THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 18 Boys Championship Division was decided two weeks ago, and now the 10 teams begin the second half of their journey with nine matches with the best of the best to determine the overall champion in a couple of months.
Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd in Watson) vs. Bulleen Boomers (3rd in Ashe)
In one of the great games across the round, Diamond Valley Eagles will look to tip-off the Championship Division with a win over the Bulleen Boomers. The Eagles won four consecutive games heading into the two-week break, and were equally adept at home or away. For the Boomers, they went undefeated at home, but sat at 2-3 when on the road, which shows how much of a test this game will be. The Boomers did finish with a higher percentage, ranked second overall for their defence, which will no doubt be an area Diamond Valley will do work on.
Melbourne Tigers (4th in Watson) vs. Dandenong Rangers (2nd in Ashe)
Fresh off a narrow loss in the National Junior Classic, Melbourne Tigers will be keen to stamp their authority on the competition, starting with the highly rated Dandenong Rangers in this clash. Despite both sides tipped to be right up there, Dandenong only grabbed second in the final fortnight after sinking as low as fifth, while Melbourne secured fourth in the pool thanks to a win in the final round. Both these sides are capable of being title winners and this bout is deserving of match of the round.
Nunawading Spectres (1st in Watson) vs. Korumburra Wildcats (5th in Watson)
Last time: Korumburra Wildcats 69 defeated Nunawading Spectres 53
Korumburra stunned the competition by knocking off Nunawading Spectres in the two sides earlier clash, which ultimately helped the country side squeeze into the top five. In the Wildcats’ 16-point win, Luis D’Angelo had 22 points and Christian D’Angelo finished with 17, while for the Spectres, Luke Spurling was the sole double-figure scorer with 11. Coming off the National Junior Classic, it will be interesting to see how the Spectres pull up for this game, but will start favourites regardless given they are back at home, and headed to the break with a three-game winning streak.
Bendigo Braves (5th in Ashe) vs. Werribee Devils (4th in Ashe)
Last time: Werribee Devils 78 defeated Bendigo Braves 66
Both teams made it into the Championship Division in the final two spots with six and five wins for Werribee and Bendigo respectively. These two sides faced off in Werribee last time, with the Devils getting up by 12 points after the teams were level at half-time. On that day, Darrien Herbert (24 points) had a day out, while William Smyth (19) and Dyson Daniels (18) were prolific for the losing side. Now at Bendigo’s home, the Braves will start favourite given they have a 3-0-1 record at the venue, while Werribee are 2-2 on the road.
Kilsyth Cobras (1st in Ashe) vs. Keilor Thunder (3rd in Watson)
Kilsyth Cobras finished on top of the Ashe Pool and did not drop a game at home, although did lose their first game after drawing one late in the season. For Keilor Thunder, they were remarkably stronger on the road, going undefeated when travelling. It means that one side will break the others’ undefeated streak given Keilor travels to Kilsyth for this match. The game has the hallmarks of being a cracking contest.