THE Knox Raiders and Bulleen Boomers will headline Round 9 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division in what could be a preview for the Grand Final. The match-up between Geelong and Southern Peninsula also looks to be a crucial contest, with a win necessary to their finals hopes.
Knox Raiders (2nd, 13-3-1) vs Bulleen Boomers (1st, 14-3)
The Knox Raiders will open Round 9 against top-end rivals, Bulleen Boomers, in a game that could present as a foretaste for the Grand Final. In terms of success, the Raiders’ last fortnight has been less than ideal, having recorded a 51-55 loss to Diamond Valley before tying with the fourteenth-placed, Geelong Supercats. In comparison, Bulleen’s last month has been faultless. Besides recording four consecutive wins, Bullen have made short work of Dandenong and Bulleen, as well as assumed top-spot one week out of finals. Olivia Tsantarlis and Casey Valenti-Paea were standout in Bulleen’s last outing, recording 16 and 14 points respectively. Valenti-Paea moved to sixth spot for points per game (PPG) following her performance, while Alexandra Keating continues to hold in second (17 PPG). For Knox, Zoe Jenkins(16) and Rhiannon Ockwell (15) were big in last week’s draw and will be expected to maintain form as they attempt to hold their top-two spot.
Geelong Supercats (14th, 7-9-1) vs Southern Peninsula (13th, 8-9)
One spot remains as we lead into finals, with the Geelong Supercats hosting the Southern Peninsula. Both sides sit at the bottom of the table, having shown little success since the division separation. Given their positions, Geelong’s 5-2-1 home record threatens the Peninsula’s chances. In recent weeks, both outfits have lifted on form, with Southern Peninsula recording consecutive wins, which include fair scalps over Hawthorn and Bendigo. Similarly, Geelong presented well against the Raiders, tying with the top-end team and likely instilling confidence. NBL1 representatives, Carly Remmos and Alishia Knights, presented well in Geelong’s draw; recording 14 and 13 points respectively. The pair match-up on Emirson Devenie and Charli Dobson this week, who both sit higher on the table for league-average with 15.5 and 13.6. Last week, Devenie recorded 25 points on her way to a four-point victory over Hawthorn. The Geelong star moves to third on the table as we lead into tomorrow’s game.
Dandenong Rangers (7th, 11-6) vs Nunawading Spectres (4th, 12-5)
With a second a chance still available for the Dandenong Rangers, it presents a lot to gain when they host the Nunawading Spectres on Friday. Prior to last week’s loss, Dandenong was stnading strong having recorded five consecutive wins after two narrow losses in the opening rounds. For Nunawading, the last two weeks have been disappointing, losing two consecutive to Bulleen and Altona. Dandenong will look to NBL1 representative, Elly Morgan, to continue her form recording 12, 19 and 16 in her last three outings. Hannah Rapp and Leia Hanafin have also presented well recently recording 13 and 11 in their win over Knox. Comparatively, the Spectres boast top league scorer, Louisa Fakalata, who averages 19.1 PPG in the Championship Division, along with Maddison Zugna who averages 11.9.
Hawthorn Magic (9th, 8-7-2) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 8-8-1)
The Hawthorn Magic desperately need to return to the winner’s list when they host the Diamond Valley Eagles, with loser of this match-up potentially missing out on finals. Currently, the Eagles sit on five consecutive losses, slipping further down in form and on the table as we approach finals. Diamond Valley took a big loss on the road last week against Bendigo, worsening their abysmal away record (2-6). Similarly, Hawthorn’s success at home has been underwhelming at 3-4-1, so it is difficult to pick a winner in this contest. For Hawthorn, Ryleh Killian has been in solid form, averaging 14.3 PPG for seven outings. Last week, Georgia Gray and Ella Crump recorded 17 and 14 points respectively and will need to maintain form if they intend on competing for finals. For Diamond Valley, Caitlyn Meagher was standout in in their loss to Bendigo recording a team-high 15 points, followed next by Georgia Kitchell on 11.
Bendigo Braves (8th, 10-7) vs Altona Gators (6th, 11-5-1)
The Altona Gators continue their push for a top four spot as they travel to Bendigo to face the Braves. Last week, Altona rejoined the winner’s list with a comprehensive showing over Nunawading Spectres. Their lift in form comes off the back of their poor performance against the Supercats one round prior. In Bendigo’s last outing, they recorded a big 28-point margin over the Diamond Valley Eagles. They continue to boast a stellar record at home at 6-2, looking to maintain it as they host the Gators on Friday. In the match-up, the Braves will look to Piper Dunlop and Tess Barnes to maintain their dominance with pair having averaged 14.7 and 14.4 from their seven outings. For the Gators, Kayla Salmons has been standout with 12.3 PPG, alongside Monique Marcetic-Vaotangi with 8.6.