THIS week the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys competition prepares for the preliminary finals. The Nunawading Spectres will come off their break to face the Melbourne Tigers, while the Kilsyth Cobras come up against the Bulleen Boomers for a spot in the Grand Final.
Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 14-4) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 10-7-1)
The first of two Preliminary finals pits the Nunawading Spectres against the Melbourne Tigers at Mullum Mullum. Last week, Melbourne snuck a 75-65 victory over Dandenong, knocking out their top-end rivals in straight sets. Despite impressive efforts from Dandenong, it was Melbourne’s three 20-point terms that eventually saw them to victory. In the week prior, the Spectres bested Bulleen in a 50-46 clash in Hawthorn. Nunawading proved marginally better in the second half, winning 12-9 in the third before hitting 15-14 to close out the game. The Spectres will rely heavily on James Roche to deliver, having averaged 18.7 points per game from 10 outings. He is accompanied well by Curtis Brecko in sixteenth (11.7) – having dropped 11 points behind Dihan Wiggett‘s 13 in last fortnight’s clash. Attention will also be on Melbourne’s Patrick Twigg, who recently cracked into the top 20 for PPG (11.5) after dropping an impressive 22 against Dandenong. NBL1 representative, Joshua Giddey was also a major feature with a huge 27 points in just his third outing for the season. Giddey moves fifth for PPG (18) following his standout performance.
Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 13-2-3) vs Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 12-4-2)
The Kilsyth Cobras match up against the Bulleen Boomers at State Basketball Centre this Friday for the last spot in the Grand Final. Last week, the Boomers rebounded from their tight loss against Nunawading to put away Keilor by 30 points (72-42). In the week prior, the Cobras proved better against Dandenong to advance to the preliminaries (78-53). It was Kilsyth’s two big opening terms in the first (27) and third (22) that carried them comfortably over the line. Josh Duach remains Kilsyth’s most consistent shooter, averaging 13.6 PPG from 10 outings, including 16 points in his last clash alongside Lachlan Vandervorm (19). David Okwera also looks to threaten, rounding out the top 20 with 11.4 PPG. For the Boomers, Anthony Dell’Orso and Owen Foxwell sit ninth and tenth for PPG with 14.8 and 14.6 point respectively. Foxwell fared well in their clash with Keilor to score 20 points, with Otto Mananov (14) and Thomas Giannatos (11) among the three players also recording double-digits for the game.