Finals Previews: Aug 17-18

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
Youth League One Women
Youth League Two Men
Youth League Two Women


Championship Men

In an interesting match-up, the Broncos will host the Cougars in the first game of the three-game Grand Final series, after blowing out the Magic last week. Trailing 1-0 in their best-of-three Semi Final series with Hawthorn and having to play two road games, the Broncos stood up and played solid team basketball to earn two hard fought wins.  The Cougars meanwhile come in rested after handling the Cavs easily in a clean sweep of their Semi Final series. In previous meetings between these two teams this season no home side has won, which could provide an omen for Saturday, as McKinnon look to continue their hot form, having not lost since playing Hume City in Round 14 at GESAC. McKinnon’s main man is Dillon Stith, who averages 26.2 points as well as 11.0 rebounds per game so far in season 2019. Stith is third and second in the league respectively in those two columns. For the Broncos, Jake Martin will be a key factor as he averages 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, as well as shooting 39.9% from beyond the arc. The Cougars finished the home-and-away season with a 22-2 record in first place on the ladder, while the Broncos were 16-8 and finished third.

Hume City vs McKinnon — Sat 7pm — Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium


Championship Women

After two blowout results in their first two meetings this season, this match-up could go either way. Back in July, the Jets defeated the Devils by 25 points on the road, while earlier this season it was Werribee who triumphed by 19 in Sunbury’s building. Last weekend, Sunbury lost at home to Keilor and didn’t look at their Championship-winning best, whilst the Devils smacked the Broncos off the back of another Alisia Jenkins masterclass. Who’s stars will show up on the day and how well will the bench provide support seem to be the questions that will decide this contest. A spot in the final is on the line at Boardman Stadium on Saturday night and we are keen to see the outcome. Jenkins will hope to lead the way for the Devils after a strong season averaging 24.3 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, while Courtney Duever will be out to be the star of the show for the Jets, and will look to continue on from a 2019 campaign in which she’s averaged 20.0 points and 9.1 rebounds per contest.

Sunbury vs Werribee — Sat 6pm — Boardman Stadium


Division One Men

Warrandyte will host the Cougars on Saturday night in game two of their Semi Final series. The Venom will look to bounce back from last week’s narrow 75-80 loss on Keysborough’s home court. Bryan Moore impressed in that game for the Venom with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while Brenton Charles scored 10 points and handed out 13 assists. Calvin Enge led the way for Keysborough with 25 points and seven boards, whilst Jamie Leclerc triple-doubled with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Warrandyte will be tough to take down at their home fortress, where they went 10-2 during the regular season, while Keysborough were actually better on the road at 9-3. Game three – if required – will take place on Sunday.

Shepparton and Sunbury clash in the second semi-final at the Shepparton Sports Stadium. The Jets took the 1-0 series lead after defeating the Gators 94-86 off the back of a massive 33-point outing from Ishmael Sanders, with Arthur Trousdell adding 20 points himself to go with nine rebounds. Shepparton’s Atem Atem (26 points) and Carlin Dupree (25 points) were also busy, but only nine bench points proved costly for the Gators. Shepparton went 11-1 at home this season while the Jets were 8-4 on the road. If the Gators can square the ledger, game three will take place on Sunday.

Warrandyte vs Keysborough — Sat 7pm — Warrandyte Sports Complex

Shepparton vs Sunbury — Sat 7.30pm — Shepparton Sports Stadium

Warrandyte vs Keysborough — Sun 1pm — Warrandyte Sports Complex (if required)

Shepparton vs Sunbury — Sun 1pm — Shepparton Sports Stadium (if required)


Division One Women

Grand Final week is approaching, and it all comes to a head when Mildura and Hawthorn clash in game one of the series. Without doubt the two strongest and most deserving teams to make the Grand Final, the Magic sat comfortably at the top of the ladder at the end of the season, boasting a 19-win season with only the five losses. The Heat were similarly dominant throughout the regular season, notching up 17 wins and seven losses to sit three games clear in second. Both teams sealed their place in the big dance by producing convincing victories in game two of their respective semi-final series’, defeating Bellarine and Chelsea respectively to produce this epic clash. The tale of the tape for these sides began in the first week of the season, where the Magic disposed of the Heat by 21 points as they cruised to victory. Mildura got their revenge second time around however, holding off their foes to win by five points. This could be a game and series directly influenced by the offensive impact of both sides. Alyesha Lovett leads the competition for average points with an impressive 29.9 per game. Sitting third below Lovett is Hawthorn’s Nyilah Jamison-Myers, who has an average of 20.1 points to her name in another impressive season. Both players have been standouts in the division this season and could hold the key to either clubs’ fortunes. Saturday night at the Toyota Hothouse is sure to be a big one. 

Mildura vs Hawthorn — Sat 7pm — Toyota Hothouse


Division Two Men

It’s game two of the Semi Final series and Southern Peninsula host Craigieburn in a massive encounter at Dromana Stadium. The Sharks would hold all of the belief heading into the second leg of their fixture, having disposed of the Eagles by 29 points in game one at the Craigieburn Sports Stadium. The game was dictated by Sharks’ star Troyce Manassa, recording 41 points and seven rebounds as the Sharks cruised to an assailable victory. Manassa has been a constant threat all season, averaging 28.5 points per game and being a key difference maker in Southern Peninsula’s title prospects. Craigieburn’s best is more than capable of providing a tough contest for the Sharks, and the Eagles will be steadfast in trying to bring the series to a third game on Sunday. They have proven their ability this season too, having defeated the Sharks by 15 points earlier in the season. The third game of the series – if required – will be held at Dromana Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Camberwell and Mildura also face off in game two of their Semi Final series at Balwyn High School on Saturday evening. The Dragons will be relishing their home ground advantage, hoping to redeem themselves after succumbing to defeat against a strong Mildura outfit in game one of the series. The Heat prevailed by 23 points in last weekend’s clash at the Toyota Hothouse, leaving them with one foot in the door for a Grand Final berth. Dallas Brown was integral for the winners, scoring 30 points and producing five rebounds in a stellar performance. Having finished the season second on the ladder and boasting a 19-5 record, the Dragons still remain winless in their three matches against the Heat this season. The Dragons can change that in a hurry though, and are more than capable of taking this series to a third game. Maxwell Barkeley will be critical to those prospects coming to fruition for the Dragons. Barkeley has averaged 20.6 points per game this season, and will need to be on song if the Dragons are to produce the goods. The third game – if required – will be again held at Balwyn High School on Sunday afternoon. 

Southern Peninsula vs Craigieburn — Sat 6pm — Dromana Stadium

Camberwell vs Mildura — Sat 6pm — Balwyn High School

Camberwell vs Mildura — Sun 12pm — Balwyn High School (if required)

Southern Peninsula vs Craigieburn — Sun 2pm — Dromana Stadium (if required)


Division Two Women

Melbourne University will host Blackburn in a Preliminary Final on Saturday night to determine who goes through to the decider against Pakenham. The Black Angels were ousted by the Warriors last week 61-70 at the Melbourne University Sports Centre after getting overrun in the fourth quarter. Amelia Smith posted a game-high 16 points but did shoot a poor 5-of-17 from the field. The Vikings advanced through after knocking off Mornington 53-40, in a scrappy affair at Mornington Basketball Stadium. Shannon Bone scored a team-high 11 points. The Black Angels were 7-2 at home during the regular season, while Blackburn were 5-4 on the road. The Breakers went 2-0 in the two earlier matchups between these teams during the regular season.

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


Youth League One Women

The much-anticipated Grand Final series comes to a head this weekend, when Casey and Keilor battle it out in game one of this epic series. Most observers would have tipped both sides to make the Grand Final, with both teams having had such dominant seasons respectively. The Thunder finished the season with just the two losses and are currently on a nine-game winning streak. Casey have been just as formidable, sitting second on the ladder at the end of the regular season with 17 wins and three losses. Both sides have faced off twice this season, with the Thunder able to record wins in both of their clashes. The Cavaliers can easily atone for that on Saturday though, and put the fixture firmly in their favour with a win. Lauren Tuplin will be crucial to those prospects for the Cavs – Tuplin has averaged 17.4 points per game this season to be third in the competition in that statistic. Meanwhile for the Thunder, Amy Scott will certainly be one to watch. Scott recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds in the Thunder’s 35-point victory over the Dragons on Saturday, and could be a key to Keilor’s prospects of leaving Casey Stadium with a win. 

Casey vs Keilor — Sat 7pm — Casey Stadium


Youth League Two Men

The first game of the Grand Final commences this weekend, with Collingwood taking on Craigieburn in game one of the series on Saturday night. The All Stars managed to make their way into the big dance after defeating Pakenham by five points in the Semi Final. Athiaan Manyiel was instrumental for Collingwood, scoring 29 points and recording 10 rebounds, with the Warriors unable to respond. Meanwhile, the Eagles were able to defeat Chelsea by 11 points, booking their deserved place in the Grand Final after a dominant season; the Eagles recorded 20 wins and just the two losses throughout the regular season. As good as Craigieburn are, the All Stars are more than capable of matching them on court. Offensive duo Manyiel and Alexander Cocco could very well decide the destiny of Collingwood, with the pair leading the competition in points per game with 22.6 and 19.7 respectively. The Eagles have been known to share the ball around more than their opponents, with their top five scorers all averaging between 10-14 points per game. It’s sure to be a big game one at the Darebin Community Sports Centre, with the second and third (if required) games to be held at the Craigieburn Sports Stadium the following weekend.

Collingwood vs Craigieburn — Sat 7pm — Darebin Community Sports Centre


Youth League Two Women

Sherbrooke and Frankston collide for game one of the Youth League Two Women’s Grand Final series in a blockbuster first vs second clash on Saturday night at Belgrave Heights Christian School. Both sides are coming off impressive wins last week in their respective Semi Final clashes. The Suns defeated Chelsea 90-58 at home behind a big double-double from Naomi Smith, who gobbled up 19 points, 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. Meanwhile the Blues ousted the Pacers 77-62 at home as Zoe Schonfelder dropped 23 points to go with six rebounds off the bench. Sherbrooke went undefeated at home this season at 10-0, while the Blues only dropped one road game at 9-1. These teams split their regular season matchups 1-1, with both sides winning at home.

Sherbrooke vs Frankston — Sat 6pm — Belgrave Heights Christian School


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