ROUND 2 in the Melbourne United Victorian Junior Basketball League (MUVJBL) boys competitions looks to be a one that will define most pools across the Under 16 and 18 AA groups, with plenty of Round 1 winners set to try their hand against those who went down last week. Still, three top-of-the-table clashes will also take place across the weekend’s action.
A top-of-the-table clash looms to kick off proceedings in Pool 1, as Melbourne Tigers travels to Diamond Valley to take on the Eagles’ second team. Having accounted for Latrobe last time out, the Tigers are sitting pretty atop of the able with a handy percentage advantage over their weekend opponents. That was largely thanks to sharpshooter Jordan Adams, who netted 24 points in the opener, with three of his Tiger teammates sinking nine each to put a winning score on the board. Diamond Valley 2’s close shave last week means they know how to get up in the clutch, which could well come in handy if they bring it to Melbourne as one of the side’s 0 wins has to go. The Eagles look to have the scoring power to match Melbourne across the court, with four players finishing with at least nine points in their Round 1 win. The round’s other match-up poses the two sides at the opposite end of the table against each other, with a win vital to either team’s chances of progressing. Pakenham will fancy itself away from home given its narrow margin of defeat last time out, but Latrobe’s big loss may well just be a sign of how dominant Melbourne is. Either way, a side in each game will be handed its first loss and earn its first win, giving the table some shape.
Both Ringwood and Eltham will be looking to secure qualification with a second win in Pool 2 as they swap Round 1 opponents in the second set of fixtures on Friday. The Wildcats had a massive win to open their account as they trampled Knox by 27 points to secure top spot. That was on the back of Nicolas Uzelac and Matt Debney both posting more than 20 points, and they will look to boss the boards once again against a Wangaratta side that did not quite put it together around the paint in Round 1. Victors in that outing, Ringwood host Knox and will be looking to bring the same intent into Round 2. The Hawks had a good spread of scorers last week as five players claimed over eight points for the night, while the Raiders had just two players net over 10 points as they went down handily. It will certainly be make or break for the two bottom sides, while the top two would be hopeful of edging a step closer to automatic qualification with another win.
As is the case in Pool 2, the Pool 1’s opening round winners will be swapping opponents in their second outings as they look forward to a final-round clash. Diamond Valley put a firm stamp on its automatic qualification credentials with a resounding 42-point win, which will be hard to beat in this week’s clash with McKinnon. Easily the highest scorers of the week across all pools, the Eagles look the early favourites to soar into the championship division. While they lost their opening effort, the McKinnon side will be hopeful of bouncing back in what looks like a strong group as their qualification hopes are still alive. That is also the case for Blackburn, but the Vikings face a tough task in the form of Eltham 2, with the Wildcats fielding two strong line-ups in the competition. Caleb Bruggeman was the big scorer in Round 1 with his 18 points for Eltham, with he and his Wildcat teammates looking to follow from Diamond Valley’s example, which could even propel them to top spot. If that is the case, a final round clash with the Eagles looks set to be a belter. With the group shaping up like Pool 2, now would be a good time for the two bottom sides to throw a spanner in the works and make Round 3 interesting.
A top-of-the-table clash is set to open Round 2 in Pool 4, as Collingwood hosts Sandringham. Both sides had wins in excess of 10 points last week to pit them just three per cent apart, with four players on either side reaching double figures in the scoring stakes. Leaders Collingwood overcame Geelong in that game, but it was not all bad for the Supercats as they managed to post a respectable 55 points. They travel this week to face bottom-placed Dandenong 2, with the Rangers coming off their 11-point loss to Sandringham in the opener. It looks a matter of which side can gain the confidence needed on D as both bottom sides leaked points in Round 1 without having too many serious woes netting the ball in their hoop. The same sturdiness will be needed in game one between the ladder leaders, but either side’s scoring power should produce an entertaining encounter.
Frankston faces a tough task in its search for a win in Pool 1 as the Blues host table toppers, Kilsyth to open Round 2. In a similar fashion, McKinnon is set to do battle with Latrobe at home after going down to the Cobras, with the second-placed Energy looking to travel well and claim a second-straight win. The qualification could be clear as day after just the second round should both the top sides get up, but McKinnon and Frankston will be keen to get on the board.
It is a similar story in Pool 2 as Pakenham and Geelong host Sandringham and Bulleen 2 respectively after claiming wins last week. While the Warriors had a tight win over the Bulls to slip them into second, Geelong’s victory looked a little more convincing as it returned a 19-point winning margin. With automatic promotion likely to be up for grabs for either winning side, the Bulls could well be the team to throw up an upset against a strong Geelong side, while the Sabers would be keen to bounce back after going down handily.
Again, the two winning sides of Round 1 swap rivals coming into a second outing in Pool 3, with Southern Peninsula looking to add to its winning start with a win away at Camberwell. The Dragons are no slouches though, having narrowly gone down to Sunbury last time out, and will give themselves every chance to get on the board at home. Meanwhile, Werribee will be looking for a similar outcome as it hosts Sunbury to see out Round 2. This looks the group most likely to have a winner drop points as both games were reasonably tight, so expect a couple of hot contests as the round robin heats up.
Pool 4 breaks the fixturing trend as a top of the table clash rounds out the second lot of games, with Keilor hosting Dandenong 2. While the Thunder’s winning margin was double that of the Rangers, anything can happen and this group looks to be another tight one. A Rangers win would keep the group interesting, with both sides in the first game of the round surely confident in their chances of securing their first win. Plenty Valley 2 fared slightly better than its counterpart from Whittlesea, but the Pacers posted a slightly higher score in their loss. Either way, one team is set to create a mid-table battle going into Round 3.