THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division will host the championship game tonight, with the Dandenong Rangers going head-to-head with the Knox Raiders.
Last month, Knox opened the finals series with a tight win over now Grand Final opponents, Dandenong (54-51), sending them straight into the preliminaries. After the loss, Dandenong responded appropriately against Bendigo in a 24-point demolition at Broadmeadows – recording three consecutive terms over 20 points. Knox also remained atop their game come preliminaries, snaring a 70-50 win over Nunawading, while Dandenong charged through the once finals favourites, Bulleen, to join Knox in the championship match-up. Friday’s contest boasts three players from the 2019 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship squad in Charlise Dunn, Leia Hanafin and Emily Sewell. Though with Sewell yet to take part in this finals series, it seems to be just a battle between Dunn and Hanafin.
Currently Dunn retains top spot for shooters in this match-up, averaging 13.7 points per game (PPG), ranked ninth across the league. In last week’s hit-out, the forward scored 19 points for the Raiders to back up her 19 the week prior. Though Hanafin ranks outside the top-20 for her average (9), the Dandenong guard has presented exceptionally well over the last fortnight with 18 and 11 points. Elly Morgan also remains impressive, scoring 22 and 16 to move to fifteenth for PPG. The Raiders will rely heavily on Dunn in this match-up and hope for Zoe Jenkins to continue last week’s form – managing a game-high 22 points. Of the three times these outfits have faced, Knox have won two but never by more than five points. This Friday, we will find out if Knox can cement themselves as decisive victors or if Dandenong can pull off the most important win of the four.