Tag: paul tsapatolis

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Preliminary Finals – Giddey spurs Melbourne into final four

A JOSH Giddey inspired Melbourne side sent Dandenong Rangers out in straight sets of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division, while the Bulleen Boomers also advanced to the Preliminary Finals after knocking off Keilor Thunder in a comfortable win.

Bulleen Boomers 72 defeated Keilor Thunder 42

Bulleen Boomers have advanced through to the preliminary finals with the chance to face top-of-the-table Kilsyth Cobras after a dominant 30-point win over Keilor Thunder. The Boomers raced away to an 11-point lead at quarter time and extended that to 16 by the main break. They did not let up throughout with a dominant 38-24 second half to run away with the match, 72-42. They shared the points around with all eight players getting court time and hitting the scoreboard, lead by Owen Foxwell (20 points). Otto Mananov (14) and Thomas Giannatos (11) were also prominent, while Anthony Dell’Orso and Oscar Hyde both sank nine apiece. For the Thunder, Paul Tsapatolis was a lone hand on the scoring end, shooting 24 of his side’s 42 points, with the next highest being Jeffrey Ofoedu and Derhyse Matautia with four points apiece.

Dandenong Rangers 65 defeated by Melbourne Tigers 75

In the closer of the two semi-finals, a dominant first half by Melbourne set them up for a strong 10-point win. The Tigers opened the game with a 24-16 first term, then extended the margin out to 15 by the main break. Dandenong hit back after half-time with 13 points to eight and cut it back to 10, but could not make further inroads into the deficit in the last stanza, losing 65-75. Giddey posted a game-high 27 points, teaming well with Patrick Twigg who delivered 22 of his own. Ezrah Vaigafa and Jordan Adams were also strong contributors, dropping eight points each. For the Rangers, they had three key scorers as Harrison Bowater (18 points), Leyi Adebayo (14) and Mason Perry (10) were all in double-figure points. Zac Taylor (nine points) and Joshua Heywood (eight) were also productive despite the narrow loss.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Semi-finals

THE Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys kicks off the Semi-Finals this week with the Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres advancing to the preliminaries. The Dandenong Rangers face off against the Melbourne Tigers, as the Bulleen Boomers come up against the Keilor Thunder, with only two teams advancing into next week.

Dandenong Rangers (4th, 12-4-2) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 10-7-1)

The first Semi-Final pits the Dandenong Rangers against the Melbourne Tigers. Last week, the Rangers fell short against the league’s best Kilsyth Cobras (78-53) after conceding two terms of more than 20 points. Melbourne proved better in Hawthorn, defeating Diamond Valley 66-53 to escape elimination. Though Melbourne’s previous experience with Dandenong did not fall their way – conceding 47-71 in June. Harrison Bowater remains a consistent threat for the Rangers – averaging 12.7 points per game (PPG) from 10 outings – including 13 points in last week’s clash and in his previous meeting with Melbourne. Despite underperforming last week, Jyelin Moli (11.1 PPG) also remains impressive. For Melbourne, Jordan Adams (15), Patrick Twigg (14), Lyzel Mataika (12) and Joshua Giddey (12) should all look to back-up last week’s performance. Currently, Giddey ranks twelfth in the league for PPG (13.5), despite playing just his second game last week.

Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 12-4-2) vs Keilor Thunder (7th, 9-9)

The Bulleen Boomers and Keilor Thunder go head to head in the second semi-final in Eltham High. Despite losing their match-up to Nunawading (50-46), Bulleen had a lot to like in Hawthorn. They managed to restore against a first-quarter thrashing to even up the scores at half-time. Keilor also impressed last week to record the highest score of the round (62-81). For Bulleen, Anthony Dell’Orso (15.4 PPG) has been a consistent force – recording 10 points in last week’s loss. Owen Foxwell recorded 12 points last week and also boasts fair consistency, averaging 14.1 PPG. FIBA Under-17 Oceania Championship representative, Paul Tsapatolis, returned in dominant fashion last week to record a league-high 38 points. Tsapatolis quickly jumped to top spot for PPG, and currently sits the only player in the top 20. Tonga Matapule Otutaha also threatens, having scored 14 points in the finals’ precursor.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Qualifying and Elimination Finals – Tsapatolis returns for Keilor

WEEK one of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division kicked off with the Kilsyth Cobras defeating Dandenong Rangers in the first qualifying final. In the match-up, the Cobras took a 39-27 lead into the main break after dropping a game-high 27 points in the opener. They followed with 22-15 and 17-11 terms in the second half, finishing 25-point victors. Kilsyth’s Lachlan Vandervorm led from the front with 19 points, followed next by Josh Duach on 16 and Ned Dillon on 10. Duach’s game moves him to eleventh spot for points per game (PPG). Harrison Bowater and Joshua Heywood were Dandenong’s most dominant utilities, controlling the floor to rack up 13 points each in the loss. Despite the result, Bowater remains one of the league’s most consistent shooters, moving to eighth spot for overall points.

The second qualifying final placed the Nunawading Spectres against Bulleen Boomers, which saw the Spectres walk away four-point victors. The 50-46 contest in Hawthorn was an undeniable thriller with countless momentum swings. The Spectres set the standard in the first at 20-8, leaving the Boomers to respond (3-15), tying the scores up at the main break (23-23). Despite keeping close, Nunawading led the remainder of the game. Dihan Wigget recorded a team-high 13 points, with Curtis Brecko following close on 11 and top-five scorer, James Roche, maintaining form with 10. For Bulleen, Owen Foxwellimpressed on both ends, amassing 12 points to move into the league’s top 10 for PPG, while Anthony Dell’Orso closes out in sixth with 10 points of his own.

The Melbourne Tigers earned their first win in the final series after eliminating the Diamond Valley Eagles with a 66-53 showing in Hawthorn. The Tigers’ efforts in the first half shut the contest down by the main break (38-25). Their lead extended three more points into three quarter-time, before easing off to concede the last. Jordan Adams backed up last week’s performance to lead his side with another 15 points. Patrick Twigg followed next with 14, while Lyzel Mataika and Joshua Giddey round out with 12 points each. Giddey’s efforts place him in twelfth for PPG in just his second game of the year. For Diamond Valley, Ethan Bateman led the game with 17 points – accompanied well by Matt Marasco with 10.

The last Elimination Final saw Keilor Thunder get the better of Bendigo Braves (81-62). Keilor started poor in the match-up, but built momentum in the second. For the remaining three terms Keilor recorded over 20 points in each quarter. Bendigo did well to maintain their efforts from the first, but failed on the defensive end, losing their opportunity for semi-finals. Paul Tsapatolis‘s return to Keilor could have revived their chances at finals. After missing five games in the regular season, Tsapatolis returned to drop a round-high 38 points – taking him to first for PPG (23.4). No other player recorded over 10 for Keilor, with Jeffrey Ofoedu following with eight. For Bendigo, Caleb Connick impressed with 19 points, but could not match Tsapatolis in offense – slipping from the top two. Isaac Murphy also played well, finishing his season with 14 points.

In the Reserve grade, the Casey Cavaliers record a 65-60 win over the Waverley Falcons, the Ballarat Rush defeat the Eltham Wildcats (63-46), the Collingwood All-Stars best the Hawthorn Magic (60-57), and the Knox Raiders win 67-48 over the Dandenong Rangers. The Championship Division kicks off the semi-finals next week with the Dandenong Rangers facing the Melbourne Tigers, and the Bulleen Boomers facing the Keilor Thunder for a spot against Kilsyth and Nunawading in the Preliminary Finals.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 9

THE regular season reaches a close in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division with each side fighting for the best possible position in the lead up to finals.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 13-1-3) vs Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 13-4)

The finals preview between Kilsyth Cobras and Nunawading Spectres has a lot on the line for both sides. Kilsyth currently holds top spot, boasting a second chance and home final in the coming weeks. Nunawading has cemented their second-chance spot, sitting two wins ahead of Dandenong (fourth) in third. The Spectres will be determined to get up in this contest as they look to catch one of the two home-final spots still up for grabs. Though with their success on the road (8-1-0), a home final might not be the advantage they hope for. Comparatively, Kilsyth boast an unbeaten record in front of the home crowd, which, interestingly, will be tested against the competition’s best away record. Josh Duach will look to get up for the Cobras, having averaged 14.1 points per game (PPG) for the season. Similarly, league-scoring leader, James Roche, will be expected to maintain his dominant form for the Spectres.

Melbourne Tigers (6th, 10-7) vs Werribee Devils (13th, 8-9)

Sitting one spot out from the finals, the Werribee Devils will be looking to lift when they travel to MSAC to face the Melbourne Tigers on Friday. Over the last month Werribee’s record has been less than ideal, losing three of their last four games. Comparatively, the Tigers have won two of their last four, which includes a 29-point thrashing against Bulleen last week. Mathematically, a second-chance opportunity is still available for Melbourne as they sit just one win below the fourth-placed, Dandenong Rangers. Over the last fortnight, Jordan Adams and Patrick Twigg have been standouts for Melbourne. Adams’ ability was made known in their clash with Bulleen, scoring 18 points, while Twigg led with 12 in their win over Keilor. For Werribee, Darrien Herbert emerged last week with 15 points, while Makur Jongkuch dominated in their tight clash with Nunawading. Sitting sixth and seventh for PPG, big things will be expected for this pair.

Dandenong Rangers (4th,11-4-2) vs Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-10)

Dandenong will look to stay in touch with the top-four when they face the Korumburra Wildcats. Currently, the Wildcats sit at the bottom of the table but are still a chance to make finals if a few results fall their way. Dandenong sit ineligible for a top-two spot but continue to have their spot threatened with Melbourne just one win behind. Last week, they suffered a critical one-point loss to Nunawading, while Korumburra fell short against bottom-end rivals, Diamond Valley (73-65). In this week’s match-up, Harrison Bowater and Riley Simmons will be expected to fire for the Rangers, having averaged 12.5 and 10.9 PPG. The pair will be up against equal-best league scorer, Keith Robinson. Robinson dropped 28 points in Korumburra’s loss to Diamond Valley, moving his average to 20 PPG. Luis D’Angelo is also expected to fire for the Wildcats, sitting thirteenth with 13.1 PPG.

Keilor Thunder (10th, 9-8) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (12th, 8-9)

Diamond Valley Eagles head to Keilor Park this week where they hope to cement their finals spot with a win over the Thunder. Both teams recorded wins against bottom-end sides last week, with Keilor getting the better of Werribee and Diamond Valley defeating Korumburra. The stakes ramp up for both sides this week, with the threat of missing finals a reality for both. Jeffrey Ofoedu (17) and Tonga Matapule Otutaha (16) were big in Keilor’s win last week, while Paul Tsapatolis continues to lead in PPG (19.8) after dropping 22 points in Round 7. For Diamond Valley, Ethan Bateman has been standout with 11.5 PPG in 17th for league average. Ryan Hoffman and Joseph Brazier will also look to maintain form from last week, having drop 17 points each in their win over Korumburra.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 12-3-2) vs Bendigo Braves (11th, 8-8-1)

With the top-two still presenting for three teams, the Bulleen Boomers should look to cement their second spot with a comfortable win over the Bendigo Braves. The Boomers currently hold at two consecutive wins with one of the better percentages in the game. Over the last fortnight, they earned victories against Melbourne (41-70) and Korumburra (72-62), while Bendigo fell consecutively against two other top four sides in Dandenong (80-60) and Kilsyth (70-55). A loss for Bendigo may mean missing finals, with two teams below also on eight wins, and one below them on seven. Anthony Dell’Orso continues to be Bulleen’s greatest scoring threat, having recorded 18 points in last week’s clash to move to fifth across the league. Owen Foxwell also remains a threat with 13.4 PPG, while Bendigo’s equal-first league-scorer, Caleb Connick, looks to close out the league on top with 20 PPG.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 8

A TOP three clash headlines Round 8 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division with the bottom four sides battling for the last two spots in the eight.

Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 11-3-2) vs. Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 12-4)

The match of the round pits third placed Dandenong Rangers against second placed Nunawading Spectres in what could eventuate into a battle for a home final. The teams are on the same amount of points, with the Spectres having one extra win, but one extra loss as well compared to the Rangers’ two draws. The Rangers have only lost one game at home and the Spectres are seven from eight on the road, so it makes for an enticing contest. Harrison Bowater (13.1 points per game) and Riley Simmons (12.1) have been crucial for the Rangers this season and could form a damaging duo, while Nunawading’s James Roche (19.7) will be a danger to watch, as will his teammate Curtis Brecko (11.1). The winner all but takes second spot if they do not stumble in the final round before finals.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 12-1-3) vs. Bendigo Braves (10th, 8-7-1)

Top-of-the-table Kilsyth Cobras should not have any problems against Bendigo with an unbeaten run at home from seven games against a Braves outfit that is just two from seven on the road. The Braves are actually sixth on the table when it comes to Championship Division finals, but are still only three points clear of the division cellar dwellers in Korumburra. If they can cause an upset they are guaranteed finals, but a loss and the sides below them move a step closer, though they would need to lose both remaining matches to drop out. As for the Cobras, they could drop to third mathematically with two losses, but will likely secure the minor premiership this round with a superior percentage to all bar Dandenong. Josh Duach (14.1 points per game) and David Okwera (12.2) have been the key scorers, going up against overall division leading scorer Caleb Connick (20.0), who would love to see Dyson Daniels (15.0) return with the young star missing due to National Basketball League (NBL)1 and national representative commitments.

Diamond Valley Eagles (13th, 7-9) vs. Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-9)

The bottom two sides clash in what is effectively the last chance saloon for one of the sides to make finals. The loser will be out of the finals race, while the winner will leap frog the loser of the Keilor Thunder-Werribee Devils game and put themselves into the top eight sides. The Eagles are just three from seven at home, while the Wildcats are not any better on the road, with two from seven. What works in the Wildcats’ favour is the fact that the Eagles are yet to win since the post-grade split, dropping seven consecutive games after heading into the new grade as 7-2. Korumburra’s Keith Robinson has been a source of points, averaging 18.7 points per game, teaming well with Brodie Mabilia (12.6) and Luis D’Angelo (12.2), while Diamond Valley looks to Ethan Bateman who is leading the side with 12.1 per game.

Keilor Thunder (12th, 8-8) vs. Werribee Devils (11th, 8-8)

Sitting seventh and eighth in the division, it goes without saying a win in this game is crucial. The winner is set to play finals, while the loser will drop outside the top eight meaning their finals hopes will then rely on favourable results in the last round. Keilor has dropped its past five games and are just three from eight at home, while Werribee has not won for a few rounds now and sit with three wins from seven games on the road. Neither side has a great percentage, both well below the two teams chasing them, meaning a loss here would all but end finals chances. Paul Tsapatolis was a welcome return for Keilor in Round 7 averaging the second most points of any player with 19.8 points per game this season, while Werribee relies on two key shooters in Darrien Herbert and Makur Jongkuch who have the identical output of 15.0 points per game.

Melbourne Tigers (5th, 10-6) vs. Bulleen Boomers (4th, 11-3-2)

The other game set to create interest is the fourth and fifth clash at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC). A win for Melbourne will draw them within two points and give the Tigers hope they can snatch fourth spot with a win in the final round, but any other result assures the Boomers of a double chance. The Tigers are safe from Bendigo overtaking them unless they lose twice and the Braves win both remaining games. Melbourne has an even spread of scorers with Ezrah Vaigafa, Lyzel Mataika and Patrick Twigg combining for an average of 31 points per game. The Boomers have a number of high volume scorers with Anthony Dell’Orso (17.3 points per game), Owen Foxwell (14.1) and Nicholas Woodall (12.3) all key players.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Round 7 – Top 5 grab wins

THE top five teams were able to gain some separation from the bottom five sides in Round 7 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys competition with the dominant sides all getting wins over their lower ranked opponents three weeks out from finals. The bottom five teams are just one win apart from sixth to tenth, as three sides look to round out the top eight finals spots.

The closest game of the round was Nunawading Spectres’ six-point victory over Werribee Devils. The second placed Spectres maintained their top two ranking and extended their record on the road to eight wins from nine encounters. They led by just one point at the main break, but gained some separation in the second half, scoring 29 points to 24. James Roche was important with 24 points himself, while Luke Spurling (10) was a key contributor in the win. For the Devils, it was Makur Jongkuch who was everywhere sinking 27 points, while teammate Darrien Herbert managed 10 in the loss.

The top-of-the-table Kilsyth Cobras maintained their advantage with an eight-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles. They found themselves seven points down at the main break, but piled on 42 points to 27 in the second half to run over the top of the Eagles, 66-58. Roosevelt Williams stood out with 22 points, well aided by 16 from David Okwera, while Josh Duach (nine) was also impressive. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman finished with 15 points, while Ryan Hoffman slotted 11.

Fifth placed Melbourne Tigers kept touch with the top four courtesy of an eight-point win over Keilor Thunder. The Tigers raced out to an 18-11 opening term advantage, but the Thunder reeled them in to trail by a point at half-time. The Tigers regained control in the second half to post 30 points to 23 in the 56-48 victory. Keilor’s Paul Tsapatolis sank 22 points to be the standout scorer despite the loss, while Tonga Matapule Otutaha was next best with 10. Melbourne shared its points around with Patrick Twigg (12 points), Tom Koppens (11), Ezrah Vaigafa (10) and Lyzel Mataika (nine) all having plenty of impact on the court.

Fourth placed Bulleen Boomers took control in the first half against Korumburra Wildcats to set up an impressive 10-point victory. The Boomers held a 16-point lead at the main break and extended that to 18 by the last chance. The Wildcats hit back in the final stanza but could not recover from the heavy deficit, going down 62-72. Anthony Dell’Orso sank 21 points for the Boomers, one of a trio of stars who went big as Owen Foxwell and Nicholas Woodall both delivered 15 points. For Korumburra, Keith Robinson scored 18 points, while Luis D’Angelo and Brodie Mabilia helped themselves to 13 apiece.

The biggest win of the round went to Dandenong Rangers who toppled Bendigo Braves by 20 points, The Rangers showed no mercy in the first half, racing away to 22 points and while it was much closer in the second half, the damage was done. Harrison Bowater scored a game-high 26 points, as Jyelin Moli (15), Riley Simmons (10) and Mason Perry (10) all reached double figures. Contrastingly, Caleb Connick was a lone scoring machine with 20 points for the Braves as the sole scorer to reach double figures in the loss.

In the Reserve grade, Ballarat Magic and Eltham Wildcats continued their dominance in the grade, picking up wins over Geelong Supercats and Waverley Falcons respectively to make it six and four wins on the trot. In other results, Hawthorn Magic defeated Geelong Supercats by 10 points, Collingwood All Stars downed Knox Raiders in a two-point thriller, while Dandenong Rangers 2 piled on more pain for Ringwood Hawks with 63-56, making it eight consecutive defeats for the Hawks.

Next week, Dandenong hosts Nunawading and Melbourne plays Bulleen in a couple of matches that will shape the order of the top eight, while Kilsyth will look to go further on top with a home match against Bendigo. In the other two games, finals hopes are on the line when Korumburra travels to Diamond Valley and Werribee meets Keilor.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 7

WITH the regular season nearly reaching a close, Round 7 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division hopes to be a percentage booster for a few of the top-eight. As the fixture stands, no two teams will face within the top eight this round – with seven positions or over separating each match-up. Bulleen’s contest with Korumburra will be an important contest for the home-side, with the Boomers recording consecutive ties over the last fortnight. Also, with back-to-back wins in the last two rounds, the Braves will look to make it three in a row against the Rangers as they attempt to crack into the eight.

Bulleen Boomers (4th, 10-3-2) vs Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 7-8)

After recording consecutive draws over the last fortnight, the Boomers look to hold their top-four spot this week as they face the Korumburra Wildcats at home. In their last two outings, the Boomers hosted Dandenong (56-56) and Kilsyth (63-63), who sit first and third. Despite the results, the Boomers remain undefeated at home, and should remain as such when the Wildcats visit. Despite impressive at the season’s open, the Wildcats have only won two of their six outings. They put Keilor away early last week with a 32-15 first half, riding home comfortably to a 65-50 win. This week they face a few of the league’s top scorers in Anthony Dell’Orso and Owen Foxwell – who average 16.7 and 14 points per game (PPG) in fifth and eleventh for league-average. Korumburra boast Keith Robinson in fourth spot, averaging 18.8 PPG from five outings – followed next by Brodie Mabilia on 12.5.

Dandenong Rangers (3rd, 10-3-2) vs Bendigo Braves (10th, 8-6-1)

With a top eight spot in jeopardy, Bendigo Braves need to take a big scalp in Dandenong Rangers this week if they hope to play finals. On the road, the Braves have been disappointing (2-4-0), and despite two consecutive wins on the board, are yet to prove they can handle travelling. Last week, the Rangers were the only winning team within the top-four, taking consecutive draws in the rounds prior. Werribee copped a belting in Dandenong’s return to form last week (49-93), with the Braves likely to suffer similarly with the top-two up for grabs. Riley Simmons and Zac Taylor continued their form last week with 13 and 20 points respectively. Currently, Simmons averages 12.2 PPG in 14th across the league, while Taylor follows in seventeenth with 11.8. The Braves have league-leader, Caleb Connick, at the helm – averaging 20 PPG with 20 points in last week’s win.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 11-1-3) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (13th, 7-8)

This week Kilsyth Cobras boast the easiest fixture as they come up against a struggling Diamond Valley Eagles at home. Since losing last week’s match-up to Bendigo, the Eagles hold at six consecutive losses in the Championship Division. Their record looks set to worsen when they face the undefeated Cobras at home this week. Last week, the Cobras recorded their first non-winning result in the new division after drawing 63-63 with the Boomers. With the competition pressing, an easy fixture is all they need to reassert their position. David Okwera emerged in Kilsyth’s clash last week with 17 points, as Josh Duach retained form with 12 of his own. Duach places sixth for average points (15), while Okwera makes his way to eighteenth with 11.4. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman has been impressive – averaging 11.7 PPG in twelfth. Joseph Brazier impressed in their loss last week with a team-high 11 points.

Werribee Devils (11th, 8-7) vs Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 11-4)

The Werribee Devils face the Nunawading Spectres at home this week as the Spectres make a play for top-spot. After recording a rare 57-60 loss last week against the Melbourne Tigers, the Spectres will look to show off a dominant away record when they travel to Werribee. The Devils copped a flogging against a resurging Dandenong Rangers at home last week, and will not want to concede consecutive beltings. Last week, James Roche held strong for the Spectres with 16 points – followed next by Curtis Brecko with 11. The pair rank second and eleventh for average points and face strong competition in Darrien Herbert (4th) and Makur Jongkuch (8th). Herbert held strong in last week’s loss, recording 14 points – Jongkuch following on seven.

Keilor Thunder (12th, 8-7) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 9-6)

Despite the discrepancy in positions, only one win separates the Keilor Thunder and Melbourne Tigers. This week the Thunder host the Tigers, with a lot riding on both sides’ hopes for finals. The Thunder currently hold four consecutive losses on the board and have conceded 912 points to 850. Last week, the Wildcats defeated them 65-50, and the week prior they lost 81-50 against the Spectres. Comparatively, the Tigers are coming off an impressive win against the Spectres and remained more competitive than most in their loss to the Kilsyth Cobras (62-50). The Thunder missed their top three league scorer in Paul Tssapatolis (19 PPG) of late, but boasted solid performances from Aleksander Bandilovski (11) and Tonga Matapule Otutaha (11). Comparatively, Melbourne are still without a top 20 scorer. Though last week had impressive performances from both Patrick Twigg (14) and Lyzel Mataika (12).

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 6

ROUND 6 of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division kicks off on Friday night across Victoria with a few contests likely to go either way. As the Werribee Devils continue to build off the break, they look to make it three in a row when they face the Dandenong Rangers at home. The Nunawading Spectres also boast a similar affair against the Melbourne Tigers, with the match of round looking to be between the Bulleen Boomers and Kilsyth Cobras in a grapple for top spot.

Bulleen Boomers (3rd, 10-3-1) vs Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 11-1-2)

In recent weeks, the Kilsyth Cobras have been tested. Before returning to the winner’s list last week following their victory over the Melbourne Tigers, the Cobras copped their second draw against a formidable, Dandenong Rangers. This week the Cobras face another top four side in the Bulleen Boomers, who have also suffered a draw against the Rangers in recent weeks. Prior to last round, Bulleen enjoyed four consecutive wins in the Championship Division – taking notable victories from Nunawading and Keilor. With Anthony Dell’Orso and Owen Foxwell averaging 16.4 and 14.4 points per game (PPG) respectively; in fifth and eleventh for league scoring from five outings, the Cobras could struggle to match. Josh Duach (15.6 PPG) has been in top form for Kilsyth over the recent months but lacks a consistent partnership similar to Bulleen. Regardless, David Okwera (10) and Roosevelt Williams (nine) continue to be huge assets for the Cobras, with Okwera dropping a game-high 25 points in last week’s win over Melbourne. If Okwera can get up again, it will be interesting to see which duo prevails.

Nunawading Spectres (2nd, 11-3) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 8-6)

With the Nunawading Spectres on the climb, the Melbourne Tigers face a serious challenge this Friday as they hope to get back a win on the road. Last week the Tigers fell to a rebounding Kilsyth, dropping them into dangerous territory on the table (fifth) with three teams equaling their current record. Prior to their loss, the Tigers looked to be building, earning a 32-point win over Diamond Valley before returning from the break to defeat Bendigo at home. Currently, they sit a 2-3 in the Championship Division, compared to Nunawading’s 4-1. Though like Melbourne, the Spectres are yet to knock-off a major contender, losing their biggest match-up this year against the Boomers. This game will be a test for both sides, who have been fortunate not to contend with many top-five teams since the division separated. All eyes should be on James Roche as he pushes for the number one spot for league scoring. Currently, he averages 19.6 PPG from five games, assisted well by Curtis Brecko (12.2) who also sits in the top 20. Melbourne’s, Ezrah Vaigafa rounds out 20th spot in the league, averaging 11 PPG in front of Jordan Adams (10.6) and Lyzel Mataika (10.4) who hold 21st and 22nd respectively.

Werribee Devils (7th, 8-6) vs Dandenong Rangers (4th, 9-3-2)

Making the long trip to Werribee for Friday’s clash, the Dandenong Rangers hope to end their two-game draw streak against an in-form Devils outfit. After facing Bulleen and Kilsyth in recent weeks, the Rangers should revel to face an opponent outside the top-four. The Devils have managed consecutive five-point victories in the last fortnight but have not fared as well against top-end sides such as Bulleen (70-58) and Kilsyth (45-71). With that in mind, the Rangers should put their weak fortnight behind them with a win on the road. So far, Riley Simmons leads scoring for the Rangers with a 12-point average from five appearances. He’s followed close by Harrison Bowater with 11PPG – rounding out the top 20 in nineteenth. For the Devils, Darrien Herbert has been immense with his 16.2-point average placing him in sixth overall for the league. Makur Jongkuch has accompanied him well with 14.2 – sitting 12th across the league. In this match-up, Werribee look a lot more dangerous on the board but lack Dandenong’s two-way game.

Bendigo Braves (13th, 7-6-1) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (11th, 7-7)

The Diamond Valley Eagles hope to finally join the winner’s list when they face the Bendigo Braves on the road this Friday. Since joining the Championship Division the Eagles have recorded five consecutive losses – despite joining the competition at 7-2. The Braves have so far collected 2-3 from their time in the new division, earning their second last week against Korumburra. Currently, the Braves hold a fair 5-2-1 record at home – impressive given their position on the table. The Braves also boast the top league scorer in Caleb Connick who averages 20PPG, and Dyson Daniels who has been in good form in ninth spot with 15 PPG. Comparatively, Diamond Valley only average one player in the top 20 with Ethan Bateman averaging 12 PPG in fourteenth spot, while Matt Marasco and Erik Kafritsas follow next with 8 and 7.8 points respectively.

Korumburra Wildcats (14th, 6-8) vs Keilor Thunder (8th, 8-6)

In one of the most interesting match-ups of the round, the Korumburra Wildcats and Keilor Thunder both risk suffering four consecutive losses when they face on Friday. In recent weeks, the Thunder have fell to three top four sides in Nunawading, Bulleen and Dandenong. Comparatively, Korumburra have suffered losses to Bendigo and Werribee after falling by 35 points in a loss to Kilsyth before the break. The Thunder sit only one win below fourth, while the Wildcats could press for the top eight in the coming rounds. Paul Tsapatolis has been in good form for the Thunder, sitting third for league scoring with 19 PPG. Unfortunately for Keilor, Daelon Ateru is Keilor’s next best scorer on eight. For the Wildcats, Keith Robinson leads scoring with 18.8 PPG, one spot behind Tsapatolis in fourth. Unlike Keilor, Robinson has great support with Luis D’Angelo and Brodie Mabilia averaging 11.8 and 11.6 PPG respectively.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC review: Round 5 – Dandenong tie two weeks in a row

DANDENONG Rangers picked up their second consecutive draw in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys Championship Division with a 56-56 result against Bulleen Boomers. The Rangers dropped to fourth after recording five consecutive wins prior to the break. Comparatively, the Boomers returned well before this week, recording consecutive wins. The tie puts them in third with Nunawading and Kilsyth moving to 11 wins in the top-two to finish the round. In the match-up, the Rangers opened with a four-point advantage in the first, forcing Boomers to work back into the contest for the rest of the game. Anthony Dell’Orso led scoring for the Boomers with 22 points, moving to fifth for league scoring for his fifth game. Thomas Giannatos and Isaiah Harvey were also impressive, scoring eight points each for the home side. For the Rangers, Marcus Winghager emerged with 17 points, followed next by Mason Perry who dropped 10 points in the draw.

In dominant fashion, Nunawading Spectres moved to second spot with a huge 81-50 win over Keilor Thunder at home. The win marks three consecutive for the home side as Keilor slipped to eighth place with their third loss in a row. Spectres opened well, outscoring their visitors 23-9 in the first and 22-7 in the second. The Thunder resurged in the third, lifting their game to 19 to 23 points before tying 15-15 in the final term. For the Spectres, James Roche was immense, leading the game with 23 points to move into second for league scoring. Max Vandersteen followed next on 12 – Dihan Wiggett with 11. For Keilor, Derhyse Matautia and Daelon Eteru led scoring with 12 points each – still without their highest scorer (and third highest average overall in the league), Paul Tsapatolis (19 PPG).

Kilsyth Cobras retained top-spot with a 62-50 win over Melbourne Tigers at home. The Cobras remain undefeated at home following the result as the in-form Melbourne Tigers slip to fifth with their fourth loss on the road. The Tigers held a 30-28 lead at the main break, but loss touch in the third with a 12-25 third term. The Cobras moved to unassailable lead in the fourth, closing out the game 9-8. Josh Duach impressed in the victory, moving to seventh spot on the league scoring list with a 20 point performance. Though it was David Okwera who led scoring for the game, amassing to 25 points for the Cobras. For the Tigers, Patrick Twigg led scoring with 13 points, followed next by Justin Bond who had 11 for the game.

Bendigo Braves get a win on the board against a struggling Korumburra Wildcats, beating the visitors by 11 points (75-64). The Braves added to their impressive home record, picking up their fifth win from eight games despite sitting thirteenth on the table. The Wildcats dropped to fourteenth following the result, moving to 2-4 on the road. Caleb Connick moves to top spot for league scoring with a 20-point average, dropping 22 points against the Wildcats. Dyson Daniels and Jordan Michel also impressed, with 15 and 13 points respectively. Korumburra’s, Keith Robinson, moves to fourth spot for league scoring, recording 19 points in the loss. Brodie Mabilia followed with 17 points, with Nick Prowd also impressing on 14.

Werribee Devils snare a tight five-point win over Diamond Valley Eagles with a 58-53 result. The Devils move to seventh spot following the result and pick up their consecutive win since coming back from break. The Eagles remain without a win in the Championship Division, losing five consecutive despite sitting 7-2 at the beginning of the season. In the contest, scoring was slow in the first half with Diamond Valley entering the break with a 19-16 lead. Both sides emerged in the third with the Devils responding with a 20-17 term. Scoring continue into the final term – Werribee finishing 22-17. Darrien Herbert led scoring for the Devils with 27 points, followed next by Makur Jongkuch who had 11. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman led scoring with 12 points. His teammates, Ryan Hoffman and Matt Marasco, followed next with 11 and 10 points respectively.

For the Reserve grade, Casey Cavaliers snared a 78-62 win over Geelong Supercats, Ringwood Hawks fell short against Collingwood All Stars (55-58) and Hawthorn Magic outscored Ballarat Miners (58-39). Closing out the round, Eltham Wildcats defeated Dandenong Rangers on the road (68-73), and Knox Raiders beat Waverley Falcons at home (58-55).

For Round 6, the Bendigo Braves open at home against the Diamond Valley Eagles, the Korumburra Wildcats face the Keilor Thunder at home, and the Bulleen Boomers hope to re-join the winner’s list when face the Kilsyth Cobras in front of the home crowd. The round continues with the Werribee Devils facing the Dandenong Rangers and the Nunwading Spectres versing the Melbourne Tigers at home.

MUVJBL U18 Boys VC preview: Round 5

WITH the table tightening up midway through the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) Under-18 Boys season, it is difficult to pick the game of the round. Three out of five of Round 5’s games will be played between teams exclusively within the top-eight. Bulleen Boomers host Dandenong Rangers, Kilsyth Cobras face Melbourne Tigers and Nunawading Spectres go head-to-head against Keilor Thunder. With the top three tied on 10 wins apiece, the results of this could possibly put a new team atop the table.

Kilsyth Cobras (1st, 10-1-2) vs Melbourne Tigers (5th, 8-5)

Kilsyth Cobras hope to re-join the winners list when they come up against Melbourne Tigers at home this week. Last week, the Cobras picked up their second draw for the season against an in-form, Dandenong Rangers. They remain atop the table but have given Bulleen and Nunawading space to press as they both pick up wins to equalise. Comparatively, the Tigers have weathered an easier fixture in recent weeks, snaring consecutive wins against Diamond Valley and Bendigo to hold in fifth at the end of last round. Back on the road again, it’s unlikely Melbourne’s away record will stand up to the league-leaders. For the Cobras, Josh Duach has been in an impressive form with 14.5 points per game (PPG) – moving into seventh on the league scoring list, while Liam Croney (10.3) sits in eighteenth spot from four games. Jordan Adams has been Melbourne’s biggest asset, averaging 12.3 PPG from four games in the Championship Division, with Lyzel Mataika following close on 11.8.

Bulleen Boomers (2nd, 10-3) vs Dandenong Rangers (4th, 9-3-1)

Like the last, this game also looks difficult to pick, with the Bulleen Boomers hosting Dandenong Rangers at Mullum Mullum. Last week, Dandenong came close to rising in the top-four, but instead tied, ending their five game win streak. As of now, the Boomers hold the greatest streak in the competition with four consecutive in the Championship Division. They are also yet to lose a game at home, boasting a 5-0-0 record. Bulleen should look to utilise their star shooter in Owen Foxwell, who sits fourth for overall league scoring. Anthony Dell’Orso is close behind for the Boomers in sixth, averaging 15 PPG. For Dandenong, Riley Simmons leads scoring with 13.3 PPG, followed close by Harrison Bowater on 12. Mason Perry will also look to back up last week’s 15-point performance for the Rangers, while Otto Mananov’s 12 points was also a feature last week for the Boomers.

Nunawading Spectres (3rd, 10-3) vs Keilor Thunder (6th, 8-5)

Nunawading Spectres look to snare their third consecutive win when they face Keilor Thunder this week. The Thunder have gradually slipped down the table, following losses to top-four contenders in Bulleen and Dandenong. A loss this week could potentially send them out of the eight, while Nunawading threaten for the top spot. Though its possible that the Spectres receive a reality check this week, after snaring wins from bottom-end sides in Bendigo and Diamond Valley. Despite having loss two consecutive, the Thunder have presented a real scoring threat in Paul Tsapatolis (19 PPG), while Tonga Matapule Otutaha presented strong with 10 points in last round’s clash with the Boomers. On the Spectres’ end, James Roche has been immense, averaging 18.8 PPG in third for league scoring, while Curtis Brecko boasts 11th spot with 12.8 PPG.

Werribee Devils (10th, 7-6) vs Diamond Valley Eagles (9th, 7-6)

Though not in the eight, the clash between the Werribee Devils and Diamond Valley Eagles looks to be a good one. Diamond Valley are yet to snare a win in the Championship division and have gradually slipped out of the top eight as a result. Contrastingly, the Devils look to be on the rise, pushing into tenth spot following a win over the Wildcats last round. A win for either side could see them launch back inside the eight, as both only sit one win under sixth spot. The Devils have shown great scorers in Makur Jongkuch (15 PPG) and Darrien Herbert (13.5), who sit sixth and ninth respectively on the league scoring ladder. For the Eagles, Ethan Bateman has put together a few good games in the Championship Division, averaging 12 PPG, with Erik Kafritsas following next on 9.5.

Bendigo Braves (14th, 6-6-1) vs Korumburra Wildcats (12th, 6-7)

Bendigo Braves host Korumburra Wildcats this week for a chance to snare their second win in the newly established Championship Division. Korumburra are in a similar position, having lost their last two. Both sides present a real chance to slip further down the table with a poor result, but somehow still only sit one win outside the top-eight. Regardless of their results, the Braves boast the top league scorer in Caleb Connick, who averages 19.5 PPG and receives decent scoring support from Isaac Murphy (10). For the Wildcats, Keith Robinson has been similarly impressive, sharing top spot with Connick over the last two months before landing in second with 18.8 PPG. The Wildcats also have Luis D’Angelo (11.8) putting up solid numbers to keep them competing.