Finals Previews: Aug 10-11

Another weekend of hoops ready to bounce, who will take W’s this time out?

Championship Men
Championship Women
Division One Men
Division One Women
Division Two Men
Division Two Women
Victorian Youth Championship Men
Victorian Youth Championship Women
Youth League One Men
Youth League One Women
Youth League Two Men
Youth League Two Women

Championship Men

McKinnon are in cruise control and have closed the gap on a Grand Final berth with an eight-point victory over Casey in game one of their Semi Final series. The league’s number one-ranked offence blitzed the Cavs who put up a fight in the contest, but in the end were no match for the highly favoured Cougars. The match was controlled by Cougars gun Dillon Stith who managed 37 points and 10 boards in 39 minutes. Eric Williams also put up highly respectable numbers to continue his good year, consisting of 28 points and 16 boards. Jordan Geer was great off the bench continuing his hot form with 14 points from 20 minutes. Mitch Chapman and Brandon Polk were the main men for the home side with 22 points apiece. With McKinnon dominating the aerial battle having 14 more rebounds during the game, Casey will need to improve this area if they have any chance at levelling the series this Saturday night. The 50% from deep suggests they have the ability to cause an upset with greater defensive work. McKinnon host Casey at GESAC for a spot in the final, with game three to be played on Sunday if need be. 

Hawthorn will go back to Boroondara feeling confident of their chances of progressing to a Grand Final series, with a 14-point victory over the Broncos in game one of their Semi Final series. The competition’s number one defensive team came up trumps, holding the high-flying Broncos’ offense to under 100 points and killing them at the rim. The Broncos were dismal in the first semi-final after rarely missing from the three-point line and in the aerial battle. Attempting shots at 30 threes they only managed eight makes, while losing by 14 in the rebound battle.  Sixteen points off the bench from Richard Oryem was a standout display for the Broncos, while Jake Martin hit some nice threes to end with 23 points. Hawthorn however were truely ‘magic’ in their quest for a Grand Final spot, with five players scoring 18+ points, including Jack Barry and Luke Sist claiming double-doubles. The series moves to Hawthorn where the Magic are very strong and go in favourites to win on Saturday night. However, a loss could see an interesting third game if needed.

McKinnon vs Casey — Sat 7pm — GESAC

Hawthorn vs Hume City — Sat 7.30pm — Boroondara Sports Complex

McKinnon vs Casey — Sun 1pm — GESAC (if required)

Hawthorn vs Hume City — Sun 3pm — Boroondara Sports Complex (if required)

Championship Women

The top two teams of the competition meet in a Qualifying Final at Boardman Stadium on Saturday night, where Sunbury host Keilor. One win separated the two teams at the end of the regular season, with the Jets clinching top spot courtesy of a run of five wins to end the season. Two defeats in the first four games put the Jets on the backfoot at the start of the year, but a run of 13 wins in their last 14 games propelled them to the top of the ladder. The Jets prioritised defence this season, and conceded just 60.8 points per game. They also scored the second most points on offence (86.2 per game), which was only behind Keilor for most points during the regular season. Keilor enter the game off the back of a 26-point win over Werribee in the first week of the finals. Erin Bollmann led the way for the Thunder with 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Aneta Bandilovski and Genna Anderson both had 16 points against the Devils. Sunbury won the previous two encounters between these teams this season, by an average of 9.5 points. 

Either Werribee or Hume City’s Big V campaigns will come to an end on Saturday night at Eagle Stadium. After a third-placed finish at the end of the regular season, Werribee are at risk of exiting the finals in straight sets following a disappointing defeat to Keilor last week. Scores were level at half time, before the Thunder went on a 49-24 run in the second half to claim a 26-point win. Werribee could only muster 26% shooting from the field, an area they will need to improve when they take on Hume City. Meanwhile the Broncos continued their late season form in their clash against McKinnon last week, defeating the Cougars by 16 points. BreAnna Brock starred with 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while Teyla Evans had 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. The two teams split their matches during the season with Werribee claiming a 17-point win in Round 9, while Hume City won by eight points in Round 16.

Sunbury vs Keilor — Sat 6pm — Boardman Stadium

Werribee vs Hume City — Sat 7pm — Eagle Stadium

Division One Men

In an interesting match up, the Division One Men Championship favourites in Warrandyte, come up against a team who has troubled them this season; Keysborough. The Cougars were impressive last week as they took down Western Port in a low scoring affair to book their spot in the Semi Finals, and will now face the Venom. Ivan Platenik was big last week and his impressive season will need to continue along side Calvin Enge, in their team’s quest for a spot in the Final. This week, Keysborough host Semi Final game one, a re-match of the clash between these two sides where Warrandyte snuck over the line in Round 17. Star man Jacob Thom will need to be at his scoring best, as the Venom have an aggregate losing record to the Cougars this season purely off their head-to-head record.

With both sides coming into the contest in good form, Sunbury will look to resurrect the result of their previous meeting with the Gators with a win at home on Saturday night. After being dominated early in their last match-up, the Jets took it right up to the Gators away from home with a tight loss in Round 15. Carlin Dupree and Atem Atem are the main men for the Gators who will look to take something back up to the country next week. Meanwhile, arguably the competition’s best player, Ish Sanders, will look to continue his hot streak when the teams meet on Saturday.

Keysborough vs Warrandyte — Sat 7pm — Rowville Secondary College

Sunbury vs Shepparton — Sat 8pm — Boardman Stadium

Division One Women

Another big week of Semi Final action commences when Hawthorn host Bellarine at the Boroondara Sports Complex. Hawthorn would be quietly pleased with last weekend’s exploits, defeating the Storm by 13 points and putting one foot in the door for a Grand Final appearance. Lara Edmanson was immense for the Magic last week, recording 20 points and 14 rebounds to enable her side to dare to dream. The Storm produced a lacklustre start in last Saturday’s display; the Bellarine outfit trailed by 14 points at quarter time, and were essentially on the back foot from that point onwards. Worryingly, the Storm only managed to produce two three-pointers out of 25 attempts, prompting major questions for Jessica Scannell and her teammates to ponder from an offensive perspective. If the Storm are to bring the series alive, they’ll need to be on song from the offset, gain the ascendency and deliver a four-quarter effort. Nyilah Jamison-Myers produced 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic in game one, and could put this tie to bed if she delivers on Saturday.

The second big game of the weekend takes place when Mildura and Chelsea butt heads at the Toyota Hothouse on Saturday evening. The advantage lies in the Heat’s favour, after defeating the Gulls by nine points last Saturday to strengthen their claim for a spot in the big dance. The Heat got off to a strong start in the clash at Patterson River Stadium, before the Gulls fought their way back into the lead by half time. Eventually, the Heat showed their legitimacy as premiership contender, overpowering the Gulls to take game one. If Chelsea are to bring this series to a third game, then they must negate the influence of Bronte Clark and Alyesha Lovett. The pair were the defining influence behind the win, with Clark securing 21 points and eight rebounds, whilst Lovett produced 18 points and 22 rebounds. For the Gulls, anything other than winning isn’t an option. The likes of George Stirton and Lee Burch won’t go down without a fight, that’s for sure.

Hawthorn vs Bellarine — Sat 5.30pm — Boroondara Sports Complex

Mildura vs Chelsea — Sat 6pm — Toyota Hothouse

Mildura vs Chelsea — Sun 12pm — Toyota Hothouse (if required)

Hawthorn vs Bellarine — Sun 1pm — Boroondara Sports Complex (if required)

Division Two Men

The Eagles and Sharks go head-to-head at the Craigieburn Sports Stadium in game one of their Semi Finals series. The Sharks go straight through to the semis after finishing top of the ladder with a 20-4 record for the regular season, and would not want to go down 1-0 in the series despite having two home games up their sleeves. Craigieburn will take great confidence out of their win over the Panthers last week, winning 87-58 behind a strong performance from Damon Smith. Smith put up 24 points, 20 rebounds and four assists in the win. These teams split their regular season matchups 1-1, each winning a game at home. 

Mildura host Camberwell at the Toyota Hothouse in the other semi finals series matchup. The Dragons booked their ticket to the second week of the finals after finishing second on the ladder at 19-5, coming off four consecutive victories to close out the regular season. They meet a Mildura outfit that knocked off Pakenham 100-89 last week, in an Elimination Final that was a high-scoring affair. The Heat shot 53 per cent from the field in that one, led by Calvin Henry’s 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, while Brent Symons dropped 21 points off the bench. The Heat won both of their regular season matchups with the Dragons. 

Craigieburn vs Southern Peninsula — Sat 8pm — Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Mildura vs Camberwell — Sat 8pm — Toyota Hothouse

Division Two Women

Melbourne Uni and Pakenham will battle it out for a place in the Grand Final at the Melbourne University Sports Centre on Saturday night. The Black Angels enter the game as favourites after finishing top of the ladder to secure a home court advantage. Amelia Smith could play a crucial role for the Black Angels in the finals, as she averaged 19.5 points per game during the regular season. Emmie O’Nial will also want to continue her good form after averaging 17.8 points and 13.6 rebounds in 18 games this season. Pakenham enter the qualifying final off the back of a 12-point win over Mornington last week. Stephanie Pal had 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Daphnee Frieson shot 55% from the court in the win. The two teams met twice during the season and on both occassions it was the home team that came away with the win. Pakenham won by 20 points in Round 3, while the Black Angels won by four points in Round 14.

It is time to say farewell to one of Mornington and Blackburn on Saturday night as the two teams meet in an Elimination Final. Mornington will look to bounce back from a 12-point defeat to Pakenham last week, while Blackburn will be buoyed by their two-point win over Sherbrooke. Trailing by nine points at three-quarter-time, the Vikings went on a 22-11 run in the final term to claim a two-point win. Marnie Houghton played arguably her best game of the season by collecting 23 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Shannon Bone had 14 points for the victors. Mornington will be keen to avoid being knocked out of the finals in straight sets following their 12-point defeat to Pakenham last week. The Breakers had the division’s best defence during the season, but struggled to contain the Warriors’ offence in their qualifying final. Sammie Simmons has averaged 25 points in her last two games and will be relied on to once again lead the Breakers’ offence. These two teams met twice during the regular season and on both occasions it was Mornington that came away with the win.

Melbourne University vs Pakenham — Sat 7pm — Melbourne University Sports Centre

Mornington vs Blackburn — Sat 7pm — Mornington Basketball Stadium

Victorian Youth Championship Men

Nunawading will be looking to finish their Grand Final series off with a win in game two, when Eltham host them at Eltham High School on Saturday evening. Nunawading were far too strong for Eltham last Sunday, producing an outstanding four-quarter effort to claim a resounding 26-point victory over their opponents. The Wildcats were on the backfoot from the start of the match, scoring just eight points in the opening term before trailing by 21 points at half time. While Zak Cunningham (15 points, five rebounds) and his teammates did their best to claw their way back into the contest, the Spectres showed their resilience to put the foot down and sit with the advantage heading into game two. The Wildcats won’t have any time to rue what went wrong, hoping to redeem themselves and take the series to a third match. Christian Yammouni has averaged 16.2 points per game for the Wildcats this season, and will need to deliver if this series is going to a third leg. The Eltham star scored eight points on Sunday, but will be hoping to spark his team to life in what looms as a mouth-watering clash. Remo Simankevicius was immense for the Spectres in game one, and could determine the fate of both clubs come Saturday night. 

Game three – if required – will be played at Eltham High School at 2.30pm on Sunday. 

Eltham vs Nunawading — Sat 7pm — Eltham High School

Eltham vs Nunawading — Sun 2.30pm — Eltham High School (if required)

Victorian Youth Championship Women

Melbourne host Dandenong in game two of the Grand Final series at MSAC on Saturday afternoon, in what is a Championship game for the Rangers. The series shifts back to Melbourne’s home after Dandenong convincingly took game one; 111-67. The Rangers never looked in doubt in that one, blowing out the contest in the first half and continuing on with it in the second half in what was a really impressive four-quarter performance. LT Poa (18 points), Makaela Zeldenryk (18 points) and Elly Morgan (17 points) all came up big. The Tigers will need to do a better job of spreading the load. While Nikki Metrcalfe (26 points) and Althea Angeles (17 points) both had big performances, they were the only two Melbourne players to score in double digits. Hannah Giddey was held scoreless on a 0-5 shooting performance, while Tylah Hooper only put up eight points on 4-17. Melbourne are just 5-6 at home this season, as they were surprisingly a better outfit on the road (9-2). 

If required, Melbourne will host Dandenong again on Sunday in game three. 

Melbourne vs Dandenong — Sat 4pm — MSAC

Melbourne vs Dandenong — Sun 3pm — MSAC (if required)

Youth League One Men

The premiership race will be decided at the MARS Minerdome this weekend, much to the delight of Ballarat. The Miners produced a scintillating display in game one of the series at Geelong Arena to record a 12-point win over the Supercats. Ballarat scored 32 points in the first term to lead by nine points at quarter time. Defence was key in the win, and in the second term the Miners held Geelong to 14 points to extend their lead to 13 points at half time. Geelong clawed their way back into the game in the second half by scoring 26 points to reduce the margin to one-point at three-quarter-time, but the Miners re-found their form from the first half to clinch a 12-point win. Zachery Dunmore again starred for the Miners with 19 points, while Liam Allison and Amos Brooks scored 14 points each. Geelong struggled to find any rhythm on offence and shot 33% from the field and 28 points in the paint. Josiah King top-scored for his side with 18 points off the bench, but the remainder of the team failed to find their range and shot at under 45% from the field. A positive for Ballarat is they have a perfect record at home in 2019, winning all 11 home games during the campaign. However, the Supercats were the only team to beat Ballarat twice in the regular season and will want to send the series to a third and deciding game.

Ballarat vs Geelong — Sat 5.30pm — MARS Minerdone

Ballarat vs Geelong — Sun 2pm — MARS Minerdone (if required)

Youth League One Women

Semi Finals continue this weekend, with Casey hosting Warrandyte to kick things off for game two of the series. The Cavaliers hold the advantage heading into the weekend after knocking off the Venom by seven points in a tight contest at the Warrandtye Sports Complex last week. Casey were quite possibly staring down their fourth loss of the season, trailing by two points at half time against a Warrandyte outfit with a point to prove. The Cavs managed to overpower the Venom in the second half, with Lauren Tuplin (15 points, three rebounds) leading them to victory. Tuplin has played a starring role for the Cavs this season, averaging 17.8 points per game and proving that she may be central to Casey’s premiership hopes in game two. Brooke Taylor put up a fight for the Venom, producing 17 points and 16 rebounds as the Venom ace continued to give the Cavaliers’ headaches. Taylor ranks fourth in the league with 10.2 average rebounds per game, and could be critical to Warrandyte’s hopes of taking this series to game three. The third match between both sides (if required) will be played at Casey Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Keilor will also be hoping to wrap up their Semi Final series when they host Camberwell on Saturday night. The Thunder have only lost the two games all season, and provided little wonder last Sunday as to how they have produced this feat. Keilor were dominant throughout the four quarters, producing headaches for the Dragons at any given opportunity. After a fairly even first quarter, the Thunder were able to take clear control on the match, with the Dragons gradually losing grip on the contest as they succumbed to a 29-point defeat. Alexandra McKellar was highly influential for the Thunder, producing 15 points and five rebounds. The Dragons would have the odds stacked against them to make an apperance in the Grand Final, but have shown this season that their best is capable of turning things around. Jessica Bates produced 10 points and two rebounds in Sunday’s loss, and has the ability to deliver more in game two and give their opponents more than a few things to worry about. The third match (if required) will be played at Keilor Basketball Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

Casey vs Warrandyte — Sat 7pm — Casey Stadium

Keilor vs Camberwell — Sat 8pm — Keilor Basketball Stadium

Casey vs Warrandyte — Sun 1.30pm — Casey Stadium (if required)

Keilor vs Camberwell — Sun 2pm — Keilor Basketball Stadium (if required)

Youth League Two Men

The Warriors and All Stars go head-to-head at Cardinia Life on Saturday night, with a spot in the Grand Final up for grabs. Collingwood are coming off a blowout 101-69 home win against Maccabi in an Elimination Final last week, and will take great confidence out of the result. Athiaan Manyiel led the way in that one with 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and will want to carry his good form into the Semis. The All Stars meet a fresh Pakenham outfit, coming off a bye last week, which they earned after finishing second on the table. In these two sides’ meetings during the regular season, each team won on the road to split their match-ups 1-1. 

Craigieburn host Chelsea in the other Semi Final matchup on Saturday night, this one at Craigieburn Sports Stadium. The Gulls qualified for the Semi after narrowly ousting Melton last week, 87-86 at home, thanks to Aaron Frost’s go-ahead free throw with six seconds left in the ball game. But it was Nathan Frost who was the real hero on the night, dropping 35 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Gulls to victory. Chelsea come up against an Eagles side who went 10-1 at home during the regular season, and are currently on a league-best six-game winning streak. Craigieburn won both regular season matchups against the Gulls.  

Pakenham vs Collingwood — Sat 6pm — Cardinia Life

Craigieburn vs Chelsea — Sat 6pm — Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Youth League Two Women

Sherbrooke host Chelsea to kickstart Semi Final proceedings this weekend. The Gulls earned their place in the final four after prevailing in a gritty four-point win over Collingwood at Patterson River Stadium last Saturday night. Ella Dempster produced a mammoth display for the Gulls, producing 19 points and 20 rebounds to ensure that the Gulls would be travelling to Belgrave to meet the formidable Suns outfit. Facing off against Sherbrooke has been a challenging prospect for all teams this season, and this will certainly be no exception for this Chelsea outfit. The Suns have been ruthless in recent times, and will be raring to go after sitting the week out with a well-earnt bye. They have won their last four matches by an average of 46 points, and have been nothing but dominant in all of those displays. Naomi Smith averages 17.1 points per game this season for the Suns, and if the Gulls aren’t able to nullify her ability then problems could loom for Chelsea. 

Frankston and Whittlesea will round out the fixture when they come face-to-face on Sunday afternoon. The Pacers put Werribee to the sword last Saturday, proving to be too strong for the Devils as they won by 10 points. They face an incredibly more difficult prospect this time around though, travelling to Frankston to take on the all-conquering Blues. Remarkably, the Blues have now won 17 straight matches, having lost only the one game for the season against the Suns. The Blues and Pacers have faced off twice this season already, with Frankston winning on both occasions, by 20 and 32 points respectively. Whittlesea have admittedly had a much tougher season in comparison to Frankston, holding a 12-8 record at the end of the season to snare themselves a finals spot. While it may seem a bit one-sided on paper, the Pacers are definitely capable of producing an upset. Indiana Bodley leads the competition for points with an average of 19.1 per game, while Pacers teammate Olivia Dalmau ranks number one for assists with 3.8 per game. If both are able to produce on the big stage, then a Whittlesea victory is definitely not out of the question. 

Sherbrooke vs Chelsea — Sun 2pm — Belgrave Heights Christian School

Frankston vs Whittlesea — Sun 5.30pm — Frankston Basketball Stadium

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