A TOP four clash in the Ashe Pool and some mid-table battles in the Watson Pool will ensure plenty of eyes are on the court for the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 16 Girls championship division tonight.
Hawthorn Magic (8th, 1-3) vs. Dandenong Rangers (1st, 4-0)
Bellarine Storm (5th, 2-2) vs. Waverley Falcons (6th, 2-2)
Ringwood Hawks (9th, 1-3) vs. Sunbury Jets (10th, 0-4)
Ballarat Rush (4th, 3-1) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (7th, 1-3)
Keilor Thunder (3rd, 3-1) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd, 3-1)
In the Ashe Pool, the match of the round is likely to be the second against third clash with Keilor Thunder hosting Diamond Valley Eagles in a bid to chase down Dandenong Rangers for top spot. The two opponents are ranked a clear second and third for scores for, while the Eagles’ superior defence – they have conceded the least amount of points in the competition – has them with a much higher percentage of 145. The Thunder have won the past three games however, and will be keen to make it four on the trot here. Tess Heal has been superb for the Thunder, averaging 14.8 points per game, while for the Eagles, Sophie Burrows tops the average point scorer table with 9.3 per game.
Another game that might raise some eyebrows is the bottom two clash between Ringwood Hawks and Sunbury Jets. The Jets are yet to win a game, but have been competitive at times, with the Hawks potentially the best chance for a victory in this early stage of the season. Further up the ladder, fifth and sixth face off as Bellarine Storm and Waverley Falcons go head-to-head. The Storm are yet to lose at home, while the Falcons are one from two on the road. Llana Kinkela has scored 48 points at an average of 16 per game this season for the Falcons, while Summer Field has sunk 33 at an average of 8.3 per game for the Storm. In other games, eighth placed Hawthorn Magic hope to upset the raging pool favourites, Dandenong Rangers, while fourth placed Ballarat Rush have the home advantage against Kilsyth Cobras.
Southern Peninsula Sharks (7th, 1-3) vs. Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 4-0)
Knox Raiders (1st, 4-0) vs. Melbourne Tigers (6th, 2-2)
Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 3-1) vs. Sandringham Sabres (5th, 2-2)
Frankston Blues (9th, 0-4) vs. Bendigo Braves (4th, 3-1)
Eltham Wildcats (8th, 1-3) vs. Altona Gators (10th, 0-4)
Looking to the Watson Pool, third placed Nunawading Spectres host fifth placed Sandringham Sabres in the game of the round. The Spectres bounced back from a loss in Round 3 to claim victory in Round 4, while the Sabres have been up and down splitting their games each week. Both games they have won on the road however, having played three of their first four, and now four of their first five away from home. Summer Keating is the key scorer for the visitors, having produced 54 points this season at an average of 13.5, while Yasmin Spargo (12.8) and Olivia Morris (12.5) have shared the points around for the Spectres. Sandringham ranks as the second best attack this season, while the Spectres have the third best defence in what is expected to be a fascinating clash.
Meanwhile eighth placed Eltham Wildcats will be keen to bounce back from a Round 4 loss to hand Altona Gators their fifth straight defeat. The Wildcats might be eighth with just one win, but have been unlucky with the draw, losing to Knox Raiders, Bulleen Boomers and Bendigo Braves, three of the top four sides. Their dangerous trio of Dyani Ananiev – who will gain some NBL1 action this season with the senior women’s side – Ashley Vee Mrmacovski and Zarah Prendergast have all averaged between 10 and 12 points per game this season. For the Gators, Cassie Dodemaide has been a shining light with 42 points in her four games. In other matches, seventh placed Southern Peninsula Sharks take on second placed Bulleen Boomers, Knox Raiders look to make it five on the trot against the mid-table Melbourne Tigers, and ninth placed Frankston Blues are still searching for their first win, coming up against Bendigo Braves this week.