THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division saw the top four sides of Dandenong Rangers and Nunawading Spectres advance without too much trouble, running out combined 56-point winners over Bendigo Braves and Southern Peninsula Sharks respectively.
Dandenong Rangers 87 defeated Bendigo Braves 53
In the first semi-final, Dandenong Rangers defeated the Bendigo Braves by 34 points. The Rangers progress to the preliminaries with their decisive 34-point victory coming off the back of three consecutive terms over 20 points. The Braves put up fair numbers throughout but could not hold the Rangers on defense. Four Dandenong players managed double-digits in the victory, with Hannah Rapp (10), Leah Mackenzie (14) and Leia Hanafin (18) all impressing in the paint. Though it was NBL1 representative, Elly Morgan, who led from the front with 22 points – moving to fifteenth in the league for points per game (PPG). For Bendigo, Piper Dunlop led with 19 points, followed by Tess Barnes on nine. Dunlop moves to fourth for PPG, ending her season with 16.1 average.
Nunawading Spectres 70 defeated Southern Peninsula Sharks 48
The second semi-final saw the Nunawading Spectres earn a 70-48 win over the Southern Peninsula Sharks at Dandenong Stadium. The Spectres progressed to a Preliminary Final, with a 41-27 first half easing them into a relaxed second half (29-21). The Peninsula did well to take back a term (12-14) in the third but faded hard in the fourth with a 17-7 closer. Lucy Wales stood up for the Spectres, leading her side with 14 points alongside Louisa Fakalata (13) and Maddison Zugna (12). Fakalata moves to second place for PPG with 17.2, followed by Zugna in sixteenth (10.1) in her eleventh outing. For Southern Peninsula, Emirson Devenie performed well in the loss to record a game-high 20 points. Devenie finishes her season in third for PPG (17.1), while Dobson trails in eighth with 13 points in her final game.
The Championship Division kicks off the Preliminary Finals next week with the Nunawading Spectres versing the Knox Raiders at Mullum Mullum Stadium, while the Bulleen Boomers go head to with the Dandenong Rangers at the State Basketball Centre, with the winners to advance through to the 2019 Grand Final.