DANDENONG Rangers moved to eight consecutive wins in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division with a victory on the road against Keilor Thunder. The result puts the Rangers three wins ahead of their direct competitors in Diamond Valley, Bullen and Keilor – retaining top spot. Thankfully for Keilor, most of the teams around them also suffered unfavourable results. For the game, Dallas Loughridge (12 points), Grace Montgomery (11) and Abby-Lee Wood (11) all dominated the floor for the Rangers. Loughridge moved to eighth spot for league scoring following the result, as Keilor’s, Tess Heal, maintains dominance in top spot with a 13-point performance. Jaz Salon assisted well in the loss, recording eight points of her own.
Nunawading Spectres were one of three teams to record a win within the top eight in Round 5, after they defeated Melbourne Tigers by three points (53-50) at home. The Spectres capitalised off the poor showings from their counterparts and moved to sixth with just two wins separating them from second. The Tigers slipped to eighth place after losing touch with the Spectres in their final term (16-9). For the game, Olivia Morris and Madison Sinclair were standout, amassing 14 points each in the tight win. On Melbourne’s end, Leila Davis was immense alongside Amy Kurkowski, scoring 17 and 14 points respectively. Davis’ efforts move her to seventh spot for league-scoring.
In the first of two tied games in Round 5, the Hawthorn Magic break even against Sandringham Sabres. At the beginning of the round, the Sabres were strong favourites, sitting six positions higher than their struggling opponents. However, the Sabres came ready to upset the balance, forcing the Sabres to play catch-up with an eight-point lead heading into the final term. Amy Ohara impressed at the board for the home side, collecting 15 points to move into eleventh spot league scoring. Jacqueline Gomes supported well with nine, similar to Sandringham’s Maya Dear (9) who assisted Jemima O’Toole well on the scoreboard (11). O’Toole’s performance moves her to eighteenth spot for league scoring with a 9.7 average.
Knox Raiders and Bulleen Boomers recorded the round’s second tie game following their 45-45 result at Knox Basketball Stadium. As with the last, Bulleen were obvious favourites entering the round – sitting in third compared with the Raiders’ fourteenth. Though in the contest, the Raiders were determined to seal the first half – leading 26-22 into the break. The pressure continued when they extended their lead by four points in the third, leaving the Boomers to drop 19-11 to close the deficit. Jaida Reid was big in the match-up, sinking 14 points alongside Paige Burrows and Kaitlyn Scott who dropped 11 and 10 respectively. For the Boomers, Tabitha Betson led on the scoreboard with 16 points to move to seventh spot for league scoring. Emily Maltezos followed next with nine points.
Meanwhile in the final game with individual scores yet to be confirmed, Diamond Valley Eagles got up against Ballarat Rush, 58-44. The win was an important one for Diamond Valley, keeping within two games of top spot, whilst grabbing second spot thanks to Bulleen’s draw and Keilor’s loss.
In the reserve grade, Ringwood Hawks fell 35-62 against Kilsyth Cobras, Bendigo Braves copped a 54-61 loss at home to Waverley Falcons and Southern Peninsula Sharks snared a tight 59-55 win over the Altona Gators. The round continued with a Bellarine Storm 38-43 loss to Sunbury Jets, and Eltham Wildcats snared a 55-53 victory over Frankston Blues.
In the Championship Division for Round 6, the Ballarat Rush host the Sandringham Sabres, the Hawthorn Magic faces the Melbourne Tigers and the Keilor Thunder come up against the Nunawading Spectres. As the night continues, the Knox Raiders will challenge the Dandenong Rangers at home and the Bulleen Boomers will host the Diamond Valley Eagles at Mullum Mullum.