Tag: emily sewell

Victorian Under-20 and Ivor Burge teams announced

BASKETBALL Victoria has announced the Victorian 2021 Under-20 and Ivor Burge teams, selected to represent the state at the next Australian Junior Championships.

The six teams will make their way to Mackay, Queensland in May for the Australian Under-20 Junior Championships and Ivor Burge Championships for athletes with an intellectual disability.

Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Men

The Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Men’s team features national champions Harry Johnson and Mason Perry, and former Victorian representative Christian D’Angelo. The side is set to be coached by Basketball Victoria High Performance Head Coach (Metropolitan Men) Ash Arnott, and will be assisted by Nathan Cooper-Brown, Zach Moult and Neil Mottram.


Anthony Dell’Orso (Broadmeadows)
Harry Johnson (Knox)
Christian D’Angelo (Traralgon/Nunawading)
Joseph Locandro (Waverley)
Kane Hynes (Wyndham)
Mason Perry (Dandenong)
Matthew Power (Camberwell)
Noah Todd (Diamond Valley)
Tom Carroll (Dandenong)
Will Hynes (Ballarat) 


Austin McKenzie (Horsham)
Dylan Bucknell (Casey)
Elijah Duol (Dandenong)
Ned Dillon (Eltham)
Patrick Twigg (Melbourne)

Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Women

The Victoria Under-20 Navy Blue Women’s team will be coached by Australian Opals legend Jenni Screen, who is currently working as Basketball Victoria’s High Performance head coach (Metropolitan Women). She will be working alongside former national championship winning head coach Zoe Carr, Jo Wood and Kerryn O’Donnell. An on-court leader to look out for is VNPP athlete Jasmine Whately.


Courtney Willemse (Diamond Valley)
Janthin Yat (Dandenong)
Jasmine Whately (Geelong United)
Kodie Myszka (Dandenong)
Maggie Kratochvil (Melbourne)
Nya Lok (Waverley)
Lauren Jones (Wyndham)
Perina Leime (Dandenong)
Sarae Beveridge (Nunawading)
Tyla Paraha (Altona) 


Mariah Derksen (Kilsyth)
Tayla Hooper (Melbourne) 

Victoria Ivor Burge Men

The Victoria Ivor Burge Men’s team is looking to return to the top of the podium with a few familiar faces. Returning to the 2021 lineup are experienced mainstays Jake De La Motte, James Myers and Frazer Dawber. The only two new additions to the team are rising stars Jack Inella and Matthew Farrar.

Head coach Ryan Holloway is keen see the team play at the Championships.

“These championships mean everything to this team – they’re passionate and excited to be able to represent Victoria on the national stage,” he said.

“It’s going to be another tough year of competition with the Ivor Burge competition, but as a team we’ll be ready to hit the floor running.”

Holloway will be assisted by Adrian Carfora, Glen Jordan, and Karen Patterson.


Frazer Dawber
Jack Inella
Ryan Lethlean
Jake De La Motte
James Debetta
James Myers
Luke Nicholls
Matthew Farrar
Michael Snyders
Nick Cluning 


Ryan Briggs
Jake Booth

Victoria Ivor Burge Women

Unfortunately due to a lack of competing teams from other states, the 2021 Ivor Burge Women’s tournament will not go ahead. The side that won the 2020 Ivor Burge Women’s title in Canberra were reselected in the 2021 lineup.

Head coach Simon Robinson said despite these challenges, the program will try to put on alternative events to keep athletes involved and interested.

“I know a lot of the athletes well, know the families well – I do feel a big sense of obligation and duty to provide as many opportunities as we can [to] make it the best experience that we can,” he said.

“We’ll definitely be trying to give opportunities to the athletes to keep them engaged and get back to some sense of normalcy and 2022 will hopefully be like what it was in 2020.”

Robinson will be assisted by Justin May and O’Donnell.


Danielle Phillips
Evie Patterson
Jasmine Dellas
Jessica McCulloch
Kate Leckenby
Kaitlyn Papworth
Kaitlin Zonneveld
Montana Haag-Witherden
Natasha Exell
Rachel Potter 

Victoria Under-20 Women

The Victoria Under-20 Women’s team features a number of junior talent, including WNBL athletes Gemma Potter and Jade Melbourne, as well as current Centre of Excellence athletes Charlise Dunn, Emily Sewell and Olivia Pollard.

Head coach Katrina Hibbert says the group’s versatility mixed with elite level experience is a recipe for success.

“This team has the ability to play several different line-ups with the group we have selected – we can play big and dominate the paint and we can play with a smaller line-up with versatility through all positions to stretch oppositions and be aggressive and disruptive defensively,” she says.

“I’m looking forward to working with a talented group pf female athletes in a challenging tournament environment against the other top female players of their age group in Australia.”

Hibbert is assisted by Kerryn Mitchell (Frankston), Taylor Lee (Casey), and Lisa Page.


Charlise Dunn (Knox/COE)
Emily Sewell (Dandenong/COE)
Gemma Potter (Dandenong)
Georgia Booth (Kilsyth)
Hailey Merrigan (Bulleen)
Jade Melbourne (Traralgon/COE)
Kayla Salmons (Altona)
Luisa Fakalata (Nunawading)
Maddie Condron (Bendigo)
Olivia Pollerd (Southern Peninsula/COE) 


Elly Morgan (Dandenong)
Tess Barnes (Bendigo) 

Victoria Under-20 Men

The Victoria Under-20 Men’s team brings together the best of the Country and Metropolitan. Featuring Australian Boomers tandem Dyson Daniel and Patrick Ryan, NBA Global Academy representative Bol Dengdit and former Victorian representatives Brody Nunn, Josh Duach, Joe Moli, Keith Robinson, Riley Simmons and Owen Foxwell, this team is shaping up for success.

Head coach Matthew Nunn says the groups spark and intensity will make for some exciting baseball to watch.

“I think we have a very versatile and balanced team that will have very strong guard play at both ends,” he says.

“I think it is a great outcome for the Under-20 age group to participate at the championships this year, as it is a critical pathway for many young athletes to launch their future goals within the sport.”

Nunn is assisted by Andrew Cutler (Nunawading), Braden Cotter (Knox), and Wayne Bird.


Austin Shelley (Moe / Knox)
Brody Nunn (Knox)
Bol Dengdit (Melton/NBA Global Academy)
Dyson Daniels (Bendigo/COE)
Josh Duach (Kilsyth)
Jye Moli (Knox)
Keith Robinson (Phillip Island / Casey)
Owen Foxwell (Bulleen)
Patrick Ryan (Phillip Island / COE)
Riley Simmons (Dandenong) 

VJBL U16 Grading Phase Pool 1 wrap: Round 2

THE second round of Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) presented plenty of close shaves and a couple of blowouts in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Sandringham and Dandenong enjoyed a percentage boosting wins against Altona and Craigieburn respectively in the Under 16 Boys while Hawthorn and Keilor impressed in the Girls.



Frankston got on top of Coburg downing the Giants by 23 points in the opening game for Pool A. The Blues were led by Alexander Dimic who managed nine points for the match but there were a host of other players that stepped up to the plate, with five players recording five or more points to guide Frankston to victory. Hawthorn well and truly flexed their muscles against Bulleen running out 37 point victors in a strong showing. The Magic had three players notch up double figures while the Boomers only had one.

Frankston (44) defeated Coburg (21)

Alexander Dimic (Frankston) 9
Mason Krone (Frankston) 8
Saul Beckford Saunders (Coburg) 7

Bulleen (36) defeated by Hawthorn 2 (73)

Jesse McIntosh (Hawthorn) 15
Phoenix Windsor (Hawthorn) 15
Harrison Beauchamp (Bulleen) 11


Sandringham put on an absolute spectacle against Altona in Round 2, piling on a whopping 95 points to 29. The Sabres seemed to have all the answers and made light work of Altona limiting any easy access to the basket while sharing the load around to create a multiplayer pronged attack. On the other hand it was a closer contest between Kilsyth and Hawthorn however it was the former that managed to get the job done claiming their second win of the season largely in part to Curtis Putney who starred with 22 points.

Kilsyth (52) defeated Hawthorn 2 (37)

Curtis Putney (Kilsyth) 22
Tom Bromhead (Hawthorn) 9
Isaac Ghosn (Kilsyth) 8

Altona (29) defeated by Sandringham (95)

Adrian Cole (Sandringham) 18
Rhys Starow (Sandringham) 17
Oscar Humble (Sandringham) 12


It was two very different stories in Pool C with Dandenong walking all over Craigieburn in the first game while Diamond Valley had their work cut out for them against Latrobe. In the end the Rangers proved way too strong for Craigieburn piling on the scoreboard pressure and limiting their opponents options in attack. For the Eagles their persistent nature enabled them to grind out  the game against Latrobe and steal a 10-point win to secure their second win of the season.

Dandenong (84) defeated Craigieburn (37)

Tadhg Boyle (Craigieburn) 15
Tullan Chimyong (Dandenong) 13
Luke Fennell (Dandenong) 12

Diamond Valley (59) defeated Latrobe (49)

William Dean (Diamond Valley) 19
Zak Johnson (Diamond Valley) 17
Noah Johnston (Latrobe) 10


It was a similar scoring pattern for both games with the two victors in Ballarat and Casey registering 50-plus points and the losers Eltham and Nunawading only managing tallies in the 30s. Ballarat got over the top of Eltham thanks to the services of Ned Renfree who slotted 21 points while for Casey it was damaging duo Truman Byrne and Sebastian van den Brink that led the charge with a combined 28 points.

Eltham (38) defeated by Ballarat (52)

Ned Renfree (Ballarat) 21
Nicholas Robinson (Ballarat) 12
Jett Williams (Eltham) 12
Matthew Zrna (Eltham) 12

Nunawading (30) defeated by Casey (51)

Truman Byrne (Casey) 14
Sebastian van den Brink (Casey) 14
Grantham Milner (Nunawading) 8


It was a close contest between Geelong and Knox with United narrowly getting the job done to claim their first win of the season. Geelong fought tooth and nail to steal a five point win while the Knox slump to their second straight loss. The other game in Pool E saw Keilor continue to inflict their dominance registering a 24 point victory over the Tigers who struggled to worry the well-oiled machine that is the Thunder led by Jai Prince.

Knox (39) defeated by Geelong (44)

Jesse Ombega (Geelong) 15
Brady Hall (Geelong) 11
William Jones (Knox) 8

Keilor (50) defeated Melbourne (26)               

Jai Prince (Keilor) 18
Calvin Whicher (Keilor) 6
Geordan Hitchiner (Melbourne) 6


Pakenham notched up their first win of the VJBL season edging out Kilsyth by 18 points inspired by Joshua Greig and Harrison Canning with the duo proving to be exactly the spark they needed to get over the line. The other game was a much closer battle with the victor decided by a mere two points and Knox in the end claiming the bragging rights despite the best efforts of McKinnon. The win takes their tally to one win, one loss as they look to build on some continuity.

Pakenham (59) defeated Kilsyth 2 (41)

Harrison Canning (Pakenham) 15
Chayse Vincent (Kilsyth) 15
Joshua Greig (Pakenham) 14

Knox (44) defeated McKinnon (42)

Riley White (Knox) 10
Trent Hotton (McKinnon) 7
Rod Ali (Knox) 7



It was a mixed bag of results for Hawthorn with their seconds suffering a loss and their firsts demolishing their opponents claiming an 85 point drubbing. Knox made their intentions clear hitting the scoreboard with ease and taking care of Hawthorn to secure a 35 point win with Erica Cid leading the way with her 14 points. The Magic had five players reach double digits on the scoring front with Georgia McBean backing up her efforts from last week to once again star with 18 points.

Knox (53) defeated Hawthorn 2 (18)

Erica Cid (Knox) 14
Mikayla Blias (Knox) 9
Chelsea Puls (Knox) 8

Hawthorn (98) defeated Broadmeadows (13)

Georgia McBean (Hawthorn) 18
Emma McDonald (Hawthorn) 15
Isobelle Wightman (Hawthorn) 14


In terms of winning scores it is fair to say that 49 seemed to be the magic number as both Sandringham and Melbourne secured victories posting that score. Melbourne Tigers toppled Diamond Valley Eagles in the opening game of Round 2 for Pool B to claim their second win of the season and reduce the Eagles to one and one. Nunawading put up a good fight against the Sabres but fell short thanks to Natalia Hordejuk paving the way for the winners.

Diamond Valley (35) defeated by Melbourne (49)

Mackenzie Reddrop (Melbourne) 16
Ashton Simmons (Diamond Valley) 11
Bonnie Autupuna (Melbourne) 8

Nunawading (38) defeated by Sandringham (49)

Natalia Hordejuk (Sandringham) 16
Jasmine Stocks (Nunawading) 11
Jazmyn Murphy (Nunawading) 10


It was a disappointing round for Eltham with neither side able to record a win going down to Casey and Bulleen respectively. Bulleen looked slick against Eltham 2 claiming a strong 25-point win while Casey secured a 12-point victory. Tahlia Leeson impressed for the Boomers with 16 points while Kyra Webb and Victoria Meredith combined for Casey.

Bulleen (46) defeated Eltham 2 (21)

Tahlia Leeson (Bulleen) 16
Keilani Kwan-Wing (Bulleen) 9
Ella Rowe (Bulleen) 7

Casey (40) defeated Eltham 1 (28)

Kyra Webb (Casey) 9
Victoria Meredith (Casey) 9
Lucy Christodoulou (Eltham) 9


Dandenong  got on top of McKinnon with a 55 to 27 win in round two of the VJBL. Dandenong simply proved too strong for McKinnon who could not get any easy access to the basket while Dandenong applied a wealth of scoreboard pressure. It was a different tale in the Kilsyth against Latrobe Energy game with the latter sneaking away with a six point victory. It was a hard fought contest between the two sides with Latrobe pulling away at the right time to claim their second win of the season.

Dandenong (55) defeated McKinnon (27)

Kailey Neave (Dandenong) 9
Sophie Taylor (Dandenong) 9
Ella Cardiff (McKinnon) 9

Kilsyth (31) defeated by Latrobe (37)

Hannah Day (Kilsyth) 12
Taleesha O’Kane (Kilsyth) 12
Emily Scholtes (Latrobe) 10
Asha Nightingale (Latrobe) 10


Keilor made light work of Wyndham to collect their second consecutive win and showcase their dominance over the competition. The Thunder seemed to have everything go their way both in offence and defence as reflected through this 60 to 19 win. Geelong also recorded a victory in round two overcoming Bellarine by 20 points thanks to the spirited efforts of Indiana Schwartz.

Keilor (60) defeated Wyndham (19)

Ruby Murphy (Keilor) 13
Jelena Savic (Keilor) 12
Ava Densley (Wyndham) 11

Bellarine (24) defeated by Geelong United (44)

Indiana Schwartz (Geelong) 10
Matilda Sewell (Bellarine) 8
Rae El Adam (Geelong) 7


It was an intense battle between Collingwood and Nunawading with the latter getting the wood over Collingwood in a close contest. In the end there was only eight points separating the two sides as the Spectres notched up their first win. In the other game it was Ballarat that reigned supreme over the Blues securing a 17 point win and their second victory so far.

Collingwood (40) defeated by Nunawading (48)

Madeline Potts (Nunawading) 13
Katie Harrington (Nunawading) 13
Arek Akot (Collingwood) 12
Keira Lindemans (Collingwood) 12

Ballarat (51) defeated Frankston (34)

Georgia Bodey (Ballarat) 17
Lily Woodland Boyanton (Ballarat) 8
Elli Symonds (Frankston) 8
Jamie Paxton (Frankston) 8

Picture credit: Keilor Thunder Facebook page

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Grand Final

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division will host the championship game tonight, with the Dandenong Rangers going head-to-head with the Knox Raiders.

Last month, Knox opened the finals series with a tight win over now Grand Final opponents, Dandenong (54-51), sending them straight into the preliminaries. After the loss, Dandenong responded appropriately against Bendigo in a 24-point demolition at Broadmeadows – recording three consecutive terms over 20 points. Knox also remained atop their game come preliminaries, snaring a 70-50 win over Nunawading, while Dandenong charged through the once finals favourites, Bulleen, to join Knox in the championship match-up. Friday’s contest boasts three players from the 2019 FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship squad in Charlise Dunn, Leia Hanafin and Emily Sewell. Though with Sewell yet to take part in this finals series, it seems to be just a battle between Dunn and Hanafin.

Currently Dunn retains top spot for shooters in this match-up, averaging 13.7 points per game (PPG), ranked ninth across the league. In last week’s hit-out, the forward scored 19 points for the Raiders to back up her 19 the week prior. Though Hanafin ranks outside the top-20 for her average (9), the Dandenong guard has presented exceptionally well over the last fortnight with 18 and 11 points. Elly Morgan also remains impressive, scoring 22 and 16 to move to fifteenth for PPG. The Raiders will rely heavily on Dunn in this match-up and hope for Zoe Jenkins to continue last week’s form – managing a game-high 22 points. Of the three times these outfits have faced, Knox have won two but never by more than five points. This Friday, we will find out if Knox can cement themselves as decisive victors or if Dandenong can pull off the most important win of the four.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Semi-finals

THE Under-18 Girls Semi-Finals kick off in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Championship Division this week with Dandenong Rangers facing the Bendigo Braves and the Nunawading Spectres facing Southern Peninsula Sharks. The Bulleen Boomers and the Knox Raiders enjoy a week off with the Preliminary Finals just over a week away.

Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 12-6) vs Bendigo Braves (6th, 11-7)

The first semi-final kicks off in Broadmeadows with the Dandenong Rangers facing the Bendigo Braves. Last week, the Rangers fell three points short against Knox Raiders, conceding 19-10 in the fourth for the biggest margin all game. In Sunbury, Bendigo proved better over Diamond Valley (77-64). In their last meeting with Dandenong, they walked away two-point victors, and with only one win separating them, stand a fair chance to repeat. Elly Morgan (15 points) stood tall in the last week’s loss against Knox, alongside fellow NBL1 representatives Kodie Myszka (11) and Hannah Rapp (10). On the points per game (PPG) leaderboard, Emily Sewell currently leads for Dandenong with 12.5, followed next by Morgan on 10.4. The Braves will look to top-five scorer, Piper Dunlop (15.8 PPG) to maintain form, having scored 23 points alongside Meg McCarthy (23) in last week’s victory. Tess Barnes also remains a threat with a 13.8 average – in ninth for PPG.

Nunawading Spectres (4th, 12-6) vs Southern Peninsula Sharks (8th 9-9)

The Nunawading Spectres and Southern Peninsula Sharks close out the other semi-final in Dandenong. The Spectres came up short last week against Bulleen (53-46), collecting their fourth consecutive loss. Comparatively, the Sharks managed to snare their fourth win in a row last week after decisively shutting down Altona. Despite sitting four positions below with three less wins, the Sharks enter this match-up as clear favourites. Louisa Fakalata remains a positive for the Spectres, boasting second position (PPG) with 17.7 from nine outings. Last week, the NBL1 representative managed just 10 points, having good support in Lucy Wales (13) and Tayha Watkins (14). For Southern Peninsula, overall scoring leader, Emirson Devenie (168 points), will look to back up her 18 points last week. The Sharks continue to boast a high scoring roster, with four players making double-digits last week, and three players within the top 20 for PPG. Charli Dobson (11) and Gemma Simon (10) are two of which looking to maintain form.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Qualifying and Elimination Finals

THE Qualifying and Elimination finals kick off this week in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League Under-18 Girls Championship Division. Six of the eight teams will proceed at the round’s end, with Bendigo, Diamond Valley, Altona and Southern Peninsula all facing off in the first leg of elimination finals.

Bulleen Boomers (1st, 15-3) vs Nunawading Spectres (4th, 12-6)

Bulleen Boomers will look to hold their dominance into the finals as they face the Nunawading Spectres in Hawthorn. In their last match-up, Bulleen got the better on the road. Unsurprisingly, Bulleen’s away record remains without blemish (8-0), while Nunawading hold at 6-3 on both ends. At neutral territory, the Boomers seem a lock, having paved their way to five consecutive wins, while Nunawading lost three in a row in the lead-up. Besides advancing to finals, this game presents a lot in the way of match-ups. Bulleen’s second-placed shooter, Alexandra Keating will face Nunawading’s top-league scorer, Louisa Fakalata. Keating currently sits at 17.7 points per game (PPG) with 124 points overall. She’s been well accompanied by Casey Valenti-Paea who follows close with 14.4 PPG. For Nunawading, Fakalata tops the table with 18.6 PPG and 149 points overall, with Maddison Zugna trailing inside the top-20 on 10.7. In their last match-up, Fakalata scored 18, while Keating was absent.

Knox Raiders (2nd, 13-4-1) vs Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 12-6)

In the second qualifying final, the Knox Raiders travel to Batesford Reserve to face the Dandenong Rangers. Without a loss on their away record, Knox enter the neutral territory as favourites. Though comparatively, Dandenong’s last five have been a lot better – winning four compared to one. In their last match-up Dandenong proved better again, but conceded a loss in March at the height of the Raiders’ form. Charlise Dunn continues to be solid for the Raiders averaging 11 PPG from four outings, Georgia Baldwin follows close with 10.1. In last week’s loss, Meg Robinson led the way with 11 points, and sat the only player to crack double-digits. For Dandenong, Hannah Rapp (nine) and Emily Sewell (12.5) have starred. In last week’s win, Leah Mackenzie controlled the floor with 16 points, and will be expected to repeat this week.

Altona Gators (5th, 11-6-1) vs Southern Peninsula (8th, 9-9)

The elimination finals also tip off tonight when the Altona Gators face the Southern Peninsula Sharks in Sandringham. The Gators will be desperate to regain some form with a long road ahead, while the Sharks boasting one of the better months in the league. Of their last four, the Gators have picked up three wins to claw their way back into finals. Comparatively, the Gators have beaten Nunawading and conceded defeat to Geelong, so inconsistency is likely to cost them. Kayla Salmons has been impressive for Altona this season averaging 12.3 PPG, along with Monique Marcetic-Vaotangi (8.6). Last week, Marcetic-Vaotangi led on the board with 10, followed next by Salmons’ seven. For Southern Peninsula Emirson Devenie has dominated, sitting third in the league for PPG (16.7), while Charli Dobson follows with 14.6. In their win last week, Devenie led the way with 26, followed close by Dobson on 22.

Bendigo Braves (6th, 11-7) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (7th, 9-8-1)

The second elimination final pits the Bendigo Braves against the Diamond Valley Eagles for the second time in a month. Bendigo has managed consecutive wins over the past fortnight, defeating Altona Gators and Diamond Valley Eagles. Comparatively, the Eagles rebounded from their thrashing against Bendigo to defeat the Hawthorn Magic. On neutral territory, neither side looks to have the advantage but history declares Bendigo winner. Piper Dunlop and Tess Barnes have been immense for the Braves this season, averaging 14.7 and 14.4 PPG respectively. The pair boast fifth and eighth spots in the league for PPG from seven outings each. For Diamond Valley, Jade Dunne stands as the greatest weapon, averaging 14.4 PPG. In last week’s win, she recorded 19 points, while Keeley Evans also impressed with 15.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Round 8

THE penultimate round of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Victorian Championship Division gets underway tomorrow night with some teams’ last chance for finals, while others hope to secure home finals with important wins.

Geelong Supercats (13th, 7-9) vs. Knox Raiders (2nd, 13-3)

Geelong Supercats are relying on an upset win against title contender Knox Raiders, and a victory in the final round to have any hope of making finals. They sit second bottom of the Championship Division teams, but do hold a strong record of five wins from seven matches at home. Their opponents are unbeaten on the road though, which means this match will be as tough as it gets for the home team. With the Raiders facing top-of-the-table Bulleen Boomers in the final round, this is a must-win to keep in contention for top spot. Charlise Dunn averages 11.0 points per game as the top Raiders shooter in what has been an even team season along with Georgia Baldwin (10.4). For Geelong, Carly Remmos and Alisha Knights have both averaged 12.4 points per game in the Championship Division.

Bendigo Braves (8th. 9-7) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (10th, 8-7-1)

A win for the visitors in the Bendigo-Diamond Valley clash will secure the Eagles a finals spot, and potentially move them clear of a couple of opponents to even position themselves for a home elimination final. They are just two wins from seven matches away though, while the Braves have won five from seven at home. They win and they are able to keep touch with Altona Gators just above them, and will be keen to also secure a home elimination final. Piper Dunlop (14.3 points per game) and Tess Barnes (13.5) are players to watch from the home side, while Jade Dunne (13.7) has been a standout shooter for Diamond Valley this season.

Altona Gators (7th, 10-5-1) vs. Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 12-4)

In another crucial clash for these sides, Altona Gators must win to ensure they grab a home final, but more importantly put themselves in pole position for a double chance. The Spectres might have a double chance locked up barring a complete disaster run – two losses and Altona and Dandenong both overtake them, but will be keen to take advantage of a top two clash in the final round to potentially grab a home qualifying final. The Gators are four wins and a draw from seven games at home, while the Spectres have not done too much wrong on the road with just the one loss from seven games, and losing its first game last week in a number of months. Louisa Fakalata has been a scoring machine, averaging 19.2 points per game and the top points scorer in the competition, while Maddison Zugna (12.4) has also been impressive this season. For Altona, Kayla Salmons has been a shining light, contributing 11.8 points per game.

Hawthorn Magic (9th, 8-6-2) vs. Southern Peninsula Sharks (14th, 7-9)

The lowest ranked side in the Championship Division, Southern Peninsula Sharks are coming off a win last round by 22 points over Bendigo Braves and will be keen to make it two on the trot to give themselves any chance of finals. They need to win both games and Diamond Valley and Geelong Falcons to lose both in order to lock up a finals spot. For the Magic, they need to win to maintain their spot in the top eight with Diamond Valley chasing their spot, along with the bottom two sides trying to force their way into the top eight. The Magic is three wins and a draw from seven games, while the Sharks have won three from seven on the road making this head-to-head tough to predict. Ryleh Killian has been a super player in the grade, sinking an average of 15.0 points per game, while for the Sharks, Charli Dobson and Emirson Devenie have both notched up 14.1 points per game.

Dandenong Rangers (5th, 11-5) vs. Bulleen Boomers (1st, 13-3)

In a game which could mirror a qualifying final in a fortnight, the top-of-the-table Boomers travel to Dandenong to face the fourth placed – in the Championship Division – Rangers. Dandenong has won five on the trot and is in fine form with five wins from eight games, while the Boomers have won the past three with an undefeated run when travelling from six matches. Alexandra Keating averages the most points of any player in the competition, with the Boomers shooter putting up 19.4 points per game, teaming well with Casey Valenti-Paea (14.5) and Erin Riley (10.3). The Rangers have also shared it around, with Emily Sewell (14.0), Elly Morgan (10.1) and Leia Hanafin (10.0) all showing they have the capability to put good numbers up when in the side.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Round 6

THIS week in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division, only two teams within the top eight face off. Knox Raiders host Bendigo Braves in what will likely be the match of the round, while the match-up between Nunawading Spectres and Hawthorn Magic also looks set to impress.

Knox Raiders (1st, 12-2) vs Bendigo Braves (6th, 9-5)

After suffering a rare loss to the Dandenong Rangers in Round 5, the Knox Raiders face a similarly placed Bendigo Braves in a match that they hope will return them to the winner’s list. Since joining the Championship Division, the Raiders have won three of their five games but are yet to take a scalp from a top-end contender. Also, two of their three wins have come from margins below three points, raising questions regarding their worthiness for the top spot. Comparatively, the Braves have also lost two of their five outings in the Championship Division – one of which was a forfeit. Unlike Knox, the Braves have taken big wins against Dandenong and Boomers, making them seem the favourites coming into this match-up. Charlise Dunn, has been in decent form for the Raiders, averaging 11.5 points per game (PPG) from two outings. She’s followed close by Georgia Baldwin, who averages 10.8 from five appearances. For the Braves, Piper Dunlop continues to impress as she placed third across the league for PPG (16.5) from four outings, alongside Tess Barnes who averages 13.5 in ninth spot.

Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 11-3) vs Hawthorn Magic (9th, 8-4-2)

Hawthorn Magic face a huge challenge this week as they face Nunawading Spectres on the road. This year the Spectres have boasted the most dominant streak (11) seen in recent times – going through teams high and low to make it happen. The Magic have faced two top-end sides in recent weeks but may face their biggest yet when they travel to Nunawading. Hawthorn have not had a genuine win in the Championship Division since the opening round against Geelong (41-60) – following up with a draw then a forfeited win against the Braves. With their record in mind, the Magic seem unlikely to break the streak. The Spectres also boast second-best league scorer in Louisa Fakalata (19.5), followed close by Maddison Zugna (15.2) in sixth place. The Magic seem unlikely to match, despite holding Ryleh Killian (15.8) in fifth spot. With Ella Crump just barely rounding out the top-40 in scoring with 6.8 PPG.

Southern Peninsula Sharks (14th, 6-8) vs Dandenong Rangers (5th, 9-5)

Dandenong Rangers will hope to crack into the top four this week as they face the struggling Southern Peninsula Sharks on the road. Still yet to record a win in the Championship Division, the Sharks have the odds stacked against them. The Rangers have won their last three outings and sit two wins away from second spot. A win will help them press for second-chance territory in the coming weeks. Though despite Southern Peninsula’s current record, they still boast three players in the top 20 for league scoring. Charli Dobson has been in top-form, sitting in fourth spot with 16.2 PPG, alongside Emirson Devenie in 12th with 12.2 PPG and Gemma Simon in fourteenth with 11.6. Comparatively, the Rangers only have one player in the top 20, with Emily Sewell averaging 14 points from three outings in seventh spot. Hannah Rapp has also been impressive for the Rangers with 9 PPG.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 11-3) vs Geelong Supercats (13th, 6-8)

Bulleen Boomers home record (6-3-0) will be tested this week when they face Geelong Supercats this Friday. Though when compared with Geelong’s away record (2-6-0), it seems unlikely that the Boomers will fall. Since joining the Championship Division, the Boomers have won all but one of their outings. Though much like Knox, Boomers have been so far blessed with an easier fixture and are yet to take a win against a top-end sides. It is not unbelievable that the Supercats cause an upset this week – presenting an impressive contest (53-51) against the league’s most dominant side, Nunawading Spectres. Bulleen’s, Alexandra Keating leads the league in scoring with 21.8 PPG from four outings. She has been accompanied well by Casey Valenti-Paea who averages 13.8 in eighth spot, while the Supercats’ top players, Alishia Knights (13.4), Carly Remmos (12) and Chloe Skinner (10.3), sit below in eleventh, thirteenth and nineteenth respectively.

Diamond Valley Eagles (12th, 7-6-1) vs Altona Gators (7th, 9-4-1)

Looking to make it three in a row, Altona Gators look a serious chance to climb the table when they face Diamond Valley Eagles on the road this week. The Eagles have been less than successful in the Championship Division but boast an impressive 6-1-1 record at home. Considered with Altona’s 5-2-0 record on the road, this game has the potential to be a big one with both sides set to lift a few spots with a positive result. Jade Dunne has been impressive for the Eagles all season, averaging 13.4 PPG from her five outings in tenth for league scoring, alongside Abby Hildebrand who has been similarly impressive with 10.5 in eighteenth. Comparatively, the Gators’ best players both round out the top-20 with Kayla Salmons (10.5) in seventeenth and Trinity Steele (10.3) in 20th.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Round 5

THIS week in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division, there are plenty of entertaining contests. The Boomers will host the Magic in what could be the game of the round. The clash between Southern Peninsula and Altona Gators could prove to be a close one, with both sides still vying for a finals opportunity. Knox will hope to get further separation from second when they face the sixth-placed Dandenong Rangers to close out the round.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 10-3) vs Hawthorn Magic (7th, 8-3-2)

In possibly the game of the round, the Hawthorn Magic travel to Bulleen where they face the second-placed Boomers in a must-win clash. Of those already in the top-eight, this game should prove the hardest fixture for both sides. The Boomers are coming off a defeat, losing to Altona on the road as the Nunawading Spectres move into their place in second. The Magic fell to the top of the table last week, losing 35-45 against Knox. Luckily for the Boomers, they still boast top league scorer in Alexandra Keating, who has averaged 23.7 points per game across three outings. Casey Valenti-Paea and Olivia Tsantarlis have also been impressive for the home side with 12 and 10 PPG respectively. For the Magic, Ryleh Killian leads scoring with 14.3, but unfortunately lacks support similar to the Boomers – possessing no players within the top 40 other than herself. Casey Dunstan and Ella Crump are Hawthorn’s next highest scorers, both averaging six PPG.

Geelong Supercats (13th, 6-7) vs Bendigo Braves (6th, 8-5)

The Geelong Supercats hope to rebound from last week’s loss with a win over a struggling Bendigo Braves. Both sides sit on the edge of leaving and entering the top-eight, making a win in this match-up one of the most important outcomes of the round. For their position, the Supercats boast an impressive record at home (4-1-0). Contrastingly, Bendigo’s record on the road (3-4-0) is one of the worst in the top-eight. Chloe Skinner and Alishia Knights have proven a dangerous duo for the Supercats, averaging 13 PPG each across two and three games respectively. Carly Remmos has also been in form, following close on 12. For the Braves, Tess Barnes (16.7) has been dominant. When paired with teammate, Piper Dunlop (15), there isn’t a lot oppositions can do. With such scoring power, this game looks a real chance to be a round favourite.

Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 10-3) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 7-5-1)

The Spectres look to keep their huge streak alive when they face the Diamond Valley Eagles in what could be their eleventh consecutive win of the season. Like the Spectres, the Eagles are also coming off a win but are still battling to consolidate their position. A win for the visitors would be a big confidence boost as we move past the season’s midway mark, while a loss could threaten their chances with teams like Geelong and Southern Peninsula on the rise. It is no surprise that the Spectres have two players within the top-five for league scoring. Louis Fakalata has been in top form over the last month, averaging 20.7 PPG in second, while Maddison Zugna follows on 15.8 in fifth. Two spots below Zugna sits Jade Dunne in seventh – Diamond Valley’s top scorer with 15 PPG. Abby Hildebrand and Keeley Evans round out the top 20 in 18th and 20th, averaging 11.3 and 9.7 PPG.

Southern Peninsula Sharks (14th, 6-7) vs Altona Gators (8th, 8-4-1)

Southern Peninsula Sharks look to prove their worth at home when they face the Altona Gators this week. The pair have been in unusual form since joining the Championship Division. Southern Peninsula is yet to record a win in the new division, but despite some bigger margins, came close to knocking the Knox Raiders (77-79) in the second round. Similarly, the Gators came close against Knox (46-47) in the first round, tied with the Magic in the second, lost another close one to Dandenong before finally taking a big scalp in the Bulleen Boomers. The game could go either way, but the Gators have shown much more quality in their losses. For Peninsula, Charli Dobson has been damaging, picking up 16.5 PPG to sit in fourth spot for league scoring. Teammates, Emirson Devenie and Gemma Simon, have also been producing with 11.8 points each per game. Altona are without a player in top 20, with Kayla Salmons just missing the cut in twenty-first with 9.3 PPG. Tyla Paraha follows next on 8.7.

Knox Raiders (1st, 12-1) vs Dandenong Rangers (5th, 8-5)

The Dandenong Rangers have a big job ahead this week when they face league-leaders, Knox Raiders, on the road. Knox will not be looking to give up their two-win lead up easy, but have lost at home once before. In recent weeks, Knox have come close to losing from bottom-end sides in Southern Peninsula and Altona – plus suffered their first defeat of the season against the unstoppable Nunawading Spectres. The Rangers have fallen on both sides of the coin, collecting two wins and two losses in the Championship Division. For the home side, Charlise Dunn has been a stellar producer, averaging 13 PPG, followed close by Georgia Baldwin on 11.8. The Rangers will hope Emily Sewell delivers on her form, having averaged 15 PPG from two games. Hannah Rapp will also need a big performance if Dandenong intend to compete with the Raider’s lock-down style.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC preview: Round 4

IN Round 4 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls competition, the Nunawading Spectres continue to have their streak tested when they face the Bendigo Braves for a chance to make it 10 in a row. The Hawthorn Magic and Knox Raiders will also host a similarly tight contest with the Raiders coming off their first loss of the season and the Magic looking to break into the top four.

Bendigo Braves (4th, 8-4) vs Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 9-3)

In the game of the round, the Bendigo Braves will test their undefeated home record (5-0-0) against a dominant Nunawading Spectres for a chance to reclaim third. Last round, the Spectres shut down the Raiders’ 11-win streak to keep their own streak (nine) alive. The win took them ahead of this week’s competition, Bendigo Braves, who suffered a poor result last round after forfeiting to Hawthorn. Likely to have won their last game, the Braves will be determined to set the record straight with a big scalp over the Spectres. Piper Dunlop and Tess Barnes sit fifth and sixth for league scoring, averaging 16.5 and 16 points per game (PPG) respectively. The pair, along with Madeline Marks (11.3), have been stellar for Braves and should be eager to take the floor after their extended hiatus. For the Spectres, Louisa Fakalata has been immense, averaging 20 points per game to put her second for league scoring. Teammate, Maddison Zugna, has also been important with 15.3 PPG this game.

Hawthorn Magic (5th, 8-2-2) vs Knox Raiders (1st, 11-1)

In the second biggest outing of the round, the Hawthorn Magic will hope to take advantage of a wounded Knox Raiders with hopes of breaking into the top four. Last round came with unusual results for both sides, with the previously undefeated Raiders losing their first game and Hawthorn gaining a win from a Bendigo forfeit. Coming off the break, Knox are likely to rebound and build some space between them and the Bulleen Boomers in second. Rhyleh Killian has dominated for the Magic, averaging 19 points from two games this season. No other player averages over 10 points for the Magic this season – Ella Crump following on nine PPG. For the Raiders, Charlise Dunn and Georgia Baldwin have led scoring, with 13 and 11.3 PPG respectively. Since the Magic have not played a game in three weeks, the extended break presents a chance of lower cohesiveness when faced with the league-leaders, who will undeniably plan on responding following last round’s result.

Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 6-5-1) vs Southern Peninsula Sharks (13th, 6-6)

In eleventh and thirteenth, both sides sit only one win below seventh place, making this game a must win for both. On Friday, the Diamond Valley Eagles host the Southern Peninsula Sharks, where the Sharks hope to snare their first win in the VC Championships. Despite coming off the loss last week, the Eagles’ impressive record (5-1-1) dictates that they win this week’s game. Comparatively, the Sharks record on the road leaves much to be desired (2-3-0). For the Eagles, Jade Dunne leads scoring with 15.3 PPG, followed by Abby Hildebrand on 10. Last round, Georgia Kitchell was immense for the Eagles, snaring 19 points to lead her team in scoring – followed by Dunne on 17. For the Sharks, Charli Dobson sits fourth for league scoring with 18.7 PPG, with her teammates, Gemma Simon (10.3) and Emirson Devenie (10), rounding out the top-20 at 17th and 18th respectively.

Altona Gators (9th, 7-4-1) vs Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 10-2)

The Bulleen Boomers have a real chance to steal top spot if they can topple the Altona Gators at home this week. Though in ninth, the Gators sit just one win below fourth, meaning a win for Altona could see them scale the ladder. Thus far, the Boomers are without a loss on the road (5-0-0), while the Gators haven’t defined a real preference at home (4-2-1) or away (3-2-0) but came extremely close to defeating the once undefeated Raiders (46-47) in the opening round of the VC Championship. Despite all that, the Gators are yet to win a game in the VC, recording a draw in their second game and losing their other two by a combined margin of four points. The Gators also lack damaging scorers with no player inside the top 20. Kayla Salmons so far leads with 9.3 PPG, followed close by Tylah Paraha with 8.7. For Bulleen, Alexandra Keating leads the league in scoring with 23.7 PPG, with Casey Valenti-Paea and Olivia Tsantarlis following close on 12 and 10 PPG.

Dandenong Rangers (8th, 7-5) vs Geelong Supercats (12th 6-6)

The Dandenong Rangers present a real chance to contest next round if they can beat the Geelong Supercats at home. Like many other sides, the Rangers sit just one win below fourth, while the Supercats also have a chance of lifting decently in the standings. Both sides are coming off wins from the break, with the Rangers surpassing the Gators in a tight win. Emily Sewell leads scoring for the Rangers with 15 PPG from two games, followed by Leia Hanafin who dropped nine points in her first game last round. For the Supercats, Chloe Skinner and Alishia Knights share the lead for points, both averaging 13 PPG. Carly Remmos follows close with 12, presenting a big chance alongside Skinner and Knights to punch a few holes in Dandenong’s defense.

MUVJBL U18 Girls VC review: Round 3 – Spectres go nine in a row against the best

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 18 Girls Championship division opened Round 3 in incredible fashion with the Nunawading Spectres going nine in a row against the previously undefeated Knox Raiders. NBL1 representative, Louisa Fakalata, dominated in the victory, dropping a game-high 25 points to move to second on the top scorer’s list. Maddison Zugna (11) also impressed for the Spectres, while Georgie Robinson and Meg Robinson held up for the Raiders with 12 and 11 points respectively.

The Geelong Supercats get one back in a tight 65-62 win over the Diamond Valley Eagles. Geelong fans had a lot to like with NBL1 representatives, Alisha Knights and Carly Remmos, dropping 16 and 14 points respectively, while teammate Alannah Northam also impressed with 14. For Diamond Valley, Georgia Kitchell dropped a game-high 19 points, with Jade Dunne following close on 17.

In a battle to stay off the bottom, the Dandenong Rangers snare a close 54-51 win at home against the Altona Gators. Despite losing touch in the third period, the Rangers fought hard in the fourth to close out 21-13 for the final term. NBL representatives, Emily Sewell (16), Hannah Rapp (11) and Elly Morgan (10) all starred in the win for Dandenong. For Altona, Kayla Salmons, Jordan Wilson and Trinity Steele all stepped up with 12, 10 and 10 points respectively.

The Bulleen Boomers held firm in second spot after beating Southern Peninsula 69-50 on the road. Alexandra Keating (19) continued to lead the league in shooting after another standout performance alongside teammates, Olivia Tsantarlis (12) and Casey Valenti-Paea (10), who also held strong. Southern Peninsula also boasted some big performances with Gemma Simon and Charli Dobson both dropping 16 in the loss. Unfortunately for the home side, the Boomers dominated in the first term 24-9, taking a near unassailable lead into the next three terms.

The Hawthorn Magic snared the easiest win of the round with the Bendigo Braves forfeiting the scheduled game at the Boroondara Sports Complex. The win takes the Magic to fifth spot, one below their would-be challengers.

In the reserve grade, the McKinnon Cougars continue their winless streak with a 51-80 defeat against the Nunawading Spectres. The Keilor Thunder protect a fair home record (4-1-0) against the Melbourne Tigers (53-47), while the Broadmeadows Broncos edge out the Frankston Blues in a tight affair (58-52). To close out the round, the Dandenong Rangers fall to the Warrandyte Venom at home (65-77), as the Pakenham Warriors suffer similarly against the Kilsyth Cobras (58-88).

On July 19, the Championship Division returns with the Diamond Valley Eagles hosting the Southern Peninsula and the Bendigo Braves hosting the Nunawading Spectres. The round continues with the Knox Raiders travelling to Hawthorn to face the Magic, the Altona Gators come up against the Bulleen Boomers and the Dandenong Rangers close out the round against the Geelong Supercats.