MUVJBL U18 Girls review: Eagles hold on in nervous draw to qualify

ALL 10 sides that sat in championships division qualification places for the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 18 Girls competition, remained in those spots with the fourth and fifth placed sides both winning. However it did not stop some nervous times for clubs, including Diamond Valley Eagles who almost surrendered fifth spot to Kilsyth Cobras.

Ashe Pool:

McKinnon Cougars 46 defeated by Dandenong Rangers 75
Frankston Blues 35 defeated by Bulleen Boomers 89
Pakenham Warriors 43 defeated by Southern Peninsula Sharks 62
Diamond Valley Eagles 63 drew with Kilsyth Cobras 63
Nunawading Spectres 2 42 defeated by Knox Raiders 75

The match of the round by far was the draw between the Eagles and the Cobras, with fifth spot up for grabs. Given Kilsyth’s percentage was higher, a win to the Cobras would have catapulted them into the qualification places, despite the Eagles holding fifth spot coming into the round. Kilsyth led by four points at quarter time, but the Eagles hit back to head into the main break five points in front. The second half saw the Cobras claw their way back to level by the final break courtesy of a 23-18 third term, before both teams were strong defensively in the last quarter, scoring 11 points each to level at 63-apiece. The win meant the Eagles held onto fifth, thanks to the work of Keeley Evans (12 points), Georgia Kitchell (10) and Demi Albon (10). The Cobras came very close to victory, mostly due to the damaging trio of Nikita Young (20 points), Georgia Booth (18) and Ruby Nicks (14). The other two games that could have mixed up the top five were Southern Peninsula Sharks against Pakenham Warriors, and Dandenong Rangers taking on McKinnon Cougars. With both the Warriors and Cougars in the bottom two, it was expected the higher ranked sides would secure the spots. That is exactly what happened with the Sharks winning 62-43 over the Warriors – Charli Dobson‘s 16 points and Emirson Devenie‘s 15 among the highlights – while the Rangers raced to a 75-46 win over the Cougars. Emily Sewell dominated with 33 points, while Elly Morgan sank 17, and for the Cougars, Gabrielle Bafitis had 15 of her own. In other results, the top two sides cruised to easy wins with Knox Raiders remaining undefeated this season thanks to a 75-42 win over Nunawding Spectres. Charlise Dunn (23 points) starred for the Raiders, while Stephanie Wales managed 12 for the Spectres. Finally, Bulleen Boomers had no trouble against Frankston Blues on their way to a huge 54-point victory. Five players reached double figures – including four with 16 points or more – with Casey Valenti-Paea‘s 20 points the most of any player. For the Blues, Olivia Corrigan and Zoe Schonfelder both managed 12 points in the heavy defeat.

Watson Pool:

Geelong Supercats 58 defeated Warrandyte Venom 44
Bendigo Braves 53 defeated Hawthorn Magic 25
Keilor Thunder 61 defeated Dandenong Rangers 2 51
Melbourne Tigers 57 defeated by Nunawading Spectres 65
Altona Gators 47 defeated by Broadmeadows Broncos 53

As the saying goes, possession is nine-tenths of the law, and in the case of the Watson Pool this rang true as the fifth placed Geelong Supercats held onto the qualification place after a win in Round 9. The Supercats saw off a determined Warrandyte Venom side desperate to win their first game, while the home side also needed to fend off Broadmeadows Broncos and Keilor Thunder who were percentage behind them in sixth and seventh respectively. In the Supercats’ 58-44 win, they won every quarter but it was far from convincing early, leading by just five points at the final break before storming to a 20-11 final term in the 58-44 win. Karli Bruce and Alisha Knights both top scored with 11 points for the winners, while Ella Whiting-Le Cras (15) and Andreina Gammilonghi (14) were the key scorers for the Venom. It was heartbreak for Broadmeadows, with the Broncos upstaging top-of-the-table Altona Gators by six points – the second consecutive loss for the Gators. Despite the win, the Broncos missed out on qualifying, although Chrisy Triantafyllopoulos scored 13 points and Emma Povh managed 10 for the winners. Kayla Salmons reached double figures for the Gators with 10 points. Keilor Thunder also missed out on percentage despite a strong 61-51 victory over Dandenong Rangers 2. Amelia Velardo was impressive for the Thunder with 21 points, while Rangers’ shooter Perina Leime managed 14 in the loss. In other results, Nunawading Spectres head into the championship division with winning form, knocking off Melbourne Tigers 65-57. Louisa Fakalata was everywhere, sinking 27 points, while Tayha Watkins managed 15. For the Tigers, Sheridan Kavanagh top scored with 12 points. In the final game, Bendigo Braves stole second spot from Hawthorn Magic with a massive 28-point win that not many saw coming. The Braves restricted the Magic to just 10 points in the second half, and 25 for the game in the 53-25 victory. Piper Dunlop (12 points) and Tess Barnes (16) were the key scorers for the Braves, while Ryleh Killian (11) was the sole double-figure scorer for the Magic.

Championship Division: (To start after Queen’s Birthday long weekend)

Knox Raiders
Bulleen Boomers
Dandenong Rangers
Southern Peninsula Sharks
Diamond Valley Eagles
Altona Gators
Bendigo Braves
Hawthorn Magic
Nunawading Spectres
Geelong Supercats

Reserve Division:

Kilsyth Cobras
Nunawading Spectres 2
Frankston Blues
Pakenham Warriors
McKinnon Cougars
Broadmeadows Broncos
Keilor Thunder
Dandenong Rangers 2
Melbourne Tigers
Warrandyte Venom

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