THE Under-18 Girls kick off the Preliminary finals this week in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Championship Division. Mullum Mullum is set to host the clash between the Knox Raiders and Nunawading Spectres, while the State Basketball Centre holds a must-win match between the Bulleen Boomers and Dandenong Rangers.
Knox Raiders (2nd, 13-4-1) vs Nunawading Spectres (4th, 12-6)
In the first preliminary final, the Knox Raiders come up against the Nunawading Spectres. Last week, the Spectres came out firing against Southern Peninsula to record a 70-48 win in Dandenong. It was two poor terms from their opponents that set Nunawading into the preliminaries – recording a 22-11 second term with 17-7 in the fourth. The week prior, the Raiders pulled of a tight 54-51 victory over the Rangers in Sandringham. NBL1 representative, Charlise Dunn, dominated in the Raiders’ last game with 19 points. The forward has averaged 12.6 points per game (PPG) this season in twelfth, while Georgia Baldwin follows close with 9.6 PPG in ninth. For the Spectres, Louisa Fakalata remains one of the league’s most damaging scorers with 17.2 PPG from 10 outings. In her last clash, she recorded 13 points with Lucy Wales and Maddison Zugna scoring 14 and 12 points respectively.
Bulleen Boomers (1st, 15-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 12-6)
The Bulleen Boomers and Dandenong Rangers will compete for the last spot in the Grand Final at State Basketball Centre. Last week, Dandenong put up a comprehensive display over the Bendigo Braves (87-53) in Broadmeadows. The Rangers’ win came off the back of three consecutive terms over 20 points, while Bulleen enjoyed a week off following their 53-46 win over Nunawading. For Bulleen, Alexandra Keating currently leads the league in PPG (18.1), dropping 21 points in last fortnight’s clash. Casey Valenti-Paea has also put up impressive numbers with 14.1 PPG, sitting in seventh position from eight outings. The Rangers will rely heavily on Elly Morgan to deliver on last week’s efforts (22). In their decisive victory over Bendigo, Dandenong boasted four players in double-digits, with Leia Hanafin (18), Leah Mackenzie (14) and Hannah Rapp (10) all putting up impressive numbers.