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VJBL U18 Grading Phase Pool 1 wrap: Round 1

THE Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) got underway last week and we recap all the results from the top Pool in the Under 18s Boys and Girls competitions. The second round is completed tonight, with a third and final round robin stage to be done next Friday night to determine which six teams in each grade automatically qualify for the VJBL Championship division.

U18 BOYS:

POOL 1A:

In Pool 1A, Emmanwiel Deng was the difference between Whittlesea Pacers and Wyndham Basketball, as Deng put up 22 points – 10 more than anyone else on the court – for the Pacers during a narrow seven-point win. In the other match, Melbourne Tigers proved too strong for Waverley Falcons, with three players hitting double-figures, led by Kobe Shewry (15).

Whittlesea Pacers (49) defeated Wyndham Basketball (42)
Emmanwiel Deng (Whittlesea) 22
Jack Tatter (Wyndham) 12
Callum Stojanovic (Wyndham) 10

Melbourne Tigers (47) defeated Waverley Falcons (36)
Kobe Shewry (Melbourne) 15
Ihsaan Bongso (Melbourne) 13
Kai Garnaut (Melbourne) 11
Harvey Moore (Waverley) 12
Matthew Jefferson (Waverley) 10

POOL 1B:

In the highest score of the entire round for the Under 18 Boys competition, Eltham Wildcats put Dandenong Rangers’ second side to the sword throughout a 29-point blitz. Led by Riley Lewis (17 points), the Wildcats easily got the points over the Rangers, winning 68-29. In the other game, it was a lot closer with just 12 points separating the teams, though Nunawading Spectres won 60-48 off a round-high individual effort of 25 points thanks to Tristan Devers.

Nunawading Spectres (60) defeated Hawthorn Magic (48)
Tristan Devers (Nunawading) 25
Jarryd Remy (Hawthorn) 9

Eltham Wildcats (68) defeated Dandenong Rangers 2 (39)
Riley Lewis (Eltham) 17
Bradley Moorey (Eltham) 11
Harrison Stones (Eltham) 10
Jak Morris-Burney (Dandenong) 9

POOL 1C:

Diamond Valley Eagles claimed an early win in the Pool stage thanks to a narrow five-point triumph over Craigieburn Eagles. Marley Lambert (15 points) led the way for the winners, though James Bonnici scored half of Craigieburn’s points with a 23-point effort. In the other match, Bulleen Boomers easily accounted for Casey Cavaliers by 19 points in what was a real shared team win.

Bulleen Boomers (51) defeated Casey Cavaliers (32)
Marcel Haj (Bulleen) 11
Ky Taylor (Casey) 9

Diamond Valley Eagles (52) defeated Craigieburn Eagles (47)
Marley Lambert (Diamond Valley) 15
Isaac Callaghan (Diamond Valley) 10
James Bonnici (Craigieburn) 23
Steven Pestrucci (Craigieburn) 12

Pool 1D:

The highly anticipated match of the round did not disappoint in Pool 1D, with Kilsyth Cobras escaping with the points against an equally-talented Dandenong Rangers outfit. Rhys Crossley and Harrison Adams both put up 15 points in equal match-high efforts during the 55-49 victory. An understrength Frankston Blues team won by a point against Pakenham Warriors, getting the victory courtesy of a low-scoring 36-35 win.

Kilsyth Cobras (55) defeated Dandenong Rangers (49)
Rhys Crossley (Kilsyth) 15
Harrison Adams (Kilsyth) 15
Wyatt Stewart (Kilsyth) 12
Coby Burgiel (Dandenong) 13

Frankston Blues (36) defeated Pakenham Warriors (35)
Liam Atkinson (Frankston) 8
Lauchlan Mark (Pakenham) 10

Pool 1E:

In another couple of high-scoring wins, Bendigo Braves obliterated Eltham Wildcats’ second side, getting up 61-25 in an impressive showing. Jacob Nihill led the scoring with 11 in a real team effort, whilst in the other game, McKinnon Cougars – led by Nathan Scollo‘s 19 points – were too strong for Southern Peninsula Sharks. Despite Corey Hastings‘ game-high 20 points for the Sharks, they went down by 13 points.

Bendigo Braves (61) defeated Eltham Wildcats 2 (25)
Jacob Nihill (Bendigo) 11
Malik Gordon (Bendigo) 10
Felix Bell (Eltham 2) 8

McKinnon Cougars (60) defeated Southern Peninsula Sharks (47)
Nathan Scollo (McKinnon) 19
Denver Lund (McKinnon) 14
Luke Lyngberg (McKinnon) 13
Corey Hastings (Southern Peninsula) 20
Tarrant Wallace (Southern Peninsula) 10

Pool 1F:

In what could be considered a ‘Group of Death’, three of the four sides are genuine automatic promotion chances. In the tight game, Geelong United won by seven points over Knox Raiders as Olivier Northam (19 points) top scored, though Bailey Nunn (16) put in a great effort for the Raiders. Keilor Thunder also flexed their muscles with a big win over Sunbury Jets, as Cooper Colson (12 points) was the top scorer in that match.

Keilor Thunder (65) defeated Sunbury Jets (31)
Cooper Colson (Keilor) 12
Brodie McWhinney (Keilor) 10
Nikolas Ellul (Keilor) 10
Angus McSwiggan (Sunbury) 10

Geelong United (61) defeated Knox Raiders (54)
Olivier Northam (Geelong) 19
Nicholas Hough (Geelong) 12
Bailey Nunn (Knox) 16
Jordan Anderson (Knox) 15

U18 GIRLS:

Pool 1A:

In an all-Dandenong Rangers clash in Pool 1A, things went as one would expect with the first side easily accounting for the second side. Nyadiew Puoch was far too strong, nailing 20 points in a massive 67-32 effort, whilst in the other game, Waverley Falcons claimed a 20-point win over Frankston Blues thanks to Jasmine Connell and Liana Kinkela sharing in 11 points apiece.

Waverley Falcons (42) defeated Frankston Blues (22)
Jasmine Connell (Waverley) 11
Liana Kinkela (Waverley) 11
Elle Schonfelder (Frankston) 6

Dandenong Rangers 1 (67) defeated Dandenong Rangers 2 (32)
Nyadiew Puoch (Dandenong 1) 20
Dallas Loughridge (Dandenong 1) 11
Tahlia Soukup (Dandenong 2) 8

Pool 1B:

In Pool 1B, it was McKinnon Cougars and Keilor Thunder that took away the points on opening night. The Cougars won narrowly over Sunbury Jets, 46-38, as Romy Price put up 15 points for the Cougars, one less than Sunbury’s Maddison Ford (16). The Thunder won 51-30 over Kilsyth Cobras in a comfortable victory, as Tess Heal and Jaz Salon finished with 13 points apiece.

McKinnon Cougars (46) defeated Sunbury Jets (38)
Romy Price (McKinnon) 15
Hannah McGillen (McKinnon) 10
Maddison Ford (Sunbury) 16

Keilor Thunder (51) defeated Kilsyth Cobras (30)
Tess Heal (Keilor) 13
Jaz Salon (Keilor) 13
Gemma Hancock (Kilsyth) 11

Pool 1C:

Knox Raiders and Bulleen Boomers showed themselves to be the clear top two sides in Pool 1C, with Bulleen the most likely to top the group. Tabitha Betson (14 points) was one of three Boomers to hit double-figure points in the 30-point win over Bellarine Storm, whilst Gemma O’Donnell shot 19 in Knox Raiders’ 48-23 triumph over Melbourne Tigers’ second side.

Knox Raiders (48) defeated Melbourne Tigers 2 (23)
Gemma O’Donnell (Knox) 19
Lotus Billington (Melbourne 2) 7

Bulleen Boomers (57) defeated Bellarine Storm (27)
Tabitha Betson (Bulleen) 14
Emily Maltezos (Bulleen) 13
Rebecca Horvat (Bulleen) 10
Aimee Wookey (Bellarine) 7
Alivia Osborne (Bellarine) 7

Pool 1D:

Hawthorn Magic and Diamond Valley Eagles both ran out to solid wins in their respective Pool 1D clashes to start off on the right note. The Eagles defeated Casey Cavaliers 45-32 despite no Eagles’ player scoring double-figure points while Casey’s Dakota Crichton finished with 15 points. In the other match, the Magic were too good for Eltham Wildcats, running out 15-point winners.

Hawthorn Magic 41 defeated Eltham Wildcats 26
Unavailable

Diamond Valley Eagles 45 defeated Casey Cavaliers 32
Genevieve Broadbent (Diamond Valley) 9
Hayley Sparks (Diamond Valley) 9
Dakota Crichton (Casey) 15

Pool 1E:

Bendigo Braves managed to secure a nail-biting one-point win in Pool 1E, defeating Altona Gators 39-38. Caitlin Richardson (14 points) was the top scorer in that match for the Braves, while Cassie Dodemaide put up 11 for the Gators. Melbourne Tigers won the other match in the Pool, accounting for Sandringham Sabres by 12 points.

Bendigo Braves 39 defeated Altona Gators 38
Caitlin Richardson (Bendigo) 14
Phoebe Radford (Bendigo) 10
Cassie Dodemaide (Altona) 11

Melbourne Tigers 33 defeated Sandringham Sabres 21
Unavailable

Pool 1F:

Two one-sided contests in Pool 1F marked a couple of contenders, as Nunawading Spectres showed no mercy on defence against Southern Peninsula Sharks. Only conceding 11 points to the Sharks, the Spectres had a real team contribution on their way to 54 points, with Olivia Morris finishing with 12 in the 43-point triumph. Meanwhile Milly Simpson (13 points) led a Ballarat Rush outfit to a 22-point win over Ringwood Hawks.

Nunawading Spectres 54 defeated Southern Peninsula Sharks 11
Olivia Morris (Nunawading) 12
Ruby Deeprose (Southern Peninsula) 3

Ballarat Rush 47 defeated Ringwood Hawks 25
Milly Simpson (Ballarat) 13
Rosie Todd (Ringwood) 11

Picture: Dandenong Rangers Facebook

2020 MUVJBL U18 Boys/Girls Round 2 preview: Undefeated Wildcats and Raiders to battle it out

ROUND 2 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division is set to be a big one with Eltham, Coburg, Bulleen, Diamond Valley and Knox all looking to win their second consecutive games.

In the final game of the Ashe Pool on Friday night, Eltham and Knox are set to do battle with both sides sitting at a win apiece and looking to keep their undefeated record intact. Although it is only Round 2 a hot start can all but set up a successful campaign for the year something both sides will be keen to grasp. Eltham currently sits in second place thanks to a percentage boosting performance last round while Knox have fifth spot sewn up and will be hoping to improve their positioning with a win. Eltham’s ability to score beyond the arc is a key component of their game sinking seven three-pointers last week a feat they will be hoping to replicate once again to get the win over Knox. But the Raiders are pretty handy in the same department making 10 three-pointers last week meaning this game could quite easily turn into a shoot off given Knox have shown just how easily they can apply scoreboard pressure.

In what could arguably be the game of the round, expect Thomas Stockwell and Fletcher Parkinson to come up big in front of a home crowd. The Eltham duo brought out the party tricks last round with 16 and 14 points respectively showcasing just how damaging they can be when on song. Stockwell starred from the three-point range with three maximums while Harrison Stones was the next closest with two three-pointers. Throw in contributions from the likes of Patrick Dozzi and the Wildcats have plenty of potential and could down Knox if they get their game plan flowing early.

For the Raiders, they had four players reach double digits last round, and if they bring that same scoreboard intensity could rattle Eltham and notch up their second win of the year. Jordan Anderson led from the front in Round 1 finishing with 16 points, he did get himself into some personal foul trouble however, racking up four fouls and will have to address that this round to ensure he can have a full quarter impact. Jyelin Moli was close behind in the scoring department with 15 points for his efforts. But the scoring options do not stop there with Ethan Taylor and Harry Johnson knocking back 11 points apiece displaying just how much depth Knox have when it comes to scoring prowess.

In other matches, Bulleen will be hoping to make it two on the trot with a win against Camberwell to kick start the season while Diamond Valley are in the same boat up against Coburg. Early wins on the board for both sides will give them early ascendancy while the battle between Geelong United and Ringwood will result in one side getting their first win on the board. In the only other game in the Ashe Pool, Dandenong will take on Eltham 2. Switching conferences and the first-place Nunawading are set to lock horns with Hawthorn while Bendigo and Pakenham are looking for their first win. Keilor and Ballarat face off with Melbourne and McKinnon also vying off for the win. The last game of the round is between Waverley and Kilsyth.

Fixtures Round 2:

Ashe Pool:

Camberwell v. Bulleen
Geelong United v. Ringwod
Coburg v. Diamond Valley
Dandenong v. Eltham 2
Eltham v. Knox

Watson Pool:

Bendigo v. Pakenham
Hawthorn v. Nunawading
Keilor v. Ballarat
Melbourne v. McKinnoneltham
Waverley v. Kilsyth

IN a battle of third versus fourth the clash between Diamond Valley and Hawthorn will help to give one side the upper hand early with two wins on the trot. The Eagles put on a clinic last round with a 35-point drubbing of McKinnon sending an early warning shot to the rest of the competition while Hawthorn also plied their trade with a solid 18-point victory. Despite going quiet in the second and third terms Hawthorn managed to string together a dominant win and will know that they have the firepower to wreak havoc once again however, Diamond Valley got better as the game went on scoring a whopping 42 points in the second half making for a tantalising match-up. The home sides three-point shooting is one to be impressed with while Hawthorn is just as effective.

Three players reached double digits for the Eagles with Sophie Burrows proving to be the most dominant of the lot with 17 points. If Burrows can duplicate that form in Round 2 given her ability to back herself from beyond the arc and skill to do damage in the paint she could put her side in good stead. Along with Burrows both Jade Dunne and Imogen Rock are viable options to the basket coming off a 14-point showing last round an effort they will be hoping to repeat. Georgia Kitchell should not be underestimated able to chime in on the scoreboard and will be looking to have more of an impact this match.

On the other hand, Hawthorn haS a couple of key cogs when it comes to scoring with the load shared between Nikki Stanic, Emma Gebert and Amy O’Hara. The trio did the bulk of the shooting and if are kept under control in their Round 2 clash the Magic could struggle to get the win. Stanic managed a team-high 14 points last round while Gebert 11 and O’Hara 10 also played their part but will have to up the ante against a high scoring opposition. Solid performances from the likes of Ally Marshall and Sophie Palmer will also assist in notching up their second win.

In other games, Ballarat play host to the bottom placed Geelong United, while the first versus second in the Kilsyth and Nunawading clash will draw plenty of attention. Bulleen and McKinnon face off with Waverley and Keilor set to cap off the round for the Watson Pool. On the other hand, Dandenong and Melbourne kick things off for the Ashe Pool with Ringwood welcoming Nunawading 2. Expect the clash between Broadmeadows and Altona to be interesting with Frankston up against it in their Round 2 draw against Sandringham. Knox play the bottom placed Eltham in hope to secure their first win of the season.

Fixture:

Ashe Pool:

Dandenong v. Melbourne
Ringwood v. Nunawading
Broadmeadows v. Altona
Frankston v. Sandringham
Knox v. Eltham

Watson Pool:

Ballarat v. Geelong United
Diamond Valley v. Hawthorn
Kilsyth v. Nunawading
Bulleen v. McKinnon
Waverley v. Keilor

MUVJBL Under 18 Boys Round 1 review: Boomers gain separation from Rangers in 12-point win

AN Owen Foxwell-inspired Bulleen Boomers have produced a strong second half to hold off Dandenong Rangers in the first round of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under 18 Boys’ competition. Foxwell finished the match with 35 points – including one from long range and 10 free throw opportunities to lead his side to a 73-61 victory on the Boomers’ home court.

Bulleen held a narrow lead at quarter time with a one-point advantage, though Dandenong was not willing to give anything up, keeping pace in the second term with a 15-all quarter. It was the third term where Foxwell and his teammates went to town, putting up a team total of 19 points to 11 and blowing out the lead to nine points. Despite the lead, the Boomers were not willing to take any chances, winning the final term as well, 21-18 to record the 12-point victory and start the season on a high.

While Foxwell led the scoring, Anthony Dell’Orso (11 points) and Daniel Poelsma (10) also put up good numbers, though there was contributions across the board with eight players troubling the scorers on the night. Dandenong had its fair share of talent on the court, and Justin Asi proved what a danger from long range he could be, sinking four triples and six from inside the arc on his way to a team-high 28 points. He was well aided by Elijah Duol (19 points), while Jacob Oryem (seven) was the other player with more than five points on the Rangers’ side.

In other Ashe Pool results, Diamond Valley Eagles got up by seven points over Camberwell Dragons after a blistering 20-12 first term with Eagles’ Jackson Harding (17 points including five triples) and Noah Todd (15) leading the way for the winners, whilst Sam Veitch sank 19 points for the losing side. Eltham Wildcats had an unsurprising win over their second side, getting up 56-43 with Thomas Stockwell and Fletcher Parkinson combining for 30 points. Meanwhile Knox Raiders knocked off Geelong United by just seven points, winning in a high scoring contest 80-73. Jordan Anderson (16 points) Jyelin Moli (15) were the prominent scorers for the Raiders, whilst Jay Posterino (16) and Jamie Bottrell (14) impressed in an even team performance for United. The game between Ringwood Hawks and Coburg Giants scores are yet to be confirmed via SportsTG.

It was a tight game in Ballarat when the Miners took down Hawthorn Magic by just two points in the Watson Pool. The Miners found themselves trailing by seven points at half-time but had a strong second half to score 38 points to 29 and overrun the visitors in a 64-62 win. Austin McKenzie led the way for the miners with 25 points including two triples and a total of 22 points from the field, whilst the Magic had Denzel Timmons (18 points) who was deadly from long range with four triples. The Magic did run into some foul trouble with 19 fouls to 13, whilst the depth of the Miners’ top-end scoring from range was electrifying with a team total of 10 triples made on the night. Aside from McKenzie, Nathan Sutton recorded a team-high four on his way to 14 points, whilst Max Rivers (two triples for 11 points) and Liam Howard (two for eight) were also impressive outside the arc.

In other Watson Pool results, Nunawading was far too strong for Bendigo as the title-contending Spectres ran away 87-61 victory thanks to the likes of James Roache (25 points), Dihan Wiggett (21) and Dean Simos (15). Lachlan O’Brien led the way for the Braves with 16 points, aided by the likes of Macey Eaton (11) and Edward Hayes (10). Meanwhile despite a dominant third term from the Warriors, Pakenham fell six points short of Melbourne Tigers with the visitors responding to a 7-17 third quarter with a 22-11 final term of their own in the 62-56 victory. Jensesn Garhnam (18 points) and Ihsaan Bongso (16) led the way for the Tigers in the win, whilst Lauchlan Mark (15) was strong for the Warriors in defeat.

Keilor also broke away from Kilsyth after quarter time to win by 12 points on the road. Despite the Cobras’ Josh Duach‘s best efforts (18 points), Keilor was too strong thanks to Tonga Matapule Otutaha (17 points), Chase Page (14) and Jeffrey Ofoedu (12). In the final game of the pool, McKinnon Cougars’ fast start to lead by 12 at half-time was the difference in the end in a 71-59 victory over Waverley Falcons. Denver Lund and Tom Carroll sank 21 points apiece in the win, whilst Callum McNiff (14 points) led the way for the losing Falcons.

Round 1 results:

Ashe Pool:

Eltham Wildcats 2 (43) defeated by Eltham Wildcats (56)
Diamond Valley Eagles (64) defeated Camberwell Dragons (57)
Knox Raiders (80) defeated Geelong United (73)
Bulleen Boomers (73) defeated Dandenong Rangers (61)
Ringwood Hawks (TBC) vs. Coburg Giants (TBC)

Watson Pool:

Nunawading Spectres (87) defeated Bendigo Braces (61)
Pakenham Warriors (56) defeated by Melbourne Tigers (62)
Ballarat Miners (64) defeated Hawthorn Magic (62)
McKinnon Cougars (71) defeated Waverley Falcons (59)
Kilsyth Cobras (57) defeated by Keilor Thunder (69)

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Qualifying and Elimination Finals – Bulleen sets the standard

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division kicked off finals this week with the Eltham Wildcats defeating Waverley Falcons in the first qualifier (79-69). Eltham proceed into the preliminary while Waverley look to use their second chance next week. In the match-up, Waverley was competitive early, following 22-20 at quarter-time. In the second, their efforts dipped as the Wildcats continued to a game-high 26-7. Despite a good response in the third (11-25), Waverley’s rebound could not affect the win. For the Wildcats, Kristian Ferronato (18 points) and Bradley Moorey (15) controlled the floor. With 12 points per game, Ferronato remains Eltham’s most consistent scorer and a threat heading deeper into finals. David Amum (18) led for Waverley and was accompanied well by Matt Jefferson (15). Amum’s performance moves him to fifth for PPG (15.9) in his tenth consecutive game in the Championship Division.

The second Qualifying Final saw the Bulleen Boomers advance into the preliminaries following a 50-point thrashing over Keilor Thunder. In the contest, Bulleen controlled from the very beginning. They set the tone with 25-4 in the first, before slowing to 16-6 in the second. By the main break, Bulleen led 41-10 – scoring Keilor’s total score by the first half. Although Keilor managed double-digits for consecutive terms in the second half, it was not enough to contend. Bulleen boasted plenty standouts in the win, with Will Rimmington (17), Daniel Johnston (16) and Joe Foxwell (15) all cracking above 10 points. Though most impressive was Daniel Poelsma, who moves to seventh spot for PPG (15.3) following his game-high 22 points. For Keilor, Cooper Colson managed 10 points, followed next by Xavier Maye and Jackson Djatschenko with seven each.

The first of the eliminations occurred after Dandenong Rangers defeated the Knox Raiders (61-54). The Rangers advance into the semi-finals as the Raiders season reaches its conclusion. At Batesford Reserve, Dandenong was keen to set the pace. They controlled both sides of the floor, scoring 16 and 19 in the first half, while keeping the Raiders below 10 in both. The Raiders took over in the second half, winning consecutive terms (16-22, 10-17), but could not escape their poor openers to snare the win. Beau Tranter starred for the Rangers with a team-high 22 points and finished the only Dandenong player over 10 points. Tyson Leys finished next best with eight. For the Raiders, Jordan Anderson earned a game-high 27 points, followed next by Lachlan Heron‘s 14. Anderson finishes his season in second place for PPG with 20.4 from 10 outings.

The last Elimination Final saw the Geelong Supercats earned a 74-54 win over Bendigo Braves. The Melton affair seemed over fast for the Braves, having conceded 18-9 in the first term. Like the rest, Bendigo’s first half took them out of the contest despite some valiant efforts in the second half. Both teams lifted in the closers, but the Braves were just unable to shut down on defense. For the Supercats, Jet Kneebone led the way with 19 points, followed next by the league’s third best scorer in Olivier Northam (16). Northam currently averages 19.9 PPG from 10 outings, while Kneebone follows on 12.6. Jacob Nihil proved good in attack for Bendigo, picking up a team-high 18 points. Michael Kiraly also impressed on his way to 11 points in his last for the season.

In the Reserve grade, the Diamond Valley Eagles defeated the Eltham Wildcats (61-49), the Nunawading Spectres fell short to Casey Cavaliers (45-58), Kilsyth Cobras lost 53-56 against the Whittlesea Pacers and Hawthorn Magic closed out the round with a 64-53 win over Melbourne Tigers. In the semi-finals for the Championship Division, Waverley Falcons face the Dandenong Rangers and Keilor Thunder face Geelong Supercats. The Eltham Wildcats and Bulleen Boomers advance into the Preliminary Finals.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Qualifying and Elimination Finals

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division kicks off their first leg of finals this week, with four teams up for elimination and the remaining four squaring off in the qualifying finals

Eltham Wildcats (1st, 15-3) vs Waverley Falcons (4th, 12-6)

The first qualifying final pits Eltham Wildcats against Waverley Falcons. From their previous encounters they sit at one win apiece, with Waverley earning the most recent victory in late June (67-58). Though the most interesting feature of their third match-up is the neutral territory, with both teams sitting on one loss apiece from their time on the road. Kristian Ferronato will be watched closely, having averaged 11.3 points per game (PPG) from eight outings. He continues to be Eltham’s most consistent shooter, alongside Bradley Moorey (10.6), who delivered a team-high 16 points in last week’s win. For Waverley, David Amum should expect a lot of attention at the board. Along with Tesloch Thong (12.3), Amum sits as one of the league’s most dominant scorers, averaging 15.7 PPG in sixth spot.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 15-3) vs Keilor Thunder (3rd, 12-5-1)

The second qualifying final kicks off at Mill Park Stadium with Bulleen Boomers facing Keilor Thunder. In their last encounter, Keilor handed Bulleen their first and only loss at home, despite holding an average record on the road and three wins between them. Since the loss, Bulleen have turned things around, recording five consecutive wins, while Keilor have recorded a loss and draw over the past fortnight. Bulleen will look to Marcel Haj (17.2 PPG) and Daniel Poelsma (14.6) to have an impact, having recorded 34 and 11 in last week’s win. For Keilor, Cooper Colson (13.9) and Brodie McWhinney (12.2) will look to build on their nine and 12 points from last week.

Geelong Supercats (5th, 10-7-1) vs Bendigo Braves (8th, 10-8)

Geelong Supercats and Bendigo Braves kick off the first of two elimination finals. The last time these two teams faced, Geelong walked away decisive victors (74-68). In the weeks leading in, both teams have suffered poor runs, with Geelong losing three of their last four and Bendigo losing three of their last five. Despite similar records, Bendigo’s success on the road has them winning this one. Geelong will rely heavily on Olivier Northam (20.3 PPG) and Jet Kneebone (11.9) to drive offense. Currently, Northam sits at the top scorer in the finals series, ranking first in overall points and second behind Latrobe’s, Coby Burgiel (21.9), on 20.3 PPG. Comparatively, Bendigo lack top-end scorers. Macey Eaton currently leads with 11.3 PPG, followed next by Jacob Nihil on 8.9.

Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-7-1) vs Knox Raiders (7th, 10-8)

The first leg of elimination finals caps off with Dandenong Rangers facing Knox Raiders. In their last meeting, Dandenong proved the better outfit, defeating Knox by five points. Though in the time that preceded it, Knox issued a much higher standard to defeat Dandenong (81-58). Though with three consecutive losses currently plaguing Knox, it seems they might be over the hill. The Rangers will have Jerome Pierre (16.4 PPG) and Beau Tranter (13.4) managing offense, with Tranter reaching 15 points in last week’s fight-back draw against Keilor. For Knox, Jordan Anderson continues to be standout, ranking third in the competition for PPG (20.3) and second for overall points (177). Last fortnight, he hit 23 points in the loss to Geelong, followed next by Zachary Greeves (16).

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Round 9

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division finalists might be set in stone, but home finals, and even the minor premiership is still up for grabs in what is expected to be a huge final round.

Waverley Falcons (4th, 11-6) vs. Geelong Supercats (5th, 10-6-1)

The battle for the final spot in the top four is well and truly on with Waverley Falcons and Geelong Supercats to determine who grabs a double chance in the finals. The Falcons could even grab third if Keilor Thunder has a shock loss to Dandenong Ranges, while a loss for the Supercats could see them fall as low as eighth. The Falcons have been shaky at home with just three wins from eight games, while the Supercats are four wins and a draw from the same amount of matches on the road. Olivier Northam is the top shooter in the clash, averaging 20.6 points per game to rank second overall, while David Amum (15.6) and Tesloch Thong (13.4) are also ranked inside the top 10 after their performances so far this season for Waverley.

Bulleen Boomers (1st, 14-3) vs. Bendigo Braves (8th, 10-7)

The top eight is done and dusted, but Bendigo is still in line for a home final if the Braves can cause a monumental upset over title favourites, Bulleen Boomers. The Boomers have only dropped one game at home, while the Braves are comfortable hitting the road with six wins from eight matches. If they win, they will likely jump at least one team, while for the Boomers, a minor premiership is on the line as Bulleen is level on points with Eltham Wildcats. It is no surprise the top side has plenty of scoring options, led by top 10 shooters, Marcel Haj (17.3 points per game) and Daniel Poelsma (15.0). The Braves do have Macey Eaton inside the top 20, who is averaging 12.1 points per game this season.

Pakenham Warriors (14th, 7-9-1) vs. Latrobe Energy (12th, 8-9)

In the game that has no bearing on finals, the winner will ensure they do not finish bottom in the Championship Division. With Latrobe sitting two wins adrift of Dandenong sitting in the last finals spot, there is no chance the Energy will see past this week, but will be keen to go out on a high after four consecutive losses. The Warriors would also be keen to bounce back from a loss last week, but regardless both these teams are having their last showing for the season. Despite sitting low on the ladder, the Energy actually have a damaging trio, but much of the scoring power is relied upon them. Coby Burgiel (20.5 points per game) and Jack Hrehoresen (19.5) are ranked third and fourth respectively in the league, while Koby Tibballs (13.7) is ranked ninth. For the Warriors, the eighteenth placed Kayne Taylor is their top scorer with 11 points per game in his eight outings.

Eltham Wildcats (2nd, 14-3) vs. Knox Raiders (6th, 10-7)

This game has a fair bit of interest with the minor premiership on the line for Eltham, while Knox has the chance to secure a home final with victory. Currently sitting sixth, the Raiders will move past the Supercats if they win and Geelong lose, but cannot surpass Waverley under the head-to-head rule. The Wildcats would love to grab top spot as whichever teams falls into fourth will be an easier task than the third placed Keilor Thunder. Eltham will need to find a way to contain Raiders’ star Jordan Anderson who has been a shooting machine this season putting up 22.1 points per game. He is the top ranked shooter in the competition, while Zachary Greeves also makes his way into the top 20 with 11.9 points per game. For the Wildcats, it is a shared contribution with Kristian Ferronato (12.3 points) the only player in the top 20, but Bradley Moorey (9.9) and Anton Stratov (8.8) not far behind.

Dandenong Rangers (9th, 10-7) vs. Keilor Thunder (3rd, 12-5)

Hard to see the Rangers causing an upset against the Thunder in this game, though there is more on the line for the Rangers. They could potentially leapfrog a couple of teams and snatch a home elimination final, where a loss guarantees them eighth. For the Thunder, a win would lock up third spot, but a loss and Waverley move past them based on the Falcons’ three-point win recently. Jerome Pierre holds the key to the Rangers’ success this season, shooting 17.6 points per game, well aided by partner-in-crime Beau Tranter (13.3). For the Thunder, Brodie McWhinney (13.0) and Cooper Colson (13.0) sit in eleventh and twelfth spot on the scorers table respectively.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Round 8 – Top two secured

THE top two sides at the end of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division have been determined with Bulleen Boomers and Eltham Wildcats now two wins clear of third placed Keilor Thunder after wins on the weekend.

The Wildcats saw off the Thunder in the second and third clash at Eltham High. The Wildcats opened with a big first half to race away to a 14-point lead at the main break, before Keilor hit back with a 19-13 third term to cut the deficit to single digits. Eltham steadied in the final term to take control, winning the quarter 14-10 and the match, 59-47 to guarantee a top two spot. Zahn Agosta posted 16 points for the winners, while Bradley Moorey assisted with 13. For the Thunder, Cooper Colson sank 18 points, while Brodie McWhinney finished with 11.

Bulleen Boomers maintained top spot with a round to go thanks to a comprehensive win on the road against Dandenong Rangers. The Boomers slammed home 28 points to 12 in the first term, with an almost as impressive 20-12 second quarter. It meant the visitors headed into the main break with a 24-point lead and the game all but done and dusted. They extended it out to 25 by the final break before the Rangers mounted a spirited comeback in the final term to score 18-13 in the 55-75 loss. Daniel Poelsma (22 points) was superb in the win, while Daniel Johnston (15) and Marcel Haj (13) were also impressive. For the Rangers, Jerome Pierre (23 points) continued his scoring spree this season, while Beau Tranter (13) also impressed.

Waverley Falcons jumped into the top four with a 91-45 smashing of Latrobe Energy. The Falcons took advantage of a Knox Raiders loss to grab the double chance opportunity and send the Energy out of finals contention. They dominated from the start, opening up a 12-point lead at quarter time, and blew the visitors away in the second term courtesy of a 24-2 quarter to lead by 36 points at the main break. They did not stop there, piling on 44 points to 32 in the second half to run away with the massive 46-point victory. Tesloch Thong (17 points), Nemuel Soliven (16), David Amum (16), Matt Jefferson (14) and Angus Perry (10) all reached double figures, while Koby Tibballs (18) and Coby Burgiel (15) did the bulk of the scoring for the losers.

Geelong Supercats grabbed fifth spot by leapfrogging Knox Raiders after defeating the Raiders by seven points at Knox. The Supercats opened strongly to lead by six points at the first break, but that lead was cut to just three by half-time. Geelong produced its best quarter in the third term, piling on 25-16, while Knox tried to hit back with a 24-19 last quarter, but the Supercats held on to the win, 75-68. Olivier Northam (22 points) and Harry Den Dryer (20) were crucial for the winners, while Jet Kneebone (16) and Billy Dawson (12) both found plenty of room in the paint. Jordan Anderson (23 points) and Zachary Greeves (16) were the two key scorers for Knox in the loss.

Bendigo Braves kept themselves in contention for a home final after defeating Pakenham Warriors by 12 points. The Warriors started strongly to lead by two at quarter time and four at half-time and three quarter time before the visitors clicked into gear. A massive 26-10 final term saw Bendigo finish with a flurry of points, running over the top of the Warriors and celebrating a 64-52 win. Jett Vandenberg (15 points) and Michael Kiraly (14) were the key scorers on the night, while for Pakenham, Jak Morris-Burney (11) and Lachlan Smith (10) contributed.

In the Reserve grade, Nunawading Spectres’ massive winning streak stretched to nine after downing the second best side in the grade in Hawthorn Magic, by four points on the road. Kilsyth Cobras made it three wins on the trot with an 18-point triumph over Diamond Valley Eagles, while Casey Cavaliers got up 50-46 over Southern Peninsula Sharks to make it back-to-back wins. In other results, Eltham Wildcats 2 just got over cellar dwellers Sunbury by two points, while Whittlesea Pacers moved into the eighth spot in the grade with an upset 61-53 win over Melbourne Tigers.

In the final round of action, the two non Championship Division sides who will miss finals face off with Pakenham Warriors hosting Latrobe Energy, meaning all finalists will play another finalist in the week leading up to the post-season series. Top-of-the-table Bulleen Boomers will hope to secure top spot when they play Bendigo Braves, while Eltham Wildcats have a tougher assignment against Knox Raiders if they are to overtake the Boomers. Dandenong Rangers can still grab a home final if they topple top-four bound Keilor Thunder who have the benefit of Waverley Falcons and Geelong Supercats facing off meaning only one of them can make top four with the Thunder.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Round 8

ONLY two rounds remain in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division with finals still available for all 10 teams. With the top-four all vying for a home-final, the contest between the Eltham Wildcats and Keilor Thunder has potential to better the winner’s chances next fortnight. The Dandenong Rangers’ match-up with Bulleen Boomers presents similar gain – with both contests likely indicating how prepared each side is for finals.

Eltham Wildcats (2nd, 13-3) vs Keilor Thunder (3rd, 12-4)

The match-up between the Eltham Wildcats and Keilor Thunder at Eltham High could set the winner up for a home final next fortnight. Both sides have boasted a good deal of success in the Championship Division, with Eltham picking up their fourth consecutive win over Dandenong last round, as Keilor re-joined the winner’s list against the Latrobe Energy. Dandenong challenged the Wildcats more than most but failed to match at the boards – conceding the first and second highest scoring terms. Bradley Moorey and Harrison Stones were Eltham’s biggest utilities, scoring 14 and 12 points respectively. Top-scorer, Kristian Ferronato (eight) lacked his usual impact but remains in ninth for league-scoring. Comparatively, Keilor boasted one of their easiest match-ups yet, beating Latrobe 78-53 with an impressive 31-point final term. Nikolas Ellul (14), Xavier Maye (12) and Brodie McWhinney (12) combined well on the scoreboard – with McWhinney moving to 10th for league-scoring. Despite missing the top-end, Cooper Colson’s nine-points moved him to fifteenth for points per game (PPG).

Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-6) vs Bulleen Boomers (1st, 13-3)

Dandenong Rangers present a chance to join the top-four this week when they host Bulleen Boomers. Last week, the Rangers competed well against the Wildcats – losing 50-45 after recording four consecutive wins, while the Boomers recorded their third win in a row, this time over the Geelong Supercats (82-67). Jerome Pierre was at his usual best for Dandenong, recording 18 points in the loss to move to sixth in the league for PPG. Beau Tranter holds in eleventh spot following his nine-point performance, averaging 13.3 PPG. The Boomers recorded three terms over 20 points in their win, with Marcel Haj absolutely dominating the floor with 34 points. Haj moves to third for points (125) across the league and fifth for PPG with a 17.9 average. Joe Foxwell also proved himself in the contest, scoring 16 points. This week, Dandenong will put their impressive 6-1-0 home record to the test against the best in the league, with Pierre and Haj both in top form.

Pakenham Warriors (13th, 7-8-1) vs Bendigo Braves (9th, 9-7)

Pakenham Warriors host Bendigo Braves this week, with both sides desperately needing a win to stay in touch for finals. Last week, both sides returned to the winner’s list. Pakenham impressed at home against the fourth placed, Knox Raiders, defeating the top-end side 65-61, while the Bendigo Braves took a similarly big scalp over the Waverley Falcons (70-77), exposing Waverley’s weak record at home (2-5-0). In their match-up with Knox, Pakenham opened both halves (11-17, 15-18) weaker than their visitors, though took control when it mattered to close out with the win (19-10, 20-16). Jarrod Small led on the scoreboard for the Warriors with 17 points, followed next by Kobe Wilson on 12. Kayne Taylor still sits as Pakenham’s only player within the top 20 for PPG, averaging 11.7 from seven outings despite recording five against Knox. Bendigo will look to Macey Eaton (14) and Jett Vandenberg (13) to continue their form from last week, with Eaton having a 12.8 PPG average – remaining Bendigo’s only player within the top 20.

Knox Raiders (4th, 10-6) vs Geelong Supercats (8th, 9-6-1)

Knox Raiders will be desperate to return to the winner’s list this round when they host a struggling Geelong Supercats. The Raiders pulled up short against Pakenham (65-61) last week – conceding 20 points in the final term after taking a 45-45 tie into the closer. Similarly, Geelong suffered a loss to Bulleen on their way to their second defeat in a fortnight. Their success in recent weeks does not bode well as they face their third top four side in a month. In the Raiders’ match, Jordan Anderson and Lachlan Heron impressed with 20 and 15 points respectively. Anderson retains the top spot for PPG (22) and overall points (154), while Zachary Greeves moves to 17th following a nine-point performance. Koby Tranys emerged for the Supercats with 20 points, while Olivier Northam recorded one of the league’s best games with 31. Northam moves to second spot for overall points and third for PPG as he comes up against his top-end rival in Anderson.

Waverley Falcons (5th, 10-6) vs Latrobe Energy (12th, 8-8)

Latrobe Energy hope to keep their finals’ chances alive this week when they travel to Waverley to face the Falcons. Last week, the Falcons faced a surprising loss against the bottom-end, Bendigo Braves. Despite winning their second half with consecutive 18-point terms, the Braves’ dominance in the first (16-24, 18-22) was too much for the Falcons. For Latrobe, success has been hard to find. They suffered their third consecutive loss at the hands of the Keilor Thunder last round, moving to 12th – one spot out of finals. In Waverley’s match-up, David Amum delivered with 25 points, followed next by Tesloch Thong on 14. The pair both boast spots within the top-20 for PPG, with Amum in seventh and Thong in thirteenth. Matt Jefferson also rounds out the top-20 with 10.2 PPG. For Latrobe, Kody Tibballs (21) and Coby Burgiel (17) delivered on the board last week, with Tibballs moving to twelfth for PPG and Burgiel to second. Jack Hrehoresen also boasts fourth spot with 19.5 PPG, but has only played four games in the Championship Division.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Round 7 – Top 3 consolidate spots

THE top three sides in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division have gained some crucial separation on their nearest rivals after wins on the weekend. Bulleen Boomers and Eltham Wildcats both guaranteed themselves two of the top three spots with victory, while Keilor Thunder need just one win in the final two games to lock up the third spot.

Bulleen Boomers continued to show why their firepower is better than any other team, powering their way to a high-scoring 82-67 win over Geelong Supercats. They took control in the first half to lead by 12 at the main break, then extended the lead after a minor lapse in the third term to win by 15 points. Marcel Haj finished with a massive 34 points, while Joel Foxwell (16) and Daniel Poelsma (11) assisted well in the big win. Olivier Northam had 31 of his own points for the Supercats, while he and Koby Tranys (20) did the bulk of the damage for the visitors.

Keilor Thunder had a similar-sized win over Latrobe Energy, involved in a relatively tight contest for most of the game, but remaining in control to lead by five and seven points at the first two breaks and then a handy 13 by the final break. A dominant last quarter saw Keilor run away with the contest in a 31-19 term to win 78-53. They shared around the points with Nikolas Ellul (14 points), Brodie McWhinney (12), Xavier Maye (12) and Jackson Djatschenko (10) all having plenty of say in the contest. For the Energy, it was Kody Tibballs (21 points) and Coby Burgiel (17) who were the dominant scorers on the night.

Second placed Eltham Wildcats kept in touch with the Boomers in a much closer game than they would hope, just getting over the line against Dandenong Rangers by five points. The Wildcats trailed at quarter time, regained the lead by half-time and the scores were level at the final break. A 16-11 last quarter resulted in Eltham getting over the line and taking home a crucial win to book a double chance in the finals. Bradley Moorey (14 points) and Harrison Stones (12) led the way for the Wildcats, while Jerome Pierre (18) was the sole dominant scorer for the Rangers.

The loss to Geelong Supercats opened the door for Bendigo Braves who moved within a point of the Supercats courtesy of a seven-point victory over Waverley Falcons. The Braves lead throughout the contest, but it was the first half that set them up with the visitors leading by 12, before the Falcons cut the deficit to seven by the final buzzer. Macey Eaton scored 14 points, while Jett Vandenberg (13) and Jacob Nihill (11) were also big contributors. For Waverley, David Amum was the top scorer on the court sinking 25, assisted by Tesloch Thong (14) and Matt Jefferson (12).

The upset of the round belonged to Pakenham Warriors who sit the lowest of the Championship Division sides, but toppled the highly fancied Knox Raiders by four points at home. They trailed by six points at quarter time but dominated the second term to hit the front by three at the main break. Scores were level heading into the final stanza before the Warriors pieced together a 20-16 term to secure a vital win, 65-61. Jarred Small led the way with 17 points, while Kobe Wilson sank 12 for the winners. Jordan Anderson (20 points) was the key scorer for the Raiders, while Lachlan Heron shot 15 and Brody Harrison also added 12.

While the Diamond Valley Eagles-Nunawading Spectres clash result was yet to be confirmed in the Reserve grade, Melbourne Tigers and Kilsyth Cobras both enjoyed big wins over Southern Peninsula Sharks and Eltham Wildcats 2 respectively. In closer games, Hawthorn Magic got up over Whittlesea Pacers by six points, and Casey Cavaliers triumphed over Sunbury by four.

Round 8 sees a second versus third clash when Eltham Wildcats host Keilor Thunder, while equally as big is the top-of-the-table Bulleen Boomers hitting the road to face Dandenong Rangers. Knox Raiders will hope to take advantage of the top sides facing each other with a home fixture against Geelong Supercats, while Bendigo Braves travel to Pakenham Warriors, and Waverley Falcons host Latrobe Energy in the other games.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Round 7

ROUND 7 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division poses one more chance for teams outside finals territory – with a clean run home necessary for both Bendigo and Pakenham. The Eltham Wildcats will host the Dandenong Rangers in the match of the round, while the Geelong Supercats face the Bulleen Boomers in a similarly wrought contest.

Eltham Wildcats (2nd, 12-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-5)

This week, the Eltham Wildcats host the Dandenong Rangers in a contest that should set the winner up for finals. A win for the Wildcats keeps them inside the top-two – granting a home final and a second-chance. If the Rangers win, they continue their push for top-four, and with only two wins between them and first, could threaten for something better in the coming rounds. Kristian Ferronato has been one of the league’s most damaging scorers all season. Last week, he put up a game-high 18 points in Eltham’s win, alongside an emerging Zahn Agosta (13). This week they face a damaging pair in Beau Tranter and Jerome Pierre. Pierre sits fifth in the league for points per game (PPG) on 16.4 and dominated in last week’s clash against Latrobe with 25 points. Tranter sits in tenth spot, averaging 14 PPG from six outings.

Bulleen Boomers (1st, 12-3) vs Geelong Supercats (7th, 9-5-1)

With the top spot still in contention, the Bulleen Boomers’ clash at home against the Geelong Supercats will be a must-win. The top-four has tightened over the last few rounds, with Eltham equalling Bulleen’s record and Keilor rising. Despite sitting in 7th, a top-four shot is still attainable for the Supercats – sitting only one win behind fourth. Though more importantly, Geelong risk slipping entirely if Bendigo and Pakenham can get off the bottom. The match-up between Bulleen’s, Marcel Haj, and Geelong’s, Olivier Northam, should be big in deciding the result. This season, Haj has averaged 15.2 PPG from six appearances, and recorded 14 points in last week’s clash to Pakenham. Joe Foxwell was the biggest highlight of that game – recording a game-high 15. Northam has been similarly impressive – averaging 18.7 PPG in fourth and second for overall points (112). Jet Kneebone has also been strong for Geelong with 12 PPG in 15th.

Pakenham Warriors (13th, 6-8-1) vs Knox Raiders (4th, 10-5)

The Knox Raiders sit on the edge of the top-four as they face the Pakenham Warriors on the road this Friday. After losing big to the Keilor Thunder (59-37) last fortnight, the Raiders rebounded strong against the Bendigo Braves (46-66) to stay in touch with the top-four. The Warriors have been in poor form since joining the Championship Division – adding their sixth consecutive loss last week against the Bulleen Boomers (79-61). Kayne Taylor pulled up well in the loss to record 20 points. He moves to twelfth for PPG across the league with 12.8 average from six outings. Drue Maher was also big in the slog with 14 points. Though when compared with the Raiders’, Jordan Anderson, the pair seem a bit outmatched. Anderson currently boasts the most points in the league (134) and second spot for PPG on 22.3. The league-leader had 16 points in last week’s clash – equal with teammate Blake Stratton, who hopefully carries his form into finals.

Keilor Thunder (3rd, 11-4) vs Latrobe Energy (10th, 8-7)

The Keilor Thunder will hope to join the winner’s list this week when they face the Latrobe Energy at home. Last week, Keilor had their longstanding streak ended at the hands of the Waverley Falcons. Before losing to the Falcons, the Thunder were the most dominant team in the Championship Division with seven consecutive wins. Comparatively, Latrobe have won two of their six outings in the new division. They showed up well last week against the Rangers, coming close with 29 points in the third term, but went onto lose touch with 10-23 in the closer. Keilor will look to Brodie McWhinney to perform, having averaged 13.5 PPG in eleventh spot across the league. He has been supported well by Cooper Colson (12.5 PPG and ranked fifteenth), who had 11 against Waverley. For Latrobe, eyes will be on Jack Hrehoresen (19.5) and Kody Tibballs – ranked in third and eighteenth respectively.

Waverley Falcons (5th, 10-5) vs Bendigo Braves (11th, 8-7)

After ending the league’s longest standing streak last week, the Waverley Falcons should hope to resume form as they host the Bendigo Braves. Before last fortnight, the Falcons held a strong winning record. Though after losing grip, returned the week after to put down Keilor’s dominant run. The Braves nurse three consecutive losses after adding their third against a rebounding Knox (46-66) last week. A win is a must for the Braves if they intend on playing finals, but with David Amum, Tesloch Thong and Nemuel Soliven at the helm for Waverley, it could prove difficult. On the leaderboard, Amum (14) leads the Falcons in ninth, while Thong (12.7) and Soliven (11) follow next in thirteenth and nineteenth. The Braves will have Macey Eaton to counter, averaging 12.6 PPG in thirteenth. Though unfortunately, the Braves had no player record double-digits last week, so require a big lift if they hope to compete.