Tag: marcel haj

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.



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


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


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


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

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

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 1 preview: Boomers and Rangers the highlight match, as Sabres and Broncos to clash

BULLEEN Boomers are set to host Dandenong Rangers in a huge Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division Round 1 clash. Opening the new season, the Eltham Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament winners in the Under 18s grade take on the unlucky semi-final losers, who just dropped out to North Adelaide in the penultimate round.

Bulleen’s strong list saw Anthony Dell’Orso sink 95 points across the tournament at an average of 15.8 points per game from his six matches. He sank 10 three-pointers in that time as one of a couple of dangerous options from deep. Owen Foxwell also knew how to hurt the opposition from three-point range, finishing the tournament with eight shots made from long range and an average of 11.2 points per game. Foxwell also got to the free throw line often, the most of any player on the Boomers’ side, while Daniel Poelsma (11.7 points per game) was a reliable two-point shooter and earned a number of crucial fouls. Marcel Haj (7.5 points per game) was the other key scorer, making it four players who can score regularly for the Boomers and will prove hard to stop for the Rangers.

Dandenong has its own quartet of dangerous scorers, with Elijah Duol averaging 10.7 points per game at the Eltham Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament, the most of any Rangers’ player in the seven matches. They know how to share the ball around though, with Justin Asi (9.6 points per game) a regular two-point shooter. Jacob Oryem (8.7 points) and Cooper Goonewardene (8.0 points) are both known dangers from all over the court and made the most free throws of any players on the team, with a nice balance between close range and long range attempts. The Rangers know how to force opponents to foul and they will look to pressure the Bulleen defence in what is set to be a huge opening round of basketball action.

In other games, Kilsyth Cobras take on Keilor Thunder in what should be an exciting one with both missing out on finals at the junior finals but showing some good signs, as should the Pakenham Warriors and Melbourne Tigers clash. Knox Raiders are predicted to be another strong side in the grade, hosting Geelong United, while Camberwell Dragons are a new team to the top division, travelling to face Diamond Valley Eagles. An all-Eltham battle should ignite some bragging rights, while Ringwood Hawks host Coburg Giants. In the other pool, Nunawading Spectres host Bendigo Braves, Ballarat Miners take on Hawthorn Magic, and McKinnon Cougars face Waverley Falcons.

Under 18 Boys Round 1 fixtures:

Pool 1:

Eltham Wildcats 2 vs. Eltham Wildcats
Diamond Valley Eagles vs. Camberwell Dragons
Knox Raiders vs. Geelong United
Bulleen Boomers vs. Dandenong Rangers
Ringwood Hawks vs. Coburg Giants

Pool 2:

Nunawading Spectres vs. Bendigo Braves
Pakenham Warriors vs. Melbourne Tigers
Ballarat Miners vs. Hawthorn Magic
McKinnon Cougars vs. Waverley Falcons
Kilsyth Cobras vs. Keilor Thunder

While it is expected both Bulleen and Dandenong will be strong in the Under 18 Girls’ Championship Division, the match to watch could well be Sandringham Sabres up against Broadmeadows Broncos. Both teams competed at the Eltham Dandenong Junior Tournament recently and while it did not go as well as it could have, they both won two from five matches in their respective pools. In Round 1 the two take to the court with the Sabres being the host.

Having come through the Under 16s Championship division last season, Sandringham has a number of talented ballers who could make the step up to the next level and cause some headaches for the opposition. At the Eltham Dandenong Junior Tournament, Charlotte Ryan averaged the most points with nine per game from her five matches, shooting predominantly from two-point range, but along with Maya Dear, is more than competent from three-point range. Dear showed plenty of talent last season and will be one to watch, not often getting to the foul line, but her jump shooting was impressive with her two-point and three-point numbers good. Summer Keating, Charlotte Zygarlicki and Jemima O’Toole all averaged more than five points at the tournament, with the trio capable of finding fouls and heading to the line, but less likely to unleash from long range.

Emma Povh was the key scorer for Broadmeadows during the Eltham Dandenong Junior Tournament, finishing with an average of eight points per game. While she was not a high scorer in play, her free-throw numbers – almost 50 per cent of her total score – tell a story of how worrisome her opponents can get when she approaches the basket. Oriana Siamoa recorded a greater than 50 per cent record in terms of her free-throw points scored from her overall points scored. Broadmeadows will not be a side that traditionally shoots from long range, with Povh and Emma Hoffman‘s three makes the highest in the team during the tournament. Chrisoula Triantafyllopoulos and Harmony Harder are the other scorers for the Broncos who might have an impact, not shooting from range, but Harder in particular is a concern for opposition players with 100 per cent of her points during the tournament coming in twos.

In other fixtures, Altona Gators host Knox Raiders, Eltham Wildcats take on Dandenong Rangers, Melbourne Tigers face Ringwood Hawks, and Frankston Blues travel to meet Nunawading Spectres 2. In the other Pool, McKinnon Cougars go head-to-head with Diamond Valley Eagles, Geelong United hosts Kilsyth Cobras, Ballarat Miners hit the road to face Hawthorn Magic, Bulleen Boomers take on Keilor Thunder, and Nunawading Spectres prepare to do battle with Waverley Falcons.

Under 18 Girls Round 1 fixtures:

Pool 1:

Altona Gators vs. Knox Raiders
Eltham Wildcats vs. Dandenong Rangers
Melbourne Tigers vs. Ringwood Hawks
Nunawading Spectres 2 vs. Frankston Blues
Sandringham Sabres vs. Broadmeadows Broncos

Pool 2:

McKinnon Cougars vs. Diamond Valley Eagles
Geelong United vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Hawthorn Magic vs. Ballarat Miners
Keilor Thunder vs. Bulleen Boomers
Nunawading Spectres vs. Waverley Falcons

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC review: Preliminary Finals – Falcons earn chance for redemption

THE Eltham Wildcats continued their strong season with a dominant performance in the Melbourne United Victoria Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division preliminary finals. The Wildcats easily moved past Dandenong Rangers, while in the other game, Waverley Falcons upset second placed Bulleen Boomers to face Eltham in the 2019 decider.

Eltham Wildcats 72 defeated Dandenong Rangers 42

The league-leaders pulled no punches on their way to the big dance, recording a dominant second half at 42-18. Eltham held better on the defensive end, keeping the Rangers below 10 in the second and third terms, while Kristian Ferronato stepped up in offense. The Vic Metro representative led his side with 22, moving his way to twelfth for points per game (PPG) as Anton Stratov and Zahn Agosta follow with 12 and 10 points respectively. Dandenong’s Nyareth Mayoum rounds out his season with a team-high 11 points in the absence of team scoring leader, Beau Tranter (14.5 PPG), followed by Jerome Pierre with eight and Arian Berisha and Dennis Ameti on seven apiece. Pierre finishes his season just below Tranter in tenth (14 PPG).

Bulleen Boomers 55 defeated by Waverley Falcons 61

In a tighter affair, the Waverley Falcons progress to a Grand Final over the second-place, Bulleen Boomers, with a 55-61 win at State Basketball Centre. Waverley secure their chance at a title and redemption as they come up against their qualifying rivals in the championship game. In the contest, Bulleen controlled the first term, recording a 19-12 opener. Though Waverley rebounded well in the second to record a game-high 20-point (15) term, before taking control of the remainder of the game with consecutive winning terms. David Amum managed 15 points for the Falcons, taking himself to sixth for PPG (15.5), while Matt Jefferson (14) and Tesloch Thong (10) both provided support in offense. Jefferson’s performance moves him one spot past Thong (11.4 PPG) into fourteenth (12.1). For the Boomers, Marcel Haj (14) and Daniel Poelsma (13) put up respectable ends to their seasons – finishing at fourth (16.3) and seventh (15.1) for PPG.

In the Championship Division next week, the Waverley Falcons get their shot to make amends in the Grand Final against the Eltham Wildcats, who bested them in the qualifiers, while Bulleen and Dandenong bring their seasons to a close with 15 and 10 wins respectively.

MUVJBL U16 Boys VC preview: Preliminary finals

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys Championship Division tips off the Preliminary finals this week, with Eltham Wildcats going head-to-head against Dandenong Rangers, and Bulleen Boomers facing the Waverley Falcons.

Eltham Wildcats (1st, 15-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (6th, 10-7-1)

The first preliminary pits the Eltham Wildcats against the Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum Stadium with the Rangers facing their biggest challenge yet after picking up wins over Knox (61-54) and Keilor (56-51). The Rangers came through in the last term against the Thunder, stretching their one-point lead to four on their way into this week. In the week prior, the Wildcats proved better over Waverley (79-69) to enjoy some time off during the Semi-finals. Eltham will rely heavily on Kristian Ferronato to maintain his efforts at the board – leading his side with 12 points per game (PPG) from eight outings, while Bradley Moorey trails with 11.1 PPG from nine. In last fortnight’s clash, the pair led their side with 18 and 15 points respectively, with Harrison Stones also impressing in the paint (13). Jerome Pierre and Beau Tranter have both had solid years for Dandenong. Currently, the pair sit ninth and tenth for PPG with 14.6 and 14.5 PPG respectively. Last week, Tranter carried his team into a preliminary final with 18 points, following on from his 21 points the week prior.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 15-3) vs Waverley Falcons (4th, 12-6)

For the last spot in the Grand Final, the Bulleen Boomers go head-to-head with the Waverley Falcons. Last week, the Falcons revived their finals chances following a 71-65 win over Geelong. Both sides shot consistently for four terms, with Waverley’s biggest lead coming in the final term. Comparatively, Bulleen earned their spot in the preliminaries with one of the largest margins seen in the MUVJBL this year, defeating Keilor 90-40 with six players recording double digits in the win. Will Rimmington (17), Daniel Johnston (16), Marcel Haj (10) and Copper Ferdinando (10) all stepped up in Bulleen’s big win last fortnight, while Daniel Poelsma led from the front with 22 points – carrying him to seventh for PPG with Haj above in fourth.The Falcons currently boast four players in the top 20 for PPG with David Amum (15.5), Matt Jefferson (11.9), Tesloch Thong (11.5) and Nemuel Soliven all placing. Last week, Soliven led the Falcons with 17 points, followed next by Jefferson (14) and Amum (12), and will look to do the same this week against an in-form line-up.

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 review: Round 9 – Eltham makes it six in a row

THE Eltham Wildcats displayed genuine dominance in Round 9 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-16 Boys competition after thumping the Knox Raiders (66-30), earning top-spot and their sixth consecutive win. The Raiders’ poor scoring capacity had the visitors trailing by 20 points at the main break (37-17). In the third, they recorded their best score as Eltham extended their lead to five, before dipping to just one point in the closer (12-1). Bradley Moorey and Harrison Stones were standouts for Eltham, recording 16 and 12 points respectively. Across the league, Moorey’s efforts lift him to twentieth spot for points per game (PPG) with 10.6. Lachlan Heron was the only Knox player to hit double-digits with 10 points, followed next by Zachary Greeves on eight. Though despite a poor result the Raiders will still play finals, finishing in seventh place for the regular season.

Bulleen Boomers’ record at home (8-1-0) remains near perfect as they closed out the season with a 77-49 win over the Bendigo Braves. The result marks their fifth consecutive win, equalling their 15-3 record with Eltham in second-place. Remarkably, Bulleen finish with most points scored throughout the Championship Division, while top-end rivals, Eltham, finish with the least points conceded. Their effort against The Braves showed their incredible capacity to score, recording 17, 19, 19 and 22 across each term. Marcel Haj was at his usual best, hitting 17 points, alongside Will Rimmington‘s 14. Haj goes on to finish fourth in the league for PPG, with 17.2 from nine outings. For the Braves, Edward Hayes held strong to score 13 points, while Macey Eaton‘s five points keeps him in touch with the top 20.

In the most stunning result to record in the lead-up to finals, the Dandenong Rangers managed a 43-43 tie against the third-placed, Keilor Thunder. Of their last four games, both teams have won a single game each, both against the Latrobe Energy in ninth place. In the match-up, Keilor owned the first half, recording 12-8 in both terms. The Thunder’s eight-point lead shortened to six in the third as the Rangers hit back with 12-10, before slipping even further with a 15-9 closer. For Dandenong, Beau Tranter was standout, recording 15 points to finish eleventh across the league, while Jerome Pierre hit eight to close out the top-five. For Keilor, Cooper Colson was dominant on the floor recording 23 points, beside Nikolas Ellul‘s 10. Colson’s efforts place him in tenth at the season’s end.

The tightest match-up of the round pitted the Waverley Falcons against the Geelong Supercats, with the Falcons getting the better at home with a 66-58 victory. With their second win in a fortnight and a dominant 8-1-0 away record, Waverley’s second chance for finals seems better placed without a home fixture. In the contest, both teams came out strong (20-18). While numbers dipped in the second, Geelong kept the margin to four at the break. In the third, Waverley conceded their first (13-15), but struck back hard in the fourth (19-13) to close out the win. David Amum and Matt Jefferson were pivotal for the Falcons, recording 16 and 13 points respectively. Amum finishes the league in sixth with 15.7 PPG, while Geelong’s Olivier Northam finishes in second with an 18-point performance. Jet Kneebone also impressed with 14.

Unfortunately, the result between the Latrobe Energy and Pakenham Warriors bared no weighting for finals, with Latrobe’s 73-65 win still keeping them one out of the eight. In the contest, Latrobe led by a point at the main break (31-32) after fair scoring from both ends. They recorded a game-high 29 points in the third, before falling to an 18-12 margin and subsequent victory. Coby Burgiel finishes the league on top with a 30-point domination, followed close by Kody Tibballs with 25, moving to eighth. For Pakenham, Drue Maher finished his season right with a team-high 24 points, while Lachlan Smith and Zachary McLean followed next with 11 each.

In the Reserve Grade, the Diamond Valley Eagles earned a 60-52 win over Melbourne Tigers, Kilsyth Cobras clinched a 74-71 win over the Sunbury Jets, and Eltham Wildcats lost 48-79 against Hawthorn Magic. The regular season ended with the Southern Peninsula Sharks losing 53-78 against the Nunawading Spectres, and the Whittlesea Pacers beating the Casey Cavaliers (68-60).

In the Championship Division, the elimination finals kick off with the Geelong Supercats hosting the Bendigo Braves, and the Dandenong Rangers hosting the Knox Raiders. The qualifying finals follow soon after with the Eltham Wildcats hosting the Waverley Falcons, and the Bulleen Boomers hosting Keilor Thunder.

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.