THE first round over the Crossover Group stage took place last Friday night as teams battled to get an early advantage in the stage towards qualification for the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball (MUVJBL) championship division. We recap the games and top scorers from each match in the AA division.
Pakenham (54) defeated by Diamond Valley 2 (58)
Melbourne (67) defeated Latrobe (48)
In Pool 1, raging group favourites, Melbourne Tigers did what they had to do against Latrobe, winning by 19 points, while Diamond Valley 2 got up in a thriller by four points over Pakenham. In the game at Pakenham, the Eagles’ second side showed the importance of sharing the ball around in the scoring end, as four players finished with nine or more points. Liam Doherty (14), Daniel Drzewucki (12), Zac Vasiliadis (10) and Chase Page (nine) all got amongst the top scorers, while for Pakenham, they had seven players with five or more points, but not quite enough to get across the line. Callum McNiff‘s 13 points was the highest on the Warriors’ scoresheet, while Justin Ochaya and Aaron Davidson both sunk seven. If you are talking about dominant scorers, then Jordan Adams had a day out against Latrobe, with the Tigers’ sharpshooter sinking 24 points – half of his opposition’s score. Along with Adams, Lyzel Mataika, Charles Lockwood and Ezrah Vaigafa all finished with nine points, showing why they are not only the group favourites, but a title contender in the championship division. The opposition put up some strong resistance, as Zac Bezzina scored 19 points, while Jordi Williams also got amongst the boards with 11. Melbourne Tigers missed out on automatically qualifying after seven of their preferred 10 players were unavailable for the do-or-die qualification match with Hawthorn, having to use their under 14s side and thus sent back to the group stage. Now back at full strength, Melbourne are expected to move through rather swiftly. Both the winners play next round, while it will be curtains for Pakenham if the Warriors go down to Latrobe with Melbourne awaiting them in the final round.
Wangaratta (39) defeated by Ringwood (55)
Knox (46) defeated by Eltham (73)
In the first game of the round, Ringwood Hawks headed to Benalla to take on Wangaratta. It was a successful away trip, as the Hawks took the points in a crucial 16-point win in Pool 2 ahead of huge clashes against group favourites Eltham, and Knox. Izaac Nicholls top scored for the Hawks, nailing 14 points, while Thomas Lock finished with 13 as five players headed home with eight or more points in the bank. Wangaratta’s best scorer was Charlie Young with 12 points, ahead of Tyler Best who sunk seven for the game. In the other game, Eltham was far too good for Knox, sending an ominous warning to its rivals as the Wildcats look the most likely to automatically advance to the championship group. Eltham stormed to a 27-point win as Nicolas Uzelac (22 points) and Matt Debney (20) put on a show, ably assisted by Lorne Waldron (10). Knox had its fair share of points spread around, but Harry Johnson‘s 11 was the highest, while Adam Slavnic sunk 10. It would not be enough however as the Raiders went down. Next round, Knox looks to bounce back against Ringwood in what is likely to decide second and third spots, while Eltham hosts Wangaratta.
Diamond Valley (??) defeated Blackburn (??)
Eltham 2 (57) defeated McKinnon (45)
In Pool 3, Diamond Valley and Blackburn’s result is yet to be published, while Eltham showed its association is mighty strong at the under 18 boys level, storming to a 12-point win over McKinnon in what was a must win considering the strength of the group. Eltham’s depth was on show within the team itself as players shared points around. Caleb Bruggeman posted a game-high 18 points, one of three Wildcats to finish in double figures. Ben Costa (13 points) and Angus Seivers (10) also reached the milestone, while Thomas Caroll (10) was the only double-figure scorer from McKinnon. Hayden Mitchell and Jonothan Hunt both ended the game with eight points however, showing there is no clear dominant scorer for the Cougars. McKinnon will look to defeat Diamond Valley back at home on Friday to get back on an even keel, while a victory for Eltham 2 over Blackburn Vikings would go a long way to securing automatic qualification into the championship division.
Geelong (55) defeated by Collingwood (71)
Sandringham (53) defeated Dandenong 2 (42)
In the final pool, Geelong Supercats went down to Collingwood All Stars at home, while Sandringham Sabres knocked off Dandenong Rangers’ second side by 11 points. The All Stars travelled to AWA Alliance Bank Stadium to face the Supercats in what was anticipated to be a classic showdown. In the end, they walked away with a 16-point win, largely thanks to sharing the ball around. An impressive four players finished with double-figure points for the All Stars, led by Finnian Corr with 15. Lachlan McKain (14), Charlie Raymond (11) and Michael Ajang (10) all contributed in an even team performance. For the Supercats, Jay Posterino was the top scorer with 14 points, while partner-in-crime Ethan McDonald sunk 13. In the other game, Sandringham also had four players reach double figures, and while the highest was 12 points – Joe Llubarsky – three other teammates registered 10 points on the night. Ethan James, Kaylan Kitto and James Doyle all sunk 10 points, helping drive a balanced offence on the way to victory. For the Rangers’ second side, Blake Williams made 12 points, while Josh Uhr-Henry slotted 10, and Jonathan Fennell finished the game with nine.
Meanwhile of those teams already qualified for the championship division…
XX Round results:
Bulleen (52) defeated Nunawading (41)
Hawthorn (53) defeated Korumburra (44)
Ballarat (55) drew with Bendigo (55)
Dandenong (70) defeated Casey (47)
Kilsyth (56) defeated Werribee (27)
Waverley (47) defeated by Keilor (51)