THE regular season for the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division finishes with the Nunawading Spectres as 58-64 victors over league-leaders, Kilsyth Cobras. The win marks Nunawading’s third consecutive win in the lead up to finals, finishing second with a home final, second chance and a standout 9-1-0 record on the road. In the match-up, Spectres opened better with a 9-14 first term, before the Cobras tied the half with 18-13 in the second. Despite impressive performances from NBL1 guard, Roosevelt Williams (18), and David Okwera (15), Kilsyth’s efforts were not enough as they went on to record their first home-loss of the season. For Nunawading, James Roche lead the game with 20 points, followed next by Luke Spurling on 12. Across the league, Roche moves to third spot for points per game (PPG) on 19.7 and finishes first overall with 177.
A three-point victory over the Keilor Thunder sends the Diamond Valley Eagles into finals. On the road, the Eagles faced a must-win contest against the Thunder – impressing to record their second consecutive win. In the match-up, the Thunder owned the first half. After conceding a one-point deficit in the first term (10-11), Keilor responded by tripling their total, taking a 31-24 lead into the break. Though despite their response, Keilor gradually slipped from the top as Diamond Valley delivered five-point wins in both remaining terms. Matt Marasco responded well from his three points last week to lead the game with 19. Ryan Hoffman finished next best on seven points, while Keilor’s Tonga Matapule Otutaha landed plenty with 14. Nicholas Guida and Jeffrey Ofoedu also impressed for Keilor, topping off their season with 10 points each.
Bendigo Braves returned to the winner’s list this week after handing the Bulleen Boomers their first loss at home with a 63-60 victory. The Braves climbed to sixth spot following the result, while the Boomers held onto fourth with a second chance for finals. In the contest, Bendigo secured the second and fourth terms by a single point after conceding the first at 18-14. In the third term, the Braves assumed a two-point lead following a 13-18 effort, eventually extending to thee points before the final buzzer. Caleb Connick finishes the season in fourth for PPG (19.4) and second overall (155) from eight games after recording 15 points in the final match. William Smythe also impressed on 14, while Bulleen’ss Owen Foxwell dominated on the board with 22. Thomas Giannatos finished next best with 10.
The Melbourne Tigers capped off their season in fifth with a 68-68 tie against the Werribee Devils. Unfortunately for Werribee, the tie ruined their chances of returning to the eight, finishing the season in ninth. In the match-up, Melbourne took a 32-29 lead into the main break after tying 12-12 in the opening term. The Devils went on to chip away at Melbourne’ lead for the remaining two terms, finishing 14-16 and 22-23. On the scoreboard, Lyzel Mataika and Jordan Adams shone brightest for the Tigers, scoring 17 and 15 points respectively. For Werribee, Darrien Herbert moves to sixth place for PPG after dropping a game-high 19 points, Aaron Dolny impresses with 16, while Makur Jongkuch places one below Herbert with a 15-point performance.
The Dandenong Rangers earned a second chance in September after defeating Korumburra Wildcats 88-69 at home. The Rangers moved to third place following their victory with 12 wins, four losses and two draws, while the Wildcats remained outside the top eight, missing finals in tenth.
In the Reserve grade, the Ballarat Miners defeated the Geelong Supercats at home (68-44), the Hawthorn Magic won similarly against the Casey Cavaliers (83-61), and the Knox Raiders won comfortably over the Dandenong Rangers (79-66). The round continued with the Eltham Wildcats losing at home to the Collingwood All-Stars (51-55) and the Waverley Falcons defeating the Ringwood Hawks (69-59).
In the Championship Division next week, four teams face off in elimination finals with the Melbourne Tigers hosting the Diamond Valley Eagles, and the Bendigo Braves hosting the Keilor Thunder. The qualifying finals follow with the Kilsyth Cobras hosting the Dandenong Rangers, and the Nunawading Spectres hosting the Bulleen Boomers.