scorers for the game. Milly Simpson led for led for her team on 12, followed close by Rosie Todd on 11.
In potentially the game of the round, Keilor Thunder move into the top-four following a huge 41-56 win over the second-placed Diamond Valley Eagles. The pair sit tied on the table with 10 wins and three losses each. Similarly, the pair kept close across the first three terms, with Diamond Valley Eagles taking a two-point lead into the main break. In the third, they matched scoring six apiece before the Thunder shocked the away crowd with a massive 25-8 final term to steal the win. The league’s scoring leader, Tess Heal, dominated the floor with an equal game-high 17 points, tying with Bella Peterson who also impressed alongside Jaz Salon who dropped 13. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Diamond Valley’s roster struggled to match their visitor’s elite scoring – Hayley Sparks leading the Eagles on 11, while Sophie Burrows followed on 10.
MSAC spectators were treated to the closest game of the round, with the Melbourne Tigers earning a 50-45 win over the Knox Raiders. The win moves the Tigers to eighth – one win above and below seventh and ninth. Knox Raiders are still without a win in the Championship Division, slipping to 13th following the poor result. In the match, the Tigers set the tone early with a 16-7 first term. The opener made them hard to catch, winning comfortably despite Knox also winning two terms. Leila Davis had a stellar performance for the Tigers, collecting a game-high 20 points. Amy Kurkowski and Hayley Cummings also proved damaging on 12 and 10 points respectively. For the Raiders, Paige Burrows (12) dominated on the floor alongside Kaitlyn Scott, who continues to be a damaging asset.
Nunawading Spectres moved closer to their top-four spot after taking a big scalp against the Sandringham Sabres. The 43-64 loss marks two consecutive defeats for the Sabres, slipping to fifth while the Spectres trail close behind in sixth. It was a big 25-10 second term from the Spectres that shut the Sabres out of the game, continuing to outscore their opponents 12-7 and 17-16 for the remaining two terms. Olivia Morris was immense in the win, lifting massively from her 9.5 PPG average to snare a game-high 21 points. Madison Sinclair also impressed with 11, while fifth best league scorer, Hannah Wickstrom, put up 20 points for the Sabres in the loss. Jemima O’Toole also impressed on eight.
In the Reserve grade, Altona Gators snared a one point win over Eltham Wildcats (43-42), Kilsyth Cobras demolish Southern Peninsula (54-29), while the Frankston Blues finished in similar fashion over the Bendigo Braves (65-38). Closing out the round, the Waverley Falcons lost 37-49 to the Bellarine Storm and the Sunbury Jets picked up a 44-42 win over Ringwood Hawks.
In the Championship Division for Round 5, Nunawading Spectres host Melbourne Tigers and Hawthorn Magic face Sandringham Sabres, as the Knox Raiders line up against the Bulleen Boomers. The Ballarat Rush will look to rebound against a dominant Diamond Valley Eagles, while Keilor Thunder come up against Dandenong Rangers for a big top-four showdown.