THIS week in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division, Nunawading Spectres drastically hurt the Dandenong Rangers’ chances of securing a home-final following their 70-69 victory. The Spectres added to their impressive away record (8-1-0) with their second win on the road in a fortnight. Despite Dandenong’s game-high 29 points in the final term, Nunawading refused to let them back in – recording a similarly impressive 23 points to close out the game. James Roche, Curtis Brecko and Dihan Wigget all impressed on the floor – recording 19, 16 and 10 points respectively. Roche moves to top spot for league scoring (157) and fourth for points per game (PPG) on 19.8, while Brecko moves to sixteenth with 11.8. Joshua Heywood came to play for the Rangers – recording a game-high 20 points alongside Jyelin Moli (16) and Zac Taylor (12) who assisted well on offense.
Kilsyth Cobras continued their hold at the top of the table following their 70-55 win over the Bendigo Braves. The Braves sit seventh after losing their second game in a fortnight, with only one round to go. On the other hand, the Cobras secured the minor premiership sitting three points clear of Bulleen and Nunawading unable to catch them with a point at least to come their way in the final round. In the contest, Kilsyth opened the first term strong at 21-7. Bendigo fought hard to close the second term’s margin to five (17-12) before tying (17-17) and winning (15-19) the remaining terms. Though it was not enough with James Duach and Eythan House dominating the floor with 14 points each for the game. Duach’s performance moves him to eleventh spot for PPG on 14.1. Similarly, William Smythe and Levi Geyer tied for Bendigo on 11 points each – impressing in the absence of Caleb Connick and Dyson Daniels.
Following their 70-41 thrashing over the Melbourne Tigers, the Bulleen Boomers moved to second on the table with one win to go. Given Melbourne’s fifth position, the margin comes at a shock, especially given their victory over the third placed Nunawading Spectres, only two rounds ago. The result marks Bulleen’s second win in a fortnight as they continue to vie for a home-final in the coming weeks. They opened strong in the contest – outscoring Melbourne 21-6 before conceding their only losing term (16-10) in the second. Bulleen went onto double Melbourne’s score in both remaining terms to walk home 29-point victors. Anthony Dell’Orso moves to fourth spot for PPG following his 18-point performance for Bulleen. Otto Mananov and Oscar Hyde followed next on 13 and 12 respectively, while Jordan Adams (18) led on the floor for Melbourne alongside Justin Bond (9).
In one of the tightest games of the round, Keilor Thunder earned a 58-55 victory over Werribee Devils. The win moved Keilor one win below fifth, while Werribee sliped outside of finals territory with one round remaining. The loss marks three consecutive for the Devils after losing similarly to Nunawading (57-63) in the round prior. In the match-up, Werribee owned the second-half – outscoring the home-side 22-28. Though despite their efforts, the Thunder opened significantly better – outscoring 36-25 to ease comfortably into the second-half and subsequent victory. Jeffrey Ofoedu led for Keilor with 17 points alongside Tonga Matapule Otutaha, who followed close with 16. For Werribee, Darrien Herbert was at usual best – recording 15 points alongside Kane Hynes’ 13. Hebert’s efforts move him to fifth for PPG from eight outings.
The Diamond Valley Eagles continued their push for finals following their 73-65 win over the Korumburra Wildcats. After losing to Kilsyth in the round prior, a win was absolutely necessary for Diamond Valley to continue competing for finals. In the contest, both teams opened well with Diamond Valley trailing 13-14 at the end of the first. The Wildcats bolstered their lead in the second with a 22-12 term – taking a 25-36 lead into the break. The Eagles responded perfectly in the second half to hit back-to-back 24-point terms – outscoring their visitors 48-29 to pick up an eight-point win. Ryan Hoffman and Joseph Brazier were impressive for the Eagles – scoring 17 points each. The Wildcats boasted top performances from league-leader, Keith Robinson, and Luis D’Angelo (13th) who scored 28 and 19 points respectively.
In the Reserve grade, the Ballarat Miners snared a 66-48 win over the Dandenong Rangers, the Knox Raiders fell 53-58 at home over the Casey Cavaliers, while the Eltham Wildcats proved dominant at home over the Ringwood Hawks (69-65). The round continued with the Collingwood All-Stars defeating the Geelong Supercats at home (50-38) and the Waverley Falcons coming up short against the Hawthorn Magic (56-72).
In the Championship Division for Round 9, the Dandenong Rangers host the Korumburra Wildcats, the Keilor Thunder face the Diamond Valley Eagles, and the Kilsyth Cobras host one of games of the round against the Nunawading Spectres. The round finishes with the Melbourne Tigers hosting the Werribee Devils, and the Bulleen Boomers hosting the Bendigo Braves.