MUVJBL U18 Girls VC review: Qualifying and Elimination Finals – Bulleen and Knox advance to preliminaries

THE Bulleen Boomers kicked off the first week of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division finals by winning their qualifying ginal over the Nunawading Spectres (53-46). The result marks Bulleen’s second win over Nunawading in the last month, advancing to the preliminaries next fortnight. In the first half, Nunawading proved the better side – leading 28-24 into half-time. Proceeding into the third, Nunawading conceded 17-7 to lose the lead, as Bulleen cruised comfortably to a win with a 12-11 closer. Alexandra Keating held up well in the contest to record 21 points and remain first across the league for points per game (PPG). Casey Valenti-Paea also impressed with 12 points, while Nunawading’s Tayha Watkins and Lucy Wales both starred with 14 and 13 points respectively. NBL1 representative, Louisa Fakalata continues to trail Keating in second – dropping 10 points in the loss.

The Knox Raiders and Dandenong Rangers kicked off the second qualifying final, with Knox snaring a 54-51 victory in Waverley. Despite losing their last encounter at home (48-52), the Raiders’ record on the road (8-0-1) proved too good for the Rangers. In the match-up, both teams won two terms, with a 22-22 tie leading them into the main break. It was a 19-10 final term which closed the win out for the Raiders, after conceding 13-19 in the term prior. NBL1 representative, Charlise Dunn was immense for the Raiders – scoring 19 points on her way to twelfth for PPG (12.6). Meg Robinson followed next with nine points, while NBL1 representatives, Elly Morgan (15), Kodie Myszka (11) and Hannah Rapp (10) all manage double-digits for the Rangers.

Diamond Valley Eagles copped the first elimination in the MUVJBL after losing 64-77 to the Bendigo Braves. Both sides went score for score in the first half – recording 22-22 in the opener and 16-16 in the second. In the latter half, Bendigo maintained momentum and tightened up on defense. They closed out the game with 21-12 and 18-14 to beat the Eagles by 13 points. Meg Mccarthy and Piper Dunlop both impressed in the win to record 23 points each for the Braves. Dunlop’s efforts move her fourth for PPG (15.8). For Dandenong, Keeley Evans stood up in the absence of Jade Dunne to record 18 points. The NBL1 representative moves her way into the top-20 for PPG (9.6) to close out her season.

The second elimination final saw the Altona Gators fall 46-62 against the Southern Peninsula Sharks in Sandringham. Last time it was Southern Peninsula who lost to the Gators by 16 points, but on this occasion they looked set to deliver. Peninsula’s second term was huge, dropping a unmatched 29 points to extend to 46-25 lead into half-time. Despite conceding the remaining terms, Peninsula’s lead remained unassailable. Emirson Devenie led for the Peninsula with 18 points – taking her to third points for PPG (16.8) and first for total points (168). Charli Dobson also lifts to seventh for PPG (14.2) with 11 points. For Altona, Jordan Wilson stood strong to record a game-high 21 points in the absence of Kayla Salmons – followed next by Trinity Steele on 12.

In the Reserve grade, the Melbourne Tigers bested the Frankston Blues (71-60), the Kilsyth Cobras fell short against the Nunawading Spectres (72-73), the Dandenong Rangers slipped to the Pakenham Warriors (46-48), and the Keilor Thunder suffered the same to the Broadmeadows Broncos (50-51).

The Championship Division commences the Semi-Finals next week with the Dandenong Rangers versing the Bendigo Braves, and Nunawading Spectres facing the Southern Peninsula Sharks. Bulleen and Knox will enjoy a week off as they proceed into the preliminaries.

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