ROUND 9 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division closed out the regular season with a finals preview between the Knox Raiders and Bulleen Boomers. The Boomers got the better in the contest with a 54-43 victory over the home side, remaining two wins ahead of their second-placed competitors in first. In the contest, the Boomers earned two seven-point wins in the first and last term, Knox tied 18-18 in the second before winning 11-8 in the third term. Alexandra Keating showed why she is one of the league’s best, recording 22 points in the win. Keating’s efforts move her to second in points per game (PPG), while Antoniette Emma-Nnopu also impressed with 12 points. For Knox, Meg Robinson was the only player to hit double-digits with 11 points, while Georgia Baldwin finished next on nine.
The next final preview pitted Dandenong Rangers against Nunawading Spectres. The Rangers earned a 53-48 victory over the Spectres, taking them to third spot, while the Spectres lost their third in a row. The Spectres boasted real scoring capacity in the first half, taking a 32-23 lead into the main break. Their third term lost them the game after only recording three points to the opposition’s 12. The Rangers went on to score 18-13 to close out the game, taking the game and the better position into finals. Leah Mackenzie led scoring for the Rangers with 16 points, followed next by NBL1 representative, Hannah Rapp, on nine. The Spectres also boasted considerable performances by Louisa Fakalata (15) and Tayha Watkins (11). Fakalata finishes the league in the highest spot for PPG (18.6) and second for overall scoring, down one point at 149, with one less game.
The Diamond Valley Eagles ended the Hawthorn Magic’s final chances with a 51-63 victory on the road. After snatching the last spot in the Championship Division in the final game pre-split, Hawthorn was unable to do it again this time post-split, missing out on finals. In the contest, the Magic opened both halves below par, conceding 8-15 in the first and 10-21 in the third. Though they managed to tie in the second (18-18) and win in the last (15-9), their efforts were not enough to get them over the line due to the two disappointing quarters. Jade Dunne managed 19 points for Diamond Valley, alongside NBL1 representative, Keeley Evans, who had 15. For Hawthorn, Ryleh Killian had 19 points while Alycia Kennedy finished next on seven points.
Southern Peninsula Sharks broke their way into the finals with a 81-77 victory over the Geelong Supercats, finishing the regular season in eighth place with their third consecutive win. Despite an impressive 44-33 second half, Peninsula’s 33-48 first half was too much for Geelong to come back from closing out the game by four points. Emirson Devenie and Charli Dobson had top performances for the Peninsula, recording 26 and 22 points respectively. Keeley Toohey also scored 16 points for the Peninsula, while NBL representative, Carly Remmos led the Supercats with 21 points. Alishia Knights also impressed on 17, followed next by Jasmine Whatley on 12.
The Altona Gators missed their chance for a top four spot after losing 51-46 to the Bendigo Braves. Bendigo moved to sixth with their second consecutive win, while Altona held onto fifth.
In the Reserve grade, the Frankston Blues lost 66-72 against Dandenong Rangers, McKinnon Cougars defeated Broadmeadows Broncos (41-66), and Keilor Thunder won 56-48 over Warrandyte Venom. The round ended with the Nunawading Spectres winning 57-51 over Kilsyth Cobras, and Pakenham Warriors winning 52-47 over Melbourne Tigers.
In the Championship Division, the finals kick off with the Altona Gators hosting the Southern Peninsula Sharks and the Bendigo Braves facing the Diamond Valley Eagles in the elimination finals. The qualifying finals kick off soon after with the Bulleen Boomers hosting the Nunawading Spectres and the Knox Raiders facing the Dandenong Rangers.