IN the penultimate round of Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 18 Boys competition before the sides are split into championship and reserve division, we see a number of interesting contests across the board. This round we focus on potential ramifications of the championship/reserve split which sees the top five sides after nine rounds in each pool combine for the championship grade, while the bottom five in each pool combine for the reserve grade.
Dandenong Rangers 2 (9th, 1-6) vs. Dandenong Rangers (5th, 4-3)
Bendigo Braves (4th, 4-2-1) vs. Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 6-0-1)
Geelong Supercats (8th, 2-5) vs. Collingwood All Stars (10th, 0-7)
Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 5-2) vs. Waverley Falcons (6th, 3-2-2)
Werribee Devils (3rd, 5-2) vs. Eltham Wildcats (7th. 3-4)
The biggest clash could well be Waverley Falcons travelling to face second placed Bulleen Boomers. The Falcons sit sixth, percentage behind Dandenong Rangers who were one of the favourites to take out the overall title. While the Rangers face their club’s second side, they take on third placed Werribee Devils in the final round. If the Falcons can upset the Boomers, the Falcons meet the Rangers second side in the last round. However Waverley will need to win both in order to make the championship division. Bendigo Braves have a tough ask against Kilsyth Cobras who are yet to lose, a loss could see them slip to sixth and on the back foot heading into the final round, despite taking on the winless Collingwood All Stars in Round 9. The other side who could potentially make the championship grade is Eltham Wildcats, but they are a long shot with both wins required, a number of favourable results to go their way. The Cobras, Boomers and Devils are all locked in, with the latter requiring a disastrous last two rounds to fall out. Geelong Supercats, Dandenong Rangers 2 and Collingwood All Stars are headed for the reserve grade and were funnily enough in the same qualification group to get into this stage.
Casey Cavaliers (6th, 3-3-1) vs. Ballarat Miners (8th, 3-4)
Diamond Valley Eagles (3rd, 5-2) vs. Melbourne Tigers (1st, 5-2)
Korumburra Wildcats (5th, 4-3) vs. Hawthorn Magic (10th, 0-7)
Nunawading Spectres (2nd. 5-2) vs. Knox Raiders (7th, 3-4)
Ringwood Hawks (9th, 1-5-1) vs. Keilor Thunder (4th, 5-2)
In the Watson Pool, standings are much tighter with no side 100 per cent locked in, and only two sides – Hawthorn Magic and Ringwood Hawks – unable to make the championship grade. The Hawks play fourth placed Keilor Thunder, and the Magic travels to Korumburra, with the Wildcats arguably the story of the grade. Needing to punch well above their weight in the grade, the Wildcats have been unbelievable since losing the opening two games, having four consecutive wins before a third loss last round. They must win the game against the Magic, with Casey Cavaliers breathing down their neck, taking on Ballarat Miners, but then having the ladder leaders Melbourne Tigers in the final round. Nunawading Spectres can end Knox Raiders’ hopes of championship division with a win, and if the Spectres, Wildcats and Miners all win, the top five would be settled. The Miners have to hope the Wildcats drop a game to the Magic to be a realistic chance of top five considering their low percentage. In the top three, Melbourne takes on Diamond Valley with the winner guaranteed a championship division spot, while the loser waits on other results, but both sides should be in.