THE Under-18 Girls Semi-Finals kick off in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Championship Division this week with Dandenong Rangers facing the Bendigo Braves and the Nunawading Spectres facing Southern Peninsula Sharks. The Bulleen Boomers and the Knox Raiders enjoy a week off with the Preliminary Finals just over a week away.
Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 12-6) vs Bendigo Braves (6th, 11-7)
The first semi-final kicks off in Broadmeadows with the Dandenong Rangers facing the Bendigo Braves. Last week, the Rangers fell three points short against Knox Raiders, conceding 19-10 in the fourth for the biggest margin all game. In Sunbury, Bendigo proved better over Diamond Valley (77-64). In their last meeting with Dandenong, they walked away two-point victors, and with only one win separating them, stand a fair chance to repeat. Elly Morgan (15 points) stood tall in the last week’s loss against Knox, alongside fellow NBL1 representatives Kodie Myszka (11) and Hannah Rapp (10). On the points per game (PPG) leaderboard, Emily Sewell currently leads for Dandenong with 12.5, followed next by Morgan on 10.4. The Braves will look to top-five scorer, Piper Dunlop (15.8 PPG) to maintain form, having scored 23 points alongside Meg McCarthy (23) in last week’s victory. Tess Barnes also remains a threat with a 13.8 average – in ninth for PPG.
Nunawading Spectres (4th, 12-6) vs Southern Peninsula Sharks (8th 9-9)
The Nunawading Spectres and Southern Peninsula Sharks close out the other semi-final in Dandenong. The Spectres came up short last week against Bulleen (53-46), collecting their fourth consecutive loss. Comparatively, the Sharks managed to snare their fourth win in a row last week after decisively shutting down Altona. Despite sitting four positions below with three less wins, the Sharks enter this match-up as clear favourites. Louisa Fakalata remains a positive for the Spectres, boasting second position (PPG) with 17.7 from nine outings. Last week, the NBL1 representative managed just 10 points, having good support in Lucy Wales (13) and Tayha Watkins (14). For Southern Peninsula, overall scoring leader, Emirson Devenie (168 points), will look to back up her 18 points last week. The Sharks continue to boast a high scoring roster, with four players making double-digits last week, and three players within the top 20 for PPG. Charli Dobson (11) and Gemma Simon (10) are two of which looking to maintain form.