Tag: evelyn curtis

2021 VJBL: Under 18s wrap – Round 1

ROUND 1 of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18s got underway over the weekend with a number close contests headlining the round in both the boys and girls competitions.

Ashe Pool


Round 1 in the Ashe Pool was dictated by a number of exciting clashes with the contest between Casey and Sandringham the most exciting of the lot, finishing in a draw. The two sides were unable to be separated at the final buzzer standing at 66 points apiece in a showing of great intensity and determination.

Casey jumped out of the blocks early establishing a three-point lead before Sandringham hit back in the second to steal the lead back thanks to a 17-11 term. Limiting Casey’s options to the rim, Sandringham managed to pull ahead and claim some ascendancy. That momentum filtered into the third term pushing out a seven-point lead at the final change before the game was completely turned on its head thanks to a determined and gritty Casey side. A scintillating final term of basketball rounded out the game as Casey left nothing in the tank, hitting the scoreboard with relative ease to post up an impressive 22 points while reducing the impact of the Sabres across the court to secure a draw.

Casey had a trio of players that stepped up to the challenge with Ethan Bolton and Ky Taylor making their presence felt with 15 points apiece while Blake Shankland impressed with 13 points. Casey stayed away from foul trouble only registering 17 while their opponents recorded 20. Jensen Bradtke led all comers with 18 points while Fred Hayne was a good support producing 14 points of his own, as Wilson Amos and Aiden McCarthy plied their trade with 11 points each.

Pakenham prevailed in a tight one against Frankston while Bulleen just edged out Southern Peninsula to walk away with a seven point win. Nunawading got the job done against Hawthorn as did Dandenong against Kilsyth.


Frankston (61) defeated by Pakenham (67)
Casey (66) drew with Sandringham (66)
Bulleen (81) defeated Southern Peninsula (74)
Nunawading (77) defeated Hawthorn (73)
Kilsyth (57) defeated by Dandenong (68)


There were a number of blowouts in the Ashe Pool but the game between Hawthorn and Nunawading went down the wire. The two sides played out a thriller with the Magic just edging out the Spectres by a mere two points in a see-sawing affair.

Hawthorn made their intentions clear from the opening term establishing an early lead and looked to have the game on their terms before the Spectres bit back in the second. Nailing 16 points to 11, Nunawading managed to dwindle down the lead to a mere point at half time, setting up an action packed second half of basketball. Neither side could be separated in the third quarter with both sides producing 16 points apiece with the margin still standing at a single point. With the game on the line Hawthorn struck and did just enough to clinch a thrilling two-point victory.

Evelyn Curtis was the main facilitator for the Spectres walking away with 12 points to her name, but the scoring fell off after her with Stephanie Georgantas and Tamsyn Perry the next best with eight. For the victors, Amy O’Hara was the topscorer thanks to her 10 points while Ally Marshall chimed in with nine points but ran into foul trouble with five. Amy Kurkowski added nine to the scoreboard as Sophie Palmer contributed seven points in the win.

Keilor made light work of Altona as Diamond Valley delivered a similar fate to Ballarat. Knox got over the top of Waverley as Sunbury recorded a 13-point win in their clash against Kilsyth.


Hawthorn (50) defeated Nunawading (48)
Altona (36) defeated by Keilor (67)
Diamond Valley (62) defeated Ballarat (27)
Knox (55) defeated Waverley (37)
Sunbury (56) defeated Kilsyth (43)


Watson Pool


Whittlesea and Waverley battled it out in an action packed game at Mill Park Basketball Stadium as the two sides locked horns in an enthralling contest. In the end it was Waverley that proved too strong toppling the Pacers by seven points largely in part thanks to a dominant second term.

The Falcons asserted themselves early on the contest producing 16 points and keeping Whittlesea to 12.  But they dialled it up another notch in the second with their scoreboard pressure increasing, posting a whopping 25 points while limiting the Pacers to 17. The tables once again turned after half time as Whittlesea found their groove and flipped the script to place the pressure on Waverley. The game was not done yet with the Falcons proving to have one last hoorah left in them to power past their opponents and kick their season off in style.

For the winners, Sam Haffenden impressed with his 17 points but found himself in a bit of foul trouble with four to his name. Nemuel Soliven was the next best with 13 points while Harvey Moore also contributed 11 points to the winning margin. For the Pacers, Jack Tatter made his presence felt managing 13 points as teammate Callum Stojanovic did the same with his 13 points. Petar Vasilevski also added a handy 12 points to the tally but it was not enough to get his side over the line.

Knox reigned supreme in their clash against Camberwell while Geelong put on a show against Bendigo running out with a 22 point win. Melbourne just won in a tight clash against McKinnon while Keilor secured bragging rights over Eltham.


Whittlesea (58) defeated by Waverley (65)
Camberwell (52) defeated by Knox (65)
Geelong (97) defeated Bendigo (75)
Melbourne (75) defeated McKinnon (70)
Keilor (62) defeated Eltham (54)


It was a heart in your mouth finish between Ringwood and Camberwell with the latter sneaking over the edge with a narrow one-point win. In a low-scoring affair neither side was really able to break away and if they did they were quickly chased down, showcasing the level of intensity both sides displayed.

Ringwood only managed four points in the opening term while Camberwell countered with eight, as both sides struggled to generate scoring momentum. Things started to turn around in the second as Camberwell sank 13 points to make it a nine-point ball game. Half time could not quick enough for the Hawks who came out a whole different team in the third stanza. Their tenacity increased as did their offensive play to keep the scoreboard ticking over nicely and reduce the buffer. A big final term of play set up a thrilling finish to the game as Ringwood outscored Camberwell by two points but fell agonisingly short.

Zoe Servinis proved too hot to handle with a game-high 17 points as Ella Grig provided ample support with 10 points to her name. Aliyah Bonifacio, Lauren Haydon, Tempest Clarke and Sienna Koh were the only other players to hit the scoreboard for Ringwood. The efforts from Jacinta Li set the tone for the side as she posted 11 points as Amy Dingle also posted nine points herself. Ruby Clark featured with seven points to help her side over the line.

Melbourne notched up their first win while McKinnon also got the chocolates with a win over Frankston. Sandringham starred against Casey as Bulleen claimed a five point win against Dandenong.


Melbourne (55) defeated Nunawading (46)
Ringwood (38) defeated by Camberwell (39)
McKinnon (48) defeated Frankston (39)
Sandringham (63) defeated Casey (31)
Dandenong (39) defeated by Bulleen (44)

2021 VJBL Crossover: Under 18s

THE under 18 grading stage of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) for both the boys and girls competition is now complete with second and third from each pool moving through to the crossover stage, as the top of the table sides advanced directly into the Victorian Championship. Eight teams feature in the crossover stage, with four blockbuster games set to take place on Friday night.

Under 18 Boys:

Pakenham won through in Pool A of the boys in Round 3 of the grading thanks to another strong showing to earn a spot in the crossover stage. They are set to take on the Diamond Valley Eagles in the first game of the round with both sides looking to secure that elusive spot in the Victorian Championships. Lauchlan Mark has proven to be a dynamic and reliable points scorer for Pakenham throughout the grading phases and will be eager to maintain that momentum while the Eagles have had a number of players take the reins.

It will be an all country battle as Bendigo and Ballarat face off after finishing second or third in their respective pools. Bendigo have a couple of strong wins under their belt, narrowly edging the Eagles out in Round 1 and will be keen to bring that level of intensity to the fore in this clash. Ballarat on the other hand have struggled to get their signature game play up and running but will see this an opportunity to leave nothing to chance and star.

The next game sees Latrobe and Whittlesea lock horns at Casey Stadium on Friday night with both sides earning a spot in the crossover after their performances in the grading stage. Whittlesea will look to the likes of Callum Stojanovic to lead the way with his offensive skills and overall drive to the rim while Kody Tiballs has proven to be a pillar of consistency for Latrobe throughout their campaign so far.

The final game of the boys crossover is between Sandringham and Wyndham who have both recorded big wins throughout their season so far and will be eager to assert themselves in this contest. The Sabres have multiple options to apply scoreboard pressure with Jensen Bradtke and Tom Field both viable options and needing to have big performances if they are to get their side over the line. However it will all come down to whether or not Sandringham can stop Emmanwiel Deng who has proven to be a thorn in the side for many teams.

Round 1 Boys fixture:

Pakenham v. Diamond Valley
Friday, 19 March @ 9:20pm

Bendigo v. Ballarat
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

Latrobe v. Whittlesea
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

Sandringham v. Wyndham
Friday, 19 March @ 9:50pm

Under 18 Girls:

The opening game of the girls VJBL will play host to Eltham and Camberwell as they look to claim some early ascendancy and go one step closer to their final destination. Eltham showcased their strength throughout the grading phase in Pool B notching up a couple of solid wins with Ashley Mrmacovski a key figure alongside Peyton Burns. Camberwell on the other hand suffered a handful of losses and will be keen to flip the script through the presence of the lively Jacinta Li who managed 31 points in game two.

Nunawading and Korumburra enter the crossover stage after progressing from their respective pools to battle it out for their first win in this grouping. Nunawading have displayed glimpses of their ability to score with ease, something they will be hoping to implement against Korumburra who lost two out of their three outings. There will be no shortage of shooting options for either side with Evelyn Curtis and Olivia Morris key for the Spectres and Charlotte Anderson and Jamie Gallatly able to ply their trade for Korumburra.

Hailing from Pool B, Bulleen has a date with Altona in the third game of the round as the two sides look to inflict some early dominance. Bulleen Boomers had a chequered run throughout the grading phase and will have their work cut out for them against the Gators who managed a couple of wins. Expect Jade Azzopardi to be the main port of call for Altona while the Boomers will look to Chantal Vitale to do the heavy lifting

Led by Caitlin Richardson the clash between Bendigo and Nunawading 2 will be one to watch. Richardson is a key playmaker for the side and her inspired efforts could provide that edge to get over the top of the Spectres. Bendigo know how to win when it gets tight and can use that belief in their upcoming match against Nunawading. The Spectres have a variety of players that can step up to the plate with Emma Poon and Ella Erickson plausible candidates.

Round 1 Girls fixture:

Eltham v. Camberwell
Friday, 19 March @ 8:00pm

Nunawading 1 v. Korumburra
Friday, 19 March @ 8:20pm

Altona v. Bulleen 2
Friday, 19 March @ 9:20pm

Bendigo v. Nunawading 2
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

VJBL U18 Grading Phase Pool 2 wrap: Round 2

ROUND 2 of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) kicked off over the weekend as a number of teams registered their second straight win to put them in good stead for the next phase of grading. There were a number of close calls with multiple games in both the boys and girls leagues decided by less than five points, while some blowouts also filtered through the results.

U18 Boys

Pool 1A:

Waverley notched up a second straight win in Pool A, defeating Ballarat by 12 points with every single player on their roster hitting the scoreboard. Matthew Jefferson was the topscorer for both sides finishing with 14 points. Pakenham got its first win on the board downing Bulleen in convincing fashion with Lauchlan Mark leading the way with a game-high 20 points.

Ballarat (42) defeated by Waverley (54)

Matthew Jefferson (Waverley) 14
Riley Dunn (Ballarat) 14
Alex Molan (Ballarat) 11

Pakenham (68) defeated Bulleen (55)

Lauchlan Mark (Pakenham) 20
Kaleb Beveridge (Pakenham) 12
Liam George (Bulleen) 10
Henry Ward (Pakenham) 10


Pool 1B:

There was not much separating the sides in Pool B with both matches decided by five points or less, highlighting the high intensity of the games. Sandringham got over the top of Camberwell by four points while Bendigo bypassed Diamond Valley by five points. Harvey Johnston starred for Sandringham with 21 points with a number of supporting roles played while in the Bendigo game it was Oliver Mayman that led the charge.

Sandringham (65) defeated Camberwell (61)

Harvey Johnston (Sandringham) 21
Samuel Veitch (Camberwell) 15
Hudson O’Keefe (Camberwell) 13

Bendigo (59) defeated Diamond Valley (54)

Jensen Miles (Diamond Valley) 14
Oliver Mayman (Bendigo) 13
Jack Miles (Diamond Valley) 11

Pool 1C:

The game between Sandringham and Casey went down to the wire with the end margin a mere two points in favour of Casey. It was a relatively low scoring affair, with neither side willing to give an inch and fighting until the dying seconds. Meanwhile, Whittlesea impressed in its outing against Nunawading.

Sandringham (41) defeated by Casey (43)

Ethan Bolton (Casey) 22
Fred Hayne (Sandringham) 14
Kylan Dsylva (Casey) 9

Nunawading (55) defeated by Whittlesea (62)

Kobe McMechan (Nunawading) 21
Jack Tatter (Whittlesea) 15
Luke Dimopoulos (Nunawading) 13


Pool 1D:

Wyndham managed to get its first win of the season beating Dandenong by nine points rendering them winless after two rounds. In the other game it was Peninsula that toppled Latrobe to sneak home with a six point win. It seemed that 25 was the magic number across both matches with Emmanwiel Deng proving to be prolific for Wyndham with a game-high 25 points while Corey Hastings and Darcy Jones inflicted the same level of scoreboard pain in their efforts for Southern Peninsula.

Wyndham (64) defeated Dandenong (55)

Emmanwiel Deng (Wyndham) 25
Jacob Borg (Wyndham) 13
Lachlan Currie (Dandenong) 11
Jak Morris-Burney (Dandenong) 11

Latrobe (74) defeated by Southern Peninsula (80)

Corey Hastings (Southern Peninsula) 25
Darcy Jones (Southern Peninsula) 25
Kody Tibballs (Latrobe) 24


U18 Girls:

Pool 1A:

Sunbury starred in the outing against Camberwell walking away with a convincing 23-point win while it was a different story in the second Pool A meeting, with only four points separating Altona and Wangaratta. The win marked both Sunbury’s and Altona’s second win of the grading phase, setting them in good stead for their pending clash. 

Camberwell (39) defeated by Sunbury (62)

Erin Condron (Sunbury) 18
Adrienne Cameron (Sunbury) 13
Olivia Ogston (Sunbury) 13

Altona (57) defeated Wangaratta (53)

Hayleigh Frost (Wangaratta) 18
Cassie Dodemaide (Altona) 17
Jade Azzopardi (Altona) 14
Jordyn Commadeur (Wangaratta) 14


Pool 1B:

Eltham made light work of Bulleen claiming a 28-point victory to keep its undefeated streak intact. It was much closer in the other game as Ringwood just snuck home against Bellarine by five points, showcasing the level of intensity both sides brought to the table. Peyton Burns was the standout for Eltham in the win while it was the efforts of Katrina Warton that shone through for Ringwood.

Eltham (71) defeated Bulleen (43)

Peyton Burns (Eltham) 20
Amy Temos (Eltham) 18
Ashley Mrmacovski (Eltham) 14
Chantal Vitale (Bulleen) 13

Bellarine (41) defeated by Ringwood (46)

Katrina Warton (Ringwood) 20
Alivia Osborne (Bellarine) 12
Summer Field (Bellarine) 11


Pool 1C:

Melbourne fell victim to a firing Nunawading seconds side, which run out with a 17-point win after dropping the first game of grading. But that luck did not transpire in the other Nunawading game, with the side edged out by two points thanks to a determined Knox squad. Knox is the only side to sit undefeated in Pool C, putting them in good stead heading into the final round.

Melbourne (38) defeated by Nunawading 2 (55)

Ella Erickson (Nunawading) 16
Natalie Keane (Nunawading) 14
Isabel Bacon (Melbourne) 11

Nunawading (44) defeated by Knox (46)

Evelyn Curtis (Nunawading) 13
Stephanie Georgantas (Nunawading) 11
Abbey-Lee Wood (Knox) 11

Pool 1D:

Kilsyth overcame Dandenong quite comfortably to walk out with a resounding 28-point win as a number of players stepped up to the plate and delivered on the points scoring front. Molly Williams posted 20 points while Gemma Hancock chimed in with 15 to get her side over the line. Bendigo just got over the line in the clash against Korumburra, securing a narrow four-point win thanks to a Caitlin Richardson inspired performance.

Dandenong (46) defeated by Kilsyth (74)

Molly Williams (Kilsyth) 20
Gemma Hancock (Kilsyth) 15
Isabella Vanderwiel (Dandenong) 11

Bendigo (55) defeated Korumburra (51)

Caitlin Richardson (Bendigo) 32
Charlotte Anderson (Korumburra) 16
Phoebe Radford (Bendigo) 10

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC preview: Qualifying and Elimination Finals

A HUGE night of finals action takes place in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division tonight with red-hot favourites Dandenong taking on the only side to find a chink in its armour, while do-or-die clashes include a rematch from last round.

Dandenong Rangers (1st, 17-1) vs. Keilor Thunder (4th, 13-5)

The top-of-the-table Dandenong Rangers look to make it 13 consecutive wins when they host Keilor Thunder at Hawthorn tonight. In their last clash, the Rangers won on the road by 16 points, 53-37 reversing the result from the earlier game between the sides back in May. In that match, Keilor broke history being the only side to defeat the Rangers, winning 40-33 on the road in a memorable match. Good luck to Keilor trying to stop the machine that ended the regular season with 154.1 per cent which included the best offence and best defence in the competition. Dandenong is also yet to lose on the road with 10 wins from 10 games, while the Thunder are not too far behind with seven wins from nine games. This game pits the top three shooters against each other with Dandenong duo Dallas Loughridge (13.5 points per game) and Nyadiew Puoch (13.4) going up against Tess Heal (17.9) who will be crucial to Keilor’s victory, along with Jaz Salon (10.7) and Bella Peterson (10.9). Dandenong’s Myah Healey (10.1) is the other scorer in the game averaging more than 10 points per match.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 13-3-2) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (3rd, 14-4)

These sides have just played the once, and it went down to the wire, with Bulleen getting up 44-41 at home. It was the difference in the end with these sides finishing on the same amount of points, though the Eagles had the extra win to their name. The Boomers had one less loss, and two draws to level the proceedings, though the Eagles finished the season with a massive percentage of 135.1 per cent. Bulleen was fairly healthy itself with 123.5 per cent, and had no fear on the road with six wins and a draw from nine matches. Diamond Valley also just had the two losses, recording seven wins. Both these sides can rack up big numbers with Emily Maltezos (9.1 points per game) one of three players in the top 20 for the Boomers, while Eleanor Bollands (10.1) leads the way for Diamond Valley.

Sandringham Sabres (5th, 11-6-1) vs. Melbourne Tigers (8th, 8-10)

While it is not a home ground advantage, the Sabres do not have to travel to far when they play Melbourne Tigers in a do-or-die elimination final at GESAC in East Bentleigh. They have accounted for the Tigers on both previous meetings, getting up by 17 points in May and then 14 points in June, but have not played for more than two months. The Sabres finished seven points clear of their eighth placed opponents and won five and drew one of eight games on the road, while Melbourne finished with four wins from nine games both home and away. Sandringham heads into the game as strong favourites, but anything can happen in finals. Hannah Wickstrom averages the second most points of any player in the competition, with the Sabres’ shooter banking 14.1 points per game, while Jemima O’Toole has 9.6. Melbourne has just one scorer in the top 20, with Leila Davis (10.3 points per game) the main avenue to points.

Nunawading Spectres (6th, 10-8) vs. Ballarat Rush (7th, 10-8)

In the final game of the round, Nunawading Spectres face Ballarat Rush, and you only have to look to last week for when the Spectres got up by 12 points over the Rush in a 61-49 victory at home. They have traditionally been better on the road with seven victories from nine outings, while the Rush have split their 10 games, 5-5. It was the two sides only clash for the year, and now there is no turning back in the elimination final held at Keilor. Evelyn Curtis (10.9 points per game) and Olivia Morris (10.0) are the two key scorers for the Spectres, while Milly Simpson (11.3) and Georgia Cox (10.3) average double-figure points for the Rush.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC review: Round 9 – Dandenong the team to beat

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division finals preview between the Dandenong Rangers and Bulleen Boomers headlined Round 9’s fixture. The 56-41 match-up ended in Dandenong’s favour, leading them to their twelfth consecutive win. Not only did the Rangers top the ladder in, but they also managed to do it undefeated in the post-split division. Despite valiant efforts for three terms, Bulleen’s opener (16-6) made it difficult for them to come back. Though despite their result, Bulleen’s second half (14-13, 10-11) still bodes well for finals. Dallas Loughridge was firing all over the court for Dandenong recording 20 points, followed close by Nyadiew Puoch on 14. The pair finish the regular season in third and fourth for points per game (PPG). For Bulleen, only one player finished on double-digits, with Tabitha Betson hitting 10 ahead of Kiralee Collings and Ella McIntyre who had eight each.

Diamond Valley Eagles earned a second chance in finals following their 60-68 win over the Melbourne Tigers. With three consecutive wins and an even home (7-2-0) and away (7-2-0) record, the Eagles present well for finals regardless of where they play. In the match-up, they opened strong with 25 points. In the second, the Tigers won their first and only term (11-9) before conceding 12-16 and 18-18 to close out the game. Jessica Delbrocco and Teah Reichert were dominant on the floor for Diamond Valley, recording 13 and 12 points respectively. For the Tigers, Hayley Cummings led at the board with 21 points, followed close by Leila Davis on 14. Davis finishes in twelfth for PPG (10.3) across the league, while Diamond Valley finish without a player in the top-20.

In the tightest game of the round, the Keilor Thunder reaped top-four rewards after ending Hawthorn’s finals chances in a 47-52 clash. Up until the final term, Hawthorn looked the more consistent side. They recorded 10 and 13 points in the first half compared with Keilor’s eight and 18. Despite trailing by three at the break, Hawthorn maintained their scoring and took a lead into the final break. Unfortunately, just like in the second, Keilor rose when it mattered and closed out the final term 11-19 to win the game. Overall (161) and PPG (17.9) leader, Tess Heal, closed out her season with a dominant 25 points, followed next by Bella Peterson on 15. For Hawthorn, Amy Ohara starred with 17 points, followed next by Evangeline King on seven. Ohara’s scoring average (11.3) places her in seventh at the regular season’s end.

The Nunawading Spectres enter the finals with a bit of momentum after passing the Ballarat Rush on the table with a 61-49 victory. Typically, a home win is a rare occurrence for the Spectres, having recorded seven of their 10 wins on the road. Comparatively, the Rush finished the league at 5-5 on the road but will have a chance to make a mend as they face Nunawading in the same game next week. In Round 9’s match-up, the Spectres started better, recording 18-7 in the first and 14-7 in the third. These terms would go on to cost Ballarat the game despite tying the second (16-16) and winning the fourth (13-19). Evelyn Curtis and Madison Sinclair were immense for the Spectres, recording 16 and 15 points respectively. For the Rush, Milly Rush led with 15, followed next by Georgia Cox on 13.

The Sandringham Sabres closed out the regular season with a comfortable 51-34 win over the Knox Raiders, collecting a home game in their first elimination final. The win marks the Sabres’ second consecutive win, while the Raiders top off a poor season with their fourth loss in a row. In the first-half, Knox struggled to crack double-digits, recording consecutive six-point terms. They picked up their efforts in the third but lacked Sandringham’s scoring capacity as they closed out trailing by 17 points. Hannah Wickstrom starred for the Sabres, recording 18 points to take herself to second across the league for PPG (14.1). Jemima O’Toole (10) also impressed for Sandringham, while Gemma O’Donnell (10) and Paige Burrows (8) held strong for Knox.

In the Reserve grade, the Bendigo Braves clinched a 49-47 victory over the Eltham Wildcats, Frankston Blues fell 43-45 against the Kilsyth Cobras, and the Waverley Falcons won 46-39 over the Ringwood Hawks. Round 9 continued with Sunbury Jets thrashing the Altona Gators (71-47) and the Bellarine Storm winning a close one over the Southern Peninsula Sharks (48-38).

In the Championship Division, the elimination finals kick off with the Sandringham Sabres hosting the Melbourne Tigers, and Nunawading Spectres hosting the Ballarat Rush. The qualifying finals kick off soon after with the Dandenong Rangers hosting the Keilor Thunder, and the Bulleen Boomers hosting the Diamond Valley Eagles.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC preview: Round 9

WITH a round to play in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL), there are still two teams fighting out for one finals place, and a home final on the line for two of the sides.

Hawthorn Magic (13th, 7-9-1) vs. Keilor Thunder (4th, 12-5)

On face value the Magic will need every bit of their moniker to get up over the fourth placed Keilor Thunder who cannot be moved from their spot. After dropping a game they had in their keeping against Sandringham Sabres last round, the Thunder will be keen to bounce back with a victory heading into finals. Make no mistake, if Hawthorn lose, then the finals are set and the Magic will finish ninth. For Keilor, they will be facing Dandenong Rangers regardless in the first week of finals. Tess Heal leads all-comers in the point-scoring stakes with 17.0 points per game, just ahead of Ally Marshall with 13.3 points per game, and ranked second in overall points.

Dandenong Rangers (1st, 16-1) vs. Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 13-2-2)

Both these teams are keen to get a win for for a mental advantage in the finals with the teams likely to face off at some stage, the Boomers still need to win to secure a top two spot and home final. The Rangers have the minor premiership in their grasp, but would like to add another win to the 11-game winning streak. If the Boomers lose and the Diamond Valley Eagles win, the Boomers remain in second spot due to the head-to-head victory over the Eagles. The Rangers have a trio of stars who can cause damage to the opposition with Nyadiew Puoch (13.3 points per game), Dallas Loughridge (12.6) and Myah Healey (11.0) all inside the top 10, while Bulleen relies on a more even spread led by Emily Maltezos (9.4).

Melbourne Tigers (11th, 8-9) vs. Diamond Valley Eagles (3rd, 13-4)

In what looms as a must-win for Melbourne, they have to knock off top four side Diamond Valley to guarantee a spot in the finals series. If Hawthorn upstages Keilor, then the Tigers could drop outside the top eight with a loss. Meanwhile the Eagles cannot drop from third with a superior head-to-head points advantage (and percentage) ahead of fourth placed Keilor, and will prepare to play Bulleen in the first round of finals. Eleanor Bollands has been the top scorer for Diamond Valley Eagles with 10.7 points per game, while for the Tigers, Amy Kurkowski has slotted 12.4 points per game.

Nunawading Spectres (8th, 9-8) vs. Ballarat Rush (6th, 10-7)

Nunawading has the opportunity to snatch a home final with victory over Ballarat Rush, with the sides likely to meet again the following week in the elimination final. Providing Sandringham Sabres gets the job done against the lowly Knox Raiders, these sides will meet two weeks in a row, though with a home record of 2-6 and an away record of 7-2, it might be thought the Spectres might relish travelling, though the mental advantage of a win would be of huge benefit going into the finals. Evelyn Curtis (10.3 points per game) and Olivia Morris (10.2) are the dominant scoring duo for the Spectres this season, while for Ballarat, Milly Simpson (10.7) and Georgia Cox (9.8) are both in the top 20.

Sandringham Sabres (5th, 10-6-1) vs. Knox Raiders (15th, 5-10-2)

In the final game of the round, the Sandringham Sabres just have to knock off the cellar dwelling Knox Raiders to ensure a fifth placed finish and elimination final against either Melbourne or Hawthorn. The Sabres are only a point ahead of Ballarat Rush so cannot afford to drop the game, though they will still host Nunawading in the elimination final, but then potentially meet one of the Boomers or Eagles in the semi-finals. Sandringham’s Hannah Wickstrom averages 13.5 points per game to be second overall on average, while Jaida Reid‘s 9.4 points per game sees her equal twentieth.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC review: Round 7 – Top four locked with Rangers guaranteed top spot

DANDENONG Rangers have locked up top spot in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division following their tenth win. The Rangers moved two games and a massive percentage clear of second with two matches remaining, making certain they would finish as minor premiers. The top five sides all won over the weekend, giving them some breathing space, and more importantly guaranteeing Bulleen Boomers, Diamond Valley Eagles and Keilor Thunder all double chances in the finals series.

Dandenong Rangers made it 10 consecutive victories by defeating Sandringham Sabres as the Rangers loom as the clear team to beat this season. They did not have it all their own way, leading by just two points at the main break, but a 28-17 second half made the difference for the Rangers who took out the match, 52-39. Nyadiew Puoch top-scored with 18 points, while teammate Myah Healey posted 14. For the Sabres, Hannah Wickstrom helped herself to 12 of her own.

Diamond Valley Eagles bounced back after their Round 6 loss to record a comfortable 20-point win over Nunawading Spectres. It took them a half to really take control however, trailing by two points at the main break before going ballistic in the second half, sinking 29 points to a measly seven and completely dominating the game to win, 54-34. Sophie Burrows (10 points) and Evelyn Curtis (11) were the only two double-figure scorers in the game for their respective sides.

Bulleen Boomers scored a regulation 17-point win over Hawthorn Magic with a similar performance to that of the Eagles. It was close for the first half with the Boomers finding themselves two points down at the half, before deciding enough was enough and sinking 28 points to just nine to run away with the 54-37 victory. Emily Maltezos scored 14 points in the win, while Rianna Thiele was prominent with 13 for the Magic.

Keilor Thunder got the vital win over lowly Knox Raiders but it was a lot closer than the Thunder would have liked, escaping with a six-point win to guarantee a top four spot on the table. The Thunder raced to a five-point lead at quarter time, but Knox reeled them in by a point at half-time only for the Thunder to regain ascendancy and extend the advantage to eight by the final break. The last term was a high scoring quarter, with the Raiders winning the term 17-15, but it was not enough with the Thunder getting up, 47-41. Keilor’s Tess Heal scored an impressive 20 points, while Bella Peterson finished with 12, as Zoe Shaw (11) was the key scorer for the Raiders.

In the final game, Ballarat Rush leapfrogged Sandringham with a narrow four-point victory over Melbourne Tigers. The Rush came from four points down at quarter time to have a dominant middle two terms and lead by eight at the final break. Melbourne hit back to cut the final margin to four again but still went down 40-44. Georgia Cox was a dominant player with a round-high 23 points for the Rush, while Neve Giddey was one to watch for the Tigers, sinking 12.

In the Reserve grade, Kilsyth Cobras and Waverley Falcons remain the teams to beat, registering wins over Bendigo Braves and Frankston Blues respectively, while bottom three sides Sunbury Jets and Ringwood Hawks picked up unlikely wins over Southern Peninsula Sharks and Eltham Wildcats, while Bellarine Storm handed Altona Gators yet another loss.

Looking ahead to next round, it will be Ballarat Rush’s turn to try and take down the raging machine of Dandenong Rangers on the road, while Keilor Thunder and Sandringham Sabres looms as an entertaining clash. Diamond Valley Eagles and Bulleen Boomers will be keen to record wins over their lowly opponents in Knox Raiders and Melbourne Tigers respectively, while in the other game, Nunawading Spectres and Hawthorn Magic will get the chance to redeem themselves after a disappointing Round 7.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC preview: Round 7

WITH only three rounds remaining in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division, the Dandenong Rangers look sure to secure a home final and second chance. They face the Sandringham Sabres at home this week, with the Sabres pressing the top-four. The Nunawading Spectres sit similarly in sixth against the Diamond Valley Eagles this week, only two wins below second.

Dandenong Rangers (1st, 14-1) vs Sandringham Sabres (5th, 9-5-1)

The Dandenong Rangers hope to record their 10th consecutive win this week when they come up against the Sandringham Sabres at home. Last week, the Rangers dominated the bottom-end Raiders in a 27-67 match-up – remaining strong on defence to keep Knox under 10 points in each term. This season, the Rangers have had just 592 points scored against them, compared to 911 for. The Sabres season has been fair despite falling short twice in the last fortnight, with a draw to Sandringham (47-47) and loss to Ballarat (60-44). They put their 5-1-1 away record to the test this week when they face the league’s best. Dallas Loughridge has remained in top form for the Rangers with 14.2 points per game (PPG) in third spot for league-average. She’s followed close by Nyadiew Puoch in eighth – averaging 11.6 from five games. Hannah Wickstrom (13.8), Summer Keating (10) and Jemima O’Toole (9.8) have been strong for Sandringham all season in fourth, 17th and 18th respectively.

Nunawading Spectres (6th, 9-6) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd, 11-4)

In a similarly tough match-up, the Nunawading Spectres host the Diamond Valley Eagles. A win could mean a top-four chance for Nunawading or a home final for Diamond Valley. Last week, the Spectres fell short to the fourth-placed Keilor Thunder – losing touch in the final term (20-2) despite leading all game. Similarly, Diamond Valley lost last week to a top-four contender in Bulleen (44-41). The defeat drops them out of touch with the Rangers as Bulleen and Keilor press in third and fourth. Both teams need a lift this week, with Nunawading hoping Evelyn Curtis (10.5) and Olivia Morris (10.4) can continue their form into the clash. Despite the loss, Curtis held up well without Morris in last week’s loss – recording 17. For the Eagles, Eleanor Bollands has been impressive with 11.4 average from five outings, alongside Aeska Ratnayake with 9.7.

Melbourne Tigers (8th, 8-7) vs Ballarat Rush (7th, 9-6)

In the final top-eight clash of the round, we have the Melbourne Tigers hosting the Ballarat Rush. Last week, Melbourne did well to rebound from their 53-50 loss against Nunawading, earning a significant win against Hawthorn (51-55). Ballarat fared similarly, after losing 44-58 to Diamond Valley, responded against an in-form Sandringham at home (60-44). With finals approaching, it’s important for both sides to build momentum. Melbourne will look to Amy Kurkowski to continue her form – sitting second in PPG across the league with 14.3, with Leila Davis following in seventh with 12.4. On the board, Ballarat lack the same scoring utilities. Milly Simpson leads for her side with 11.3 PPG from four outings but has nobody else lifting into the top-end. A few players will need to lift if Ballarat hope to compete.

Knox Raiders (15th, 5-8-2) vs Keilor Thunder (4th, 11-4)

The Knox Raiders host the in-form Keilor Thunder this week in what might be their last chance of making finals. Though unlikely, the Raiders still sit as a mathematical chance to break into the eight but need a lot of teams to drop in the coming rounds. Though with the top-four on the line, it’s unlikely the Thunder will fall. Last week, Keilor returned to the winner’s list with a 55-42 victory over Nunawading. The visitors currently boast three players in the top-20 for average points in Tess Heal (17.3), Jaz Salon (12.8) and Bella Peterson (9.8). Last week, Heal and Salon tore up the floor with 15 and 25 points respectively as Heal remains atop the scoring table. For the Raiders, not a single player ranks inside the top-20, with Jaida Reid (9.2) and Gemma O’Donnell (7.8) leading on the scoreboard.

Hawthorn Magic (13th, 6-8-1) vs Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 11-2-2)

The result of Hawthorn’s match-up with Bulleen could determine whether or not they play finals. With two wins keeping them outside the eight, the Magic need to bring something special if they intend to knock off one of league’s giants. As it stands, Bulleen sit in third on percentage – tied with Diamond Valley (2nd) and Keilor Thunder (4th). Last week, they returned to the winner’s list with a tight 44-41 win over the Diamond Valley Eagles, after tying the week before against the Knox Raiders. Given these teams’ positions, Bulleen should have won both by fair margins. It’s this form dip that may see Hawthorn into a finals campaign. The Magic’s top scorers, Ally Marshall (13.5) and Amy Ohara (11), will be Bulleen’s biggest threats. The pair sit in fifth and 12th across the league, while Bulleen’s, Tabitha Betson (10.8) and Ella McIntyre (10) hold in 13th and 16th respectively.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC review: Round 6 – Dandenong moves three wins ahead

SUCCESS continues to follow the Dandenong Rangers in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division, as they picked up a 27-67 win over a struggling, Knox Raiders. The result takes the Rangers to their ninth consecutive win overall and their tenth consecutive win on the road – undefeated at 10-0-0. In the match-up, the Rangers opened the half strong – leading 38-16 at the main break. They continued strong into the remaining quarters, keeping Knox under 10 points for each term. The Rangers were led well by Dallas Loughridge, who scored 19 points on her way to third spot in points per game (PPG) for the league, while Myah Healey supported well with 10 points. Jaida Reid came close to recording double-digits for the Raiders, recording nine points in the low-scoring outfit alongside Paige Burrows, who made five.

The Bulleen Boomers closed the gap between the top four with a vital 44-41 win over the second-placed, Diamond Valley Eagles. The Eagles lost touch with the Dandenong Rangers following the loss, as their top spot opponents moved three wins ahead. In the match-up, Bulleen opened poorly at 3-13 – forcing the home side to play catch-up most of the night. They went on to win the remaining three terms, running home with a big 18-10 closer to win them the game. Emily Maltezos was her usual best throughout the night, recording 12 points alongside Ella McIntyre, who had 10. McIntyre moves to sixteenth place for PPG in the league, with five games under her belt. For the Eagles, Hayley Sparks recorded a team-high nine points, followed next by Genevieve Broadbent on eight.

Despite a dominant away record, Nunawading Spectres fell short to a dominant Keilor Thunder outfit on the road (55-42). The result created a gap between the top four and those outside, as Keilor jumped two wins (11-4) ahead of positions fifth to seventh. They now contest for second spot – equalling wins with Diamond Valley and Bulleen in second and third respectively. In the match-up, Nunawading led 40-35 at the end of third, but gave it up massively as they conceded 20-2 in the final term. In her sixth outing for the year, Jaz Salon put up 25 points on her way to sixth spot for PPG. League-leader, Tess Heal, retains her spot with 15 points after another dominant performance. For the Spectres, Evelyn Curtis led on the board with 17 points, while Madison Sinclair followed next on 10.

Melbourne Tigers earned a rare 55-51 win on the road over the Hawthorn Magic. Despite starting slow at 8-13, the Tigers went onto lead for the majority of the game, before tying at 16-16 to close out the win. Melbourne hold in eighth following the result, while Hawthorn dip to 13th. The Tigers’ boasted a big scorer in Amy Kurkowski, who collected a game-high 21 points on her way to 11th for PPG. Hayley Hermus and Leila Davis followed next with 13 and 10 points respectively – Davis moving to seventh for PPG. For the Magic, Ally Marshall was the only player to crack into double-digits, recording 10 points to hold second spot across the league. Rianna Thiele also impressed for Hawthorn with nine.

The Ballarat Rush handed the Sandringham Sabres their first loss on the road with a 60-44 win at home. The result moves Ballarat to seventh, while Sandringham lost touch with Keilor – two wins ahead in fourth.

In the Reserve grade, the Waverley Falcons defeated Southern Peninsula Sharks (43-34) on the road, Ringwood Hawks lost 45-47 at home to the Frankston Blues, and Bendigo Braves earned a big 57-37 win over the Sunbury Jets. The round continued with the Kilsyth Cobras beat the Altona Gators (72-45), and the Eltham Wildcats lost at home to the Bellarine Storm.

In the Championship Division for Round 7, Hawthorn Magic face Bulleen Boomers at home, Sandringham Sabres travel to Dandenong to face the Rangers, and Knox Raiders come up against Keilor Thunder. The round continues with Melbourne Tigers hosting Ballarat Rush and Nunawading Spectres hosting Diamond Valley Eagles.

MUVJBL U16 Girls VC preview: Round 6

ROUND 6 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Girls Championship Division looks set to be a tight one with six teams in the top-eight facing with a max of two spots separating them in the standings. The Bulleen Boomers look to host the game of the round this week when they face Diamond Valley Eagles at home. The contest between Keilor Thunder and the Nunawading Spectres also looks to impress alongside another significant match-up between the Ballarat Rush and Sandringham Sabres.

Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 10-2-2) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (2nd, 11-3)

The match of the round kicks off this week between the Bulleen Boomers and the Diamond Valley Eagles at Mullum Mullum. Last week Bulleen fell short in a rare draw against the fourteenth placed Raiders on the road – a match-up most of the league saw them winning. Diamond Valley pulled up well in their contest against Ballarat, consolidating themselves in second as they chase for the number one spot. On the road, the Eagles have been in-form, collecting just the one loss from six outings. Similarly, Bulleen’s record at home has also been one of best at home, recording six wins, one loss and a draw over the season. Tabitha Betson has been a huge contributor to Bulleen’s recent success, recording 12.5 points per game (PPG) from four outings in the Championship Division. The Bulleen star currently boasts seventh spot for league scoring, while teammate, Ella McIntyre, holds strong in 16th spot with 10 PPG. For Diamond Valley, Eleanor Bollands has been immense with 13.8 PPG, sitting in fourth across the league. Aeska Ratnayake has also been a solid performer across her three games, sitting in nineteenth with 9.7 PPG.

Keilor Thunder (4th, 10-4) vs Nunawading Spectres (6th, 9-5)

The tight match-ups continue with the Keilor Thunder hosting the Nunawading Spectres. Since joining the Championship Division, the Thunder have won three of their five outings which include wins against top-four rivals, Bulleen and Diamond Valley. Though in Round 5, Keilor received a slight reality check then they copped a fair loss against league-leaders, Dandenong, at home. This week they face Nunawading, who have picked up consecutive wins since returning from the break. With what they have shown thus far, both teams are definitely deserving of the top-four. Though against a 7-1 away record, it seems unlikely that Keilor will be the ones to climb this week. Keilor currently boast the top league scorer in Tess Heal who’s been averaging 17.8 PPG from five appearances, while Jaz Salon and Bella Peterson also holds spot in the top-20 with 10.4 and 10.3 PPG respectively. Though despite their efforts, the Spectres only hold one player on the list with Olivia Morris averaging 10.4 PPG. Madison Sinclair (9.2) and Evelyn Curtis (9.2) have also been in fair form, sitting twenty-second and twenty-third across the league.

Ballarat Rush (7th, 8-6) vs Sandringham Sabres (5th, 9-4-1)

The Ballarat Rush hope to re-join the winner’s list this week as they come up against the Sandringham Sabres at home. The Rush have suffered consecutive losses since returning from the break, falling to quality opposition in Bulleen and Diamond Valley. While not as high in the standings, the Sabres aim to pose a similar threat as they themselves push for a top-four spot. In the first two rounds of the Championship Division, the Sabres managed wins over Melbourne and Bulleen. Though since then have not snared a win. A win matters plenty for both sides as plenty opposition push for their positions on the tables. Milly Simpson leads scoring for Ballarat with 11.3 PPG in twelfth for league-scoring. However, unlike Sandringham, Ballarat do not have another player in the top 20 with Rosie Todd just missing the cut in 21st with 9.3 PPG. The Sabres boast several scoring utilities with Hannah Wickstrom picking up 13.8 PPG in third, alongside Summer Keating (10) and Jemima O’Toole (9.8) rounding out the top 20 in seventeenth and eighteenth spot.

Hawthorn Magic (13th, 6-7-1) vs Melbourne Tigers (8th, 7-7)

Two more sides hope to return to the winners list this week as the Hawthorn Magic face the Melbourne Tigers at home. Last week, the Magic caused a major upset against the Sandringham Sabres in a 47-47 tie. Though Hawthorn’s record at home has been a talking point this season, collecting just the two wins from six appearances. Similarly, the Melbourne Tigers have struggled away, having recorded three wins from eight games – though came close to upsetting the Nunawading Spectres in Round 5. For Hawthorn, Ally Marshall has been in top form with 14.2 PPG in second spot for league scoring, alongside Amy Ohara who sits 11th for league scoring with 11.8. Leila Davis has been a tough utility for the Tigers in the new division, sitting sixth with 13 PPG with Amy Kurkowski following close on 12 from her three appearances.

Knox Raiders (14th, 5-7-2) vs Dandenong Rangers (1st, 13-1)

Sitting two wins ahead of the rest of the competition, the Dandenong Rangers look ready to increase their lead when they face the Knox Raiders on the road. The Raiders remain undefeated in the Championship Division with eight consecutive wins and an undefeated record on the road (9-0-0). Comparatively, the Raiders do not match up, holding neither a preference for home (2-3-1) or away (3-4-1) with poor records for both. The Raiders did manage a rare draw against Bulleen last week to upset the standings, but it’s unlikely that Dandenong will suffer similarly. Jaida Reid only just makes up the top-20 for league scoring in 20th with 9.3 PPG. Gemma O’Donnell follows next with 8.8 from four outings. For the Rangers, Dallas Loughridge leads scoring in fifth spot with 13 PPG, followed by Nyadiew Puoch eighth with 12.5 and Myah Healey in ninth with 12.