Round 15 Previews

Another week of Big V action is upon us! Read about each of the competition’s twelve divisions as they prepare for the weekend of fixtures.

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

State Championship Men

Hawthorn takes on Casey in a mouth-watering clash to open the round of action. Both sides have laid claims to a spot in the post-season and with seven teams vying for six spots, a win here would be enormous. The Magic are still in the hunt for a top two spot, which would have been laughed at pre-season. In fact, a win for the home side and a loss for Eltham will see them occupy second spot with three weeks to play. High stakes, game on.

Waverley has a chance to put forward their own case for a top two spot when they travel to Corio Bay. The Stingrays brief resurgence was exactly that – brief – and the Falcons will look to build some form after a scrappy month. The stacked Falcons should have too much firepower for a Stingrays side destined for Division One.

Blackburn welcomes McKinnon in a danger game for the Cougars, who now find themselves sitting outside the top six after dominating the first month of the season. They can ill-afford a defeat here and it would be nothing short of disastrous if they left the building with anything but a W as they look to stay in the hunt for post-season action. The Vikings look to have avoided relegation after beating Corio last week but another win or two before the season’s out would be nice.

Keilor tackle Ringwood as they too look to finish their season on a high. The Thunder started off well with two wins but it has been far from smooth sailing since and they now sit 10th with a 4-12 record. The Hawks meanwhile will be looking to start another title run with a month left before the real stuff begins, and will be looking to put last weekend’s loss to Casey behind them.

Eltham hosts Werribee in a game that the ‘Cats simply must win to finish in the top two. With the competition so tight and the Magic breathing down their necks, a loss to the 5-12 Devils would be a huge setback. It’s the meeting of two completely different playing styles with the defensive and well-drilled home side looking to bully the free-flowing and high-scoring Devils. Eltham should take care of business in their own gym.

Likewise Knox simply need to take care of business against Keilor if they want to participate in the post-season. Three teams locked at 10-7 but only two can play in August; that means someone is missing out and a shock defeat here would put the Raiders in the hot seat. With so much on the line the home side should get the job done, but can they regain their consistency heading into the most important month of the season?

Waverley backs up on Sunday against Hume City, with the visitors all-but eliminated from finals contention. It’s just another game that the home side must take care of as the season hits the pointy end. With the fans behind them and everything to play for, the star-studded Falcons should do just that.

Casey hosts Corio to round out the weekend and on form, this could be a big win for the Cavs. Corio haven’t been disgraceful in 2018 but have managed just two wins and are almost certainly going down in a month’s time. The Cavs have willed themselves into sixth spot and won’t want to give it up anytime soon.

Hawthorn vs Casey                                         Sat 7:30pm                              Boroondara Sports Complex

Corio Bay vs Waverley                                    Sat 8pm                                   Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Blackburn vs McKinnon                                   Sat 8pm                                   Knox Basketball Centre

Keilor vs Ringwood                                         Sat 8:30pm                              Keilor Basketball Stadium

Eltham vs Werribee                                        Sun 1:30pm                             Eltham High School

Knox vs Keilor                                                 Sun 2pm                                  State Basketball Centre

Waverley vs Hume City                                   Sun 2:30pm                             Waverley Basketball Centre

Casey vs Corio Bay                                          Sun 4pm                                  Casey Stadium

State Championship Women

Boomers (3-­‐11) vs Broncos (8-­‐6)

Any hopes the Boomers had of playing finals have been well and truly snuffed out, though they do continue to have one of the league’s very best players on court in Sarah Boothe. The Broncos have won three straight and are in form, sitting in the top half and eager to keep that winning run going. Lousia Murphy is looking great, as is Nicole Zammit and Viv Saad. The Boomers do pose a danger on their home deck so the Broncos will need to be very aware of what’s at stake here. The visitors will start favourites and should (must) win.

Hawks (9-­‐6) vs Sharks (8-­‐6)

Ringwood has now lost four straight and life won’t get any easier here as they come up against the Sharks who have won three of their last four. With a finals spot up for grabs this should be a ripping contest, both teams have to keep winning as nothing is locked in yet. Jaz Shelley continues to be one of the league’s very best players and it’s hard to see which Hawk will be able to limit her influence? Desi Ramos continues to battle hard and will do all she can for the home team, but injuries have hurt the team and it’s hard to see where the next win is going to come from. It’s a must win game for both teams, the race for the top half is red hot and anything other than a win will no doubt have ramifications. Look for the Sharks to perform strongly, they always do against the Hawks.

Raiders (12-­‐2) vs Thunder (4-­‐9)

Amazingly Knox are yet to drop a game on the road, however they are 5-­‐2 at home and won’t want any slip-­‐ups here. The Thunder have impressed at times this season, especially Erin Bollmann, but you sense everything is starting to wear on them a bit as we head towards August. Whilst many lessons have been dished up in their first season in the top flight, it’s important Keilor keeps chipping away, especially against one of the very best teams in the league like Knox. The Raiders will win this one, but let’s hope the Thunder makes it a competitive contest.

Jets (9-­‐5) vs Wildcats (2-­‐12)

Sunbury has moved to third on the ladder and after four straight wins it looks like the reigning champs are starting to get their engines warmed up ahead of the August action. The addition of Kerryn Harrington has been a masterstroke for the Jets. Word is Sharon Plichta will miss with a broken thumb, but you would think Sunbury’s depth will stand the test. For Eltham, season 2018 just hasn’t been a good one and right now they are looking like a trip to Division 1 is ahead of them. Five straight losses and a tough test here against the flying Jets is as hard as it gets. The home team will win, it’s just a case of by how much?

Bulleen vs Hume City Sat 6pm East Doncaster Secondary College

Ringwood vs Sth Peninsula Sat 8pm The Rings

Knox vs Keilor Sun 12pm State Basketball Centre

Sunbury vs Eltham Sun 2pm Boardman Stadium

Division One Men

All Stars (6-­‐12) vs Energy (2-­‐16)

Collingwood’s season looks shot after three straight losses, but things can change quickly as soon as you string some wins together. The All Stars have two big games this round, starting with the lowly Energy, who come in fresh off a win last week. Perhaps a boost in confidence will help them?

Black Angels (9-­‐9) vs Venom (9-­‐8)

Massive game for both teams, and both have a tough double to contend with. Neither can leave anything on the table, it’s all or nothing as the battle for the lower places in the top six intensifies. The Black Angels are hard to toss on their home deck and will start favourites to get the job done.

Boomers (8-­‐11) vs Supercats (7-­‐10)

As they try to get out of a slump (3 game losing streak), the Boomers simply have to get the job done against the Supercats. Geelong isn’t fully out of the finals picture just yet, so they also have a fair bit to play for, which makes this a make or break game for both teams. Chances are whoever loses this can start booking an early end of season vacation.

Pacers (5-­‐14) vs Jets (4-­‐15)

All of a sudden the Jets are drifting into dangerous territory, just one place above the Energy with a couple of extra wins, but a 5 game losing streak that looks like extending unless they can find some form in a hurry. The Pacers continue to be highly competitive, there’s not too many teams out there at 5-­‐14 with a percentage of 91.24, so they shouldn’t be dismissed. Look for the home team to get this one.

Gulls (16-­‐3) vs Energy (2-­‐16)

Given what we have seen from Chelsea in recent weeks, this game should be a walk in the park. The Energy will try hard, they always do, but this contest is beyond them. Look for Standerfer and Brasser to get going early, and then maybe an early end for them to get some minutes into others.

Supercats (7-­‐10) vs Gators (16-­‐2)

A tough gig here for Geelong, coming off a game and having to face the supercharged Gators. The ladder leaders continue to get the job done and will have too many scoring options for the young Supercats to handle. A surprise win would be huge for the home team and ignite their finals aspirations, especially if they manage to beat the Boomers the previous night.

Venom (9-­‐8) vs All Stars (6-­‐12)

Both teams are on the double and both will be desperate for the win, especially Warrandyte as they continue to cling to a finals berth. With four wins from their last five games, and a 6-­‐2 record at home, the Venom will start warm favourites. If Sprewell gets going, look out!

Cougars (14-­‐4) vs Black Angels (9-­‐9)

What a weekend for Melbourne Uni! They’ll start favourites against Warrandyte on Saturday night, and then they’ll face this massive challenge on Sunday. The Cougars are an impressive 8-­‐1 at home and continue to rip teams apart, especially when they play with speed and momentum. If Masunda can get going early the visitors have a chance, they are a team that never backs down. Quality contest between two very good teams. Can the Black Angels cause an upset and move further towards cementing a finals berth, or will this be the weekend where their finals aspirations come crashing down?

Steelers (13-­‐6) vs Seahawks (10-­‐9)

Warrnambool has just one win from their last five games and need to turn things around in a hurry if they hope to stay clear of the chasing pack. Xavier Blount is due for a big game and the timing couldn’t be better with Dylan Travis and his Steelers ready to make life tough. Crucial game.

Collingwood vs Latrobe City Sat 5pm Darebin Stadium
Melbourne University vs Warrandyte Sat 7pm Melbourne University Sports Centre
Bulleen vs Geelong Sat 8pm East Doncaster Secondary College
Whittlesea vs Sunbury Sat 8:30pm Mill Park Basketball Stadium
Chelsea vs Latrobe City Sun 1pm Patterson River Stadium
Geelong vs Shepparton Sun 2pm AWA Alliance Bank Stadium
Warrandyte vs Collingwood Sun 2:30pm Warrandyte Sports Complex
Keysborough vs Melbourne University Sun 3pm Rowville Secondary College
Western Port vs Warrnambool Sun 3:30pm David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Division One Women

First and third are on the road this weekend with a pair of double-headers greeting Mildura and Warrnambool. Mildura will first take on Geelong in an all-country showdown with the hard tasks set for Supercats trio Caitlin Shadbolt (12.75ppg), Georgia Varley (10.82ppg) and Tess Feery (8.33ppg, 10.53 RPG), who is creeping up on the season double-double average. Geelong’s Maggie Kratochvil will also be off with Vic Country’s under-16 team.

Mildura will head up the highway to battle Werribee on Sunday as Alexis Gassion (18.24 PPG, 14.94 RPG) looks to continue her dominant debut Big V season. Vanessa Power (22.12PPG) remains on fire as well as she’s continued her stellar season to date.

Warrnambool’s double-header against Chelsea (Saturday 8pm) and Western Port (Sunday 1.30pm) will help secure the Mermaids’ finals aspirations, but don’t discount the Gulls or Steelers too quickly. Raynisha Washington (18.07PPG, 7.6RPG) has been a shining light for the Gulls while Rachel Winters (14.69PPG, 9.44RPG) and Attirah Munir (10.79RPG) have led the way for the Steelers in another tough year as the competition’s nomads.

Chelsea turns it around quickly to battle Warrandyte away on Sunday as both sides look to get off seven-game losing streaks. Rachel Wansbrough (10.14PPG, 9.36RPG) has been the Venom’s best across a middling season. Warrandyte will have faced high-flying Casey the night before away and all signs point to the Cavaliers maintaining their strong 2018 as Tanarly Hood (13.94PPG), Jamie-Lee Jeffs (13.11PPG, 8.67RPG) and Tarryn Wilkin (8.59PPG, 7.71RPG) continue to dominate.

Whittlesea and Camberwell have plenty on the line Sunday afternoon as the Pacers can all but seal their spot in the top-six while the Dragons remain in the hunt but need to start picking up wins to get there. Camberwell must shut down Whittlesea’s LT Poa (11.71PPG) and Guilia Dinunzio (10.29PPG) while on the opposite end, Whittelsea cannot let Tahlia Higgs (13.27PPG, 8.07RPG) and Sarah Stone (10.12PPG) get off the chain.

Latrobe will look to bounce back against Hawthorn Magic and try to snap a two-week losing streak. Hawthorn’s magic month – winning four on the trot – has seen them rise to seventh and snap at the heels of a finals berth to boot. The one-two punch from evergreen champion Rohanee Cox (14.18PPG, 7.09RPG) and Victorian rising star Lara Edmanson (13.91PPG, 11.91RPG) has been stellar across the last month as Edmanson has averaged a double-double while Cox isn’t far off that mark either. Latrobe is fighting for pride on the other hand and has strung together some better form in recent times, as it has been well served by Makenzie Millier (15.47PPG) 12.53RPG) and Jade Melbourne (15PPG, 7.77RPG).

Geelong vs. Mildura                                                    Sat 3pm                                   Geelong Arena

Latrobe City v Hawthorn                                            Sat 7pm                                   Latrobe Leisure Traralgon

Casey v Warrandyte                                                    Sat 8pm                                   Casey Stadium

Chelsea v Warrambool                                               Sat 8pm                                   Patterson River Stadium

Warrandyte v Chelsea                                                Sun 12pm                                Warrandyte Sports Compex

Werribee v Mildura                                                    Sun 1pm                                  Eagle Stadium

Western Port v Warrnambool                                    Sun 1.30pm                             D. Collings Leisure Centre

Whittlesea v Camberwell                                           Sun 2pm                                  Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Division Two Men

With games in hand and a three-win deficit heading into Round 15, Maccabi and Pakenham need to start picking up some wins rapidly if they want to change the top six. That said… there are ups and downs for either Warriors lineup to surge back into contention as Pakenham battles the top seed Craigieburn and cellar dwellers North East while Maccabi heads off to second-ranked Coburg and sixth ranked Melton.

Maccabi will need to generate some momentum against Coburg and especially in its Sunday afternoon’s home-clash against Melton. Jared Mintz (18.69PPG, 11.56RPG) and Adam Klas (15.81PPG) have been exceptional so far and will need that to continue for the Warriors to stand a chance of making the finals. Sunday will be interesting as neither side can afford to lose it. Sixth is on the line when the Thoroughbreds charge across to Bialik Stadium with Emmanuel Malou (19.73PPG, 8.93RPG), Dexter Graham (17.94PPG, 9.19RPG) and Wol Wol Ngong (13.69PPG, 7.44RPG) all starring so far.

Pakenham takes on North East at home on Sunday to try and create some form and turn around its three-game slump. Josh Bjelan (16.36PPG), Ben Gaze (13.29PPG) and Hayden Davey (12.14PPG, 9.14RPG) have all flown the flag this season while Ash Szalek (7 points, 4.5 RPG) may need to dust off the headband for an end-of-season tilt.

North East has the double-header as well, hosting Camberwell on Saturday night before heading to Pakenham as the search for the first win continues. Liam Wright (18.19 PPG) and Richard Townsend-Gant (16.69PPG) have been gallant for the Bushrangers that said.

Coburg can surge to the top with wins over Maccabi and Wallan with Patrick Green (15.13PPG), James Weston (12.07PPG) and Jordan Harding (10.08PPG) towering over opponents this season.

Wallan has the double-header against Sherbrooke and Coburg this weekend as it will look towards Hayden Annett (15.14PPG) and Brent Radoslavic (12.53PPG) to continue their high-flying seasons. Sherbrooke has been well served by Eric Miraflores (17.45PPG) and Nicholas Spicer (14.17PPG). With both sides separated by just a solitary win, it will make for an intriguing game and one both sides would be desperate to take the points off and generate a bit of late-season form.

Fighting for third, Southern Peninsula will host Mildura on Saturday night before heading across the bridge to face Altona. A loss puts the Sharks into troubled waters near the edge of finals contention, so they will turn to Colin Voss (20.54PPG, 13.31RPG) and Dave Smith (10.44PPG, 9.11RPG) to stand up to the likes of Mildura star Calvin Henry (22.6PPG, 10.13RPG) as well as Altona tandem Nathaneal Coory (14.73PPG) and James Till (14.17PPG, 11RPG).

North East vs. Camberwell                                            Sat 7pm                                   Wangaratta Indoor Sports Cen.

Southern Peninsula vs. Mildura                                     Sat 7.30pm                              Hillview Stadium

Sherbrooke vs Wallan                                                   Sat 8pm                                   Belgrave Heights Chr. School

Craigieburn vs. Pakenham                                             Sat 8pm                                   Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Coburg vs. Maccabi                                                       Sat 8.30pm                              Coburg Basketball Stadium

Altona v Southern Peninsula                                         Sun 1pm                                   Altona Sports Centre

Pakenham v North East                                                 Sun 2pm                                   Cardinia Life

Wallan v Coburg                                                           Sun 2pm                                   RB Robson Stadium

Maccabi v Melton                                                         Sun 3pm                                   Bialik Stadium

Division Two Women

Even this far into the season, there’s still plenty to play for!

North East host Melb Uni in Wang and we have to go way back to March to get form on the matchups. Last time, the Black Angels recorded a comfortable win at Tin Alley with Melanie Fidler and Lauren Bellegante leading the charge while Rachel Jeffrey played all 40 on court for North East. If the Bushrangers can turn the tables with a home shed result, head to head might be important in the last round of the season.

A close encounter back in Round 7 at Collingwood might have the potential to be reprised this week at the Nest. Collingwood are coming off a hard fought road win against Melton, while the Eagles held off their opponents last week. At the moment Craigieburn are well placed for a top 2 finish and their final rounds will confirm their fate. They have to remember Wallan currently in P2 have a superior percentage and it’s set up for an amazing Round 18 clash. But they still need a week to week focus and will need to be wary of the All Stars making a run at finals contention themselves.

The Suns host the Panthers and even though Sherbrooke gave a great account last week, form is not their fiend and an upset win would certainly be that and almost certainly cement the Panthers to finish in second place at regular season’s end. That said with a nothing to lose attitude and a home crowd on side, Wallan will want to respect their opposition and play to the strengths they’ve exhibited all season.

Mornington are back home against Blackburn and share the best streak of Ws at the moment. Blackburn had a good run themselves last week and will be looking to carry that form against the Breakers. This is possibly a contender for Match of the Round as the winner can keep their slim finals hopes alive. Expect this to be a very exciting game where it is sure to be desperate stakes.

It was a watershed moment of sorts last time Coburg faced Wallan. A huge result in favour of the Panthers led to a structural re-think at the Giants. Wallan had a minor blip last week against Blackburn, and won’t want a repeat slip up. Despite Coburg’s improved efforts albeit without much reward, the Panthers might just be too strong here despite being their second game of the weekend.

North East vs. Melbourne Uni                                    Sat 5pm           Wangaratta Indoor Sports & Aquatic Centre.

Craigieburn vs. Collingwood                                       Sat 6pm           Craigieburn Sports Centre

Sherbrooke vs. Wallan                                               Sat 6pm           Belgrave Heights Christian School

Mornington vs. Blackburn                                          Sat 6:30pm      Mornington Basketball Stadium

Wallan vs. Coburg                                                       Sun 12pm        R B Robson Stadium

Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men

With only three rounds remaining of the regular season, there are still 14 teams alive in the race for the post-season. After a round they were prefer to forget, the Bulleen Boomers will be hoping to get back on the winners list in round 15. Losing both matches in round 14, the Boomers have seen their lead atop the Watson conference vanish and with only three rounds remaining need every victory to assure the top seed. For the McKinnon Cougars they are in survival mode. Struggling through three straight losses, the Cougars will be fighting for every rebound and scrapping for every loose ball in this weekend’s contests. Jordan Geer has been McKinnon’s star this season averaging 16.4 points and 7.7 rebounds a game, look for him to have another big match. Bulleen backs up Friday night with another tough game on Saturday against a revitalised Sherbrooke Suns squad. After seeing their top four rivals falter last weekend, the Suns are now only a win away from stealing the final playoff spot in the Terrill conference. Winning three of its last four games, Sherbrooke has benefitted from the outstanding play of Alistair Parker, averaging 16.3 over this run.

Dandenong have been sensational on the road this season, and look to improve their 8-1 record away from home when the Rangers take on the Magic at Boroondara Sports Complex. The Magic have had their own recent troubles, losing four of their last five, finally ending the slide in round 14 behind Joe Furphy’s huge double-double (33 points, 12 rebounds) against the Gators. Hawthorn hope he stars again this weekend.

The Vikings host McKinnon on Saturday night, in an encounter which could see the loser fall out of playoff contention. Blackburn had an interesting round 14, knocking off league leaders Bulleen on the Saturday but then fell a ferocious Eltham side on the Sunday. The Vikings will hope their recent hot shooting continues this weekend.

The Thunder announced themselves as a darkhorse for the title in round 14, but this game against the Sabres they can announce themselves as a true championship contender. Look for a big Thunder victory. Nunawading are the best defensive outfit in VYCM, and will showcase this stifling defensive pressure against the cellar-dwelling Altona Gators. The Spectres were disappointed not to secure the victory against an undermanned Dandenong in round 14, so will be hoping to bounce back at the Gators expense.

Melbourne needs to win every one of its remaining games to make it to the playoffs, and this contest against the Eagles will be a test of the Tigers might. The Eagles are proving to be a thorn in many team’s sides, continuing to battle and play at a level above their standing. A tough match for the Tigers.

The Eltham Wildcats are the form team in VCYM after an awesome round 14. Mark Scherf was sensational averaging 31.5 points across last weekend’s games. He will have another big game against the lowly Ringwood Hawks. Kilsyth and Keilor should be the game of the round as both teams battle for the top spots in the Watson conference. The Thunder are team with the better form, but the Cobras can strike at any time. Should be a great contest.

Sherbrooke should be too strong for the Gators. The Spectres welcome the Vikings to their home court on Sunday, and Nunawading will be hoping a win will seal its passage to the playoffs. But it could be an almighty task as the Vikings have been one of the best teams in the competition in the recent past. Winning four of its last five, Blackburn has overwhelmed opponents with defensive intensity during this run. Bul Niop was a star for the Vikings last round with 26 points and seven rebounds, he will need to be a star again if Blackburn stand any chance of the victory.

The match-up against the Sabres is a game the Magic need to win, and frankly they should win. They are the better squad and playing for their post-season lives. They will rely on Joe Furphy again to get them over the line.

Friday July 6, 2018

McKinnon Cougars vs. Bulleen Boomers             7:00pm            GESAC

Saturday July 7, 2018

Sherbrooke Suns vs. Bulleen Boomers               4:00pm             Belgrave Heights Christian School

Hawthorn Magic vs. Dandenong Rangers           5:30pm             Boroondara Sports Complex

Blackburn Vikings vs. McKinnon Cougars             6:00pm             Knox Basketball Stadium

Keilor Thunder vs. Sandringham Sabres             6:30pm             Keilor Basketball Stadium

Altona Gators vs. Nunawading Spectres             7:00pm             Altona Sports Centre

Melbourne Tigers vs. Diamond Valley Eagles      7:30pm             Oakleigh Recreation Centre

Eltham Wildcats vs. Ringwood Hawks                8:00pm             Eltham High School

Sunday July 8, 2018

Kilsyth Cobras vs. Keilor Thunder                      2:00pm             Kilsyth Sports Centre

Sherbrooke Suns vs. Altona Gators                    2:00pm             Belgrave Heights Christian School

Nunawading Spectres vs. Blackburn Vikings       2:30pm             Nunawading Basketball Stadium

Sandringham Sabres vs. Hawthorn Magic           4:30pm             Nunn Media Basketball Centre

Molten Victorian Youth Championship Women

The round 15 match-ups have the potential to define the 2018 season for VYCW. With the first placed teams locked in the battle for the remaining top four places is wide open. Who will make it… and who will drop out. Round 15 may provided the answers. Riding a 3-game winning streak the Nunawading Spectres should make it four straight when they visit the Altona Gators to open the round. The Spectres have ramped up their defensive intensity during the winning streak holding opponents to 51.4 points per contest. While benefitting from a complete team effort having five players score in double-figures in round 14. Destiny Liu has been the Gators best player over the recent rounds, starring with 21 points and 13 rebounds last weekend. She will need another huge game if Altona have any chance to defeat the higher ranked Spectres.

The Tigers have won four straight games but will face their biggest test when they host the Diamond Valley Eagles. Amelia Smith was the Eagles star with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the round 14 victory. Sandringham is a class above the field in season 2018, already enjoying a 13-game winning streak, the Sabres now face the bottom-placed Hume City Broncos. Meg Ragauskas had 20 points in Sandringham’s last contest, and should have another field day when the Sabres head to the Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium.

Annabel Deerbon and Mikaela Miller starred for the Hawks in round 14, combining for 39 points in the victory. The duo will need to be on song to defeat a Kilsyth Cobras side that is fighting for a top four position. Kilsyth continue to rely on their defensive prowess to win games, but it will be challenged by Ringwood’s potent offensive firepower.

The Venom welcome the Rangers to their home court on Saturday night, in a match-up where both teams will be playing for pride. Warrandyte have been battling to end its horror 12-game losing streak, but Dandenong should be too strong in round 15. Grace Beasley continues to be one of, if not, the best player in VYCW, and will need another big game for the Falcons to see off the challenging Ballarat Rush. Waverley want to play play-off basketball and this a game they need to win to make that a reality.

The Cobras back up on the Sunday hosting the Dandenong Rangers. The Rangers have the opportunity to tarnish the finals aspirations of Kilsyth, the Cobras won by six points the last time the teams met in round 7, and will hope to get the same result this weekend. In what could be the game of the round, the Nunawading Spectres and Melbourne Tigers will battle in a league leading contest. The Tigers are the best defensive outfit in the league and will rely on this defensive tenacity to remain in second place in the Watson conference.

Knox are only a sole game out of the top four, and the match-up against the Magic could be the defining moment of the Raiders season. A win and the play-off dream is alive, a loss and the dream is over. Massive stakes are in play. The Ringwood Hawks travel to MARS to face the Ballarat Rush on Sunday afternoon. Ringwood have albeit assured the top spot in the Watson conference, so this could be an opportunity for the Rush to catch the Falcons napping. This one has upset alert written all over it. Bendigo are in the post-season fight, and a match-up against the Boomers could see the Braves move up to second place. Danielle O’Toole needs to have a big game for Bendigo.

Saturday July 7, 2018

Altona Gators vs. Nunawading Spectres             5:00pm             Altona Sports Centre

Melbourne Tigers vs. Diamond Valley Eagles      5:30pm             Oakleigh Recreation Centre

Hume City Broncos vs. Sandringham Sabres       6:00pm             Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Ringwood Hawks vs. Kilsyth Cobras                   6:00pm             The Rings

Warrandyte Venom vs. Dandenong Rangers      6:00pm             Warrandyte Sports Centre

Waverley Falcons vs. Ballarat Rush                    8:15pm             Waverley Basketball Centre

Sunday July 8, 2018

Kilsyth Cobras vs. Dandenong Rangers               12:00pm          Kilsyth Sports Centre

Nunawading Spectres vs. Melbourne Tigers       12:30pm          Nundawading Basketball Stadium

Hawthorn Magic vs. Knox Raiders                      1:00pm             Boroondara Sports Complex

Ballarat Rush vs. Ringwood Hawks                     1:00pm             MARS Minerdome

Bulleen Boomers vs. Bendigo Braves                 1:30pm             East Doncaster Secondary College

Youth League One Men

With only three rounds remaining the competition is heating up. With some surprising results in round 14, the match-ups in round 15, will be instrumental in deciding the final order come play-off time. Let’s check out the games. Werribee will be eagerly anticipating taking the court Friday night. After a disappointing result in round 14, being upset by a single point by Bendigo. The Devils will be looking to make amends at the Casey Cavaliers expense. Werribee has won three of its last five games but have seen its usually stifling defence tested in these contests. Look for the Devils to get back to business at the expense of Casey. While for the Cavaliers it has been a tough stretch of games winning only one of their past five. But after pushing the Falcons to the brink in round 14, Casey should have a lot of confidence they can hang with any team in YL1M.

The Stingrays have the tough task of trying to slow the Waverley Falcons in round 15. After stumbling against the Dragons last weekend, Corio Bay is now in the danger zone of falling down the standings. With so many teams battling in the final few rounds, the Stingrays will hope the Falcons are content with stitching up the second place on the table. Waverley have been the defensive stalwarts in the competition this season but have seen their usual tenacity tested recently. After holding opponents to an average of 68.5 on the season, the Falcons have allowed opposition teams to score an average of 79.8 in their last five matches. This late season defensive lapse could cause problems for the Waverley team if they are unable to rediscover its defensive focus heading into the finals.

Ballarat are looking to extend its winning streak to a fourth game on Saturday as they travel to face the cellar-dwelling Coburg Giants. After dominating the Warrandyte Venom on the glass in round 14, the Miners have discovered a formula to success in the late season. Ross Weightman has been outstanding recently, including the stellar stat line of 20 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in round 14, look for him to have another big game against the Giants.

The Devils back up Friday night, with a Saturday night showdown with the Venom. With Warrandyte clinging to the sixth spot on the ladder, the Venom will be scrappy and pesky all over their homecourt to come away with the win. Cody Perry-Allamby has been incredible this season for Warrandyte, averaging 19.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, he is going to need another monster double-double if the Venom have any chance of the victory.

Geelong used a complete team effort to win in round 14, recording an impressive 30 assists in the win. They will need that stellar ball movement again to defeat a Camberwell Dragons squad that are becoming a difficult game for the competition’s top teams. The Dragons played the Jets tough a few weeks back and will look to go better and get the win against the Supercats in round 15.

Sunbury have been the premier team this season, losing the lone game in the past 20 outings. This should be another dominant victory against the bottom-placed Coburg Giants. The Falcons take flight against the Broncos on Sunday with Waverley looking to complete the sweep of games on the weekend. Waverley demolished Hume City by 30 points when the teams last met in round 7, and the Falcons will look again to inflict the damage on the lowly Broncos. Look for Falcons star Cody Fredrickson to have a big game in the contest.

Corio Bay ends the round with a trip to face the Casey Cavaliers. With much riding on the game for both squads, this should be a cracking encounter between two of the best defensive teams in YL1M.

Friday July 6, 2018

Werribee Devils vs. Casey Cavaliers                   7:00pm             Eagle Stadium

Saturday July 7, 2018

Corio Bay Stingrays vs. Waverley Falcons           6:00pm             Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Coburg Giants vs. Ballarat Miners                      6:30pm             Coburg Basketball Stadium

Hume City Broncos vs. Bendigo Braves              8:00pm             Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium

Warrandyte Venom vs. Werribee Devils            8:00pm             Warrandyte Sports Complex

Sunday July 8, 2018

Geelong Supercats vs. Camberwell Dragons       12:00pm          AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Sunbury Jets vs. Coburg Giants                          12:00pm          Boardman Stadium

Waverley Falcons vs. Hume City Broncos           12:30pm          Waverley Basketball Centre

Casey Cavaliers vs. Corio Bay Stingrays               2:00pm             Casey Stadium

Youth League One Women

Just the four games on the Youth League One Women’s slate throughout Round 15, however it looks as though there’s a couple of key fixtures that are on display.

The ever improving Chelsea kicks the weekend off with an early home fixture against the Keilor Thunder. The Thunder, who were clipped back off the top of the table by the Jets last week will be keen to make amends. With a 7-1 road record, Keilor have the runs on the board to make this a comprehensive victory, however this looks far more one sided on paper than in reality. Katie Byrne got going for the Thunder last week, while for the Gulls watch out for Chloe Breznjak to continue to lead the front on offence.

Corio Bay have been hampered in terms of personnel numbers, however the Stingrays are doing everything possible to stick in for the fight to the finals. Just the six players were on hand last weekend when Keilor got the best of them, however there were some positive signs to take out of the contest. Nikita Aston played her part, as did Carly Vuillermin. The biggest talking point at practice will be minimising the 36 turnovers conceded and rapidly reducing that number. Geelong come into the game off a horrid fourth term and eventual defeat to McKinnon. Jaimee Crombie and Carly Sanders have been productive for the season, however Tim Sanderson’s girls will need to find a third and fourth cog if they are to see deep action in the post-season. The Supercats start favourite in this South Western battle.

Eltham have seemed like they’ve done it tough in season 2018, having seen a complete makeover from their 2017 VYCW outfit. Ellen Horsley has been a find off the bench, nearly averaging a double double for the season thus far. As the ‘Cats look into the future, it’s time for another handful of players to really step up over the coming weeks and put themselves forward as key pillars for the clubs future. Sunbury enter Saturday night’s game on top of the leaderboard and primed for another tilt at a title. Can the Youth League side replicate (to a point) their senior counterparts by successfully defending their crown at a higher level?

Finally, McKinnon are the team to watch in Round 15 as the 5th placed Cougs are attempting to charge into the finals. With a poor home record so far this season, Chelsea Bransden and Tamara Booth will be looking to buck that trend and turn GESAC into a place feared by opponents as they attempt to gun down either (or both) Camberwell or Geelong. Craigieburn are the Cougars opponents on the lone Sunday afternoon fixture and it will be pivotal that the home side take all the points from this game if they are to continue to stand a chance throughout the run home. For the Eagles, Casey Valenti-Paea had an awesome June taking home Player of the Month and has slotted into the Craigieburn line-up gracefully. They were in need of a scorer, and she could be the trump card to McKinnon’s playoffs hopes.

Chelsea vs. Keilor                                            Sat 4pm                                   Patterson River Stadium

Corio Bay vs. Geelong                                     Sat 4pm                                   Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Eltham vs. Sunbury                                         Sat 6pm                                   Eltham High School

McKinnon vs. Craigieburn                               Sun 1pm                                  GESAC

Youth League Two Men

Just a month of regular season basketball takes place in 2018 for our Youth League Two Men counterparts and besides the finals, this is where the action well and truly starts to heat up. Which six teams will be left in the kitchen come August when the cooking starts to begin?

Chelsea and Maccabi kick us off in the early Saturday night fixture and the Gulls have found some relative form as of late. Two wins on the trot, all while Aaron Frost is carving up a storm earning himself Player of the Month honours (June) has Chelsea shining some light on an otherwise disappointing season. Maccabi seem to be headed in the other direction and have now nearly matched Chelsea in their seasonal record, now slipping to three straight losses, including four of the last five. Idan Shamis and Frost are the two to watch here.  The Gulls back it up on Sunday as they head out to Darebin for a clash with the All Stars. Deng Dut has been put on the scene after his excellent Australian Junior Championships campaign last year and he’s paired with Athiaan Manyiel to provide a big spark in the Collingwood line-up. Sitting pretty in second, the home side will be looking to ice their spot in the top four with a couple of Round 15 victories. They can nab two wins in one weekend because they’ve been gifted a second successive home match, as the All Stars host Keysborough on Saturday night. A 7-2 home record for Collingwood means that the Cougars will have to be locked in from the get-go, as Jonathon Selhorst, Cal Morgan and co will all need to step up.

The Cougs could use some more Louse Agon magic on the Sunday when Mornington come to visit. The Breakers have been without star Lachie Baczyk now for a few weeks and should now have a more settled and balanced line-up. Mornington are sitting just on the edge of the top six (6th) and this game could potentially go a long way in determining whether they stay up on the wall, or crash out before it’s even begun (Humpty Dumpty style stuff!). The Breakers too play twice this weekend, with a home contest against Latrobe City sure to bring good fortune on Saturday night. It hasn’t been the Energy’s debut dream year to say the least, and another determined effort is all their coaching staff could ask for.

Whittlesea host Wallan on Saturday night in what should be a win for the home side. The Panthers haven’t been chomping at the bit once they hit the road this year (2-8) and the Pacers would certainly like to improve their .500 home record at that. Gabe Evans was very good last week, while James Henderson provides a big offensive load for the Pacers.

Craigieburn head to Western Port in an important clash for both sides actually; the Eagles looking to get back into Top-2 calculations, while for the Steelers, they just want a look In at the finals equations as they sit half a game out before R15 begins. Dut Dut has been excellent for the Eagles this season and has really taken his game to another level, while Abraham Solano continues his consistent output. Speaking of consistent, Jack Duff mirrors that for the Steelers, while they’d love Matt Theobald to catch fire like he did not long ago against Pakky. Speaking of Pakenham, the Warriors head to Craigieburn to round out the Eagles double header and it’s a barnburning 50/50 game. The Warriors will have the same intentions as the hosts with both teams near the mark of Top-2/Top-4 sides this season. Can either of them break through the likes of Melton, Frankston and Collingwood?

After mentioning those teams, there’s really no bigger match-up in Round 15 than when the weekend concludes with Frankston and Melton. Both teams have won four of their last five and the Blues are undefeated on home court (8-0). It’s very much a team sport, but these are the games where you just love to watch one or two individuals just really stand out and perform. Gryf Pugh, Ryan Well, Josh Cleary, Bol Bak, Broden Collins and Fernando Rios-Rodriguez all have those traits.

Chelsea vs. Maccabi                                          Sat 6pm                                               Patterson River Stadium

Whittlesea vs. Wallan                                       Sat 6:30pm                                          Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Collingwood vs. Keysborough                           Sat 7pm                                               Darebin Stadium

Western Port vs. Craigieburn                            Sat 7pm                                               David Collins Indoor Stadium

Mornington vs. Latrobe City                              Sat 8:30pm                                          Mornington Basketball Stadium

Craigieburn vs. Pakenham                                 Sun 12pm                                             Craigieburn Leisure Centre

Maccabi vs. Western Port                                 Sun 1pm                                               Bialik Stadium

Keysborough vs. Mornington                            Sun 1pm                                               Rowville Secondary College

Collingwood vs. Chelsea                                     Sun 3pm                                               Darebin Stadium

Frankston vs. Melton                                        Sun 3:30pm                                          Frankston Basketball Stadium


Youth League Two Women

Round 15 will see a number of teams looking to make amends for out of character showings in round 14. With only three rounds of the regular season remaining, this weekend’s schedule of games should make for some incredible games.

The Southern Peninsula Sharks will host the Werribee Devils to tip-off the action of round 15. The Sharks have played some inconsistent basketball losing three of their last five games. This round’s match-up against the Devils will give Southern Pen the opportunity to right the ship before the finals get underway. The best way for the Sharks to get back to their last season form is to lock in on the defensive end. Southern Pen have been holding opponents a measly 57.5 points per game this season and that defensive has alluded them over the recent few rounds. Look for them to find this defensive focus at the Devils expense.

The Pakenham Warriors have discovered some devastating form winning four of the past five match-ups including the sensational defeat of league leaders Casey Cavaliers in round 14. Pakenham has been fuelled by Rhiannon Gallagher’s outstanding play, with Gallagher posting the impressive 26 points and eight rebounds last round. Ellie Coutts has been the Warriors best player on the season averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds on the season. Next up on their schedule are the Sherbrooke Suns. The Suns have struggled in season 2018, only recording the sole victory. Currently enduring a 5-game losing streak, the Suns misery looks to continue in round 15. Look for a ferocious Casey Cavaliers outfit to bounce back in round 15. After suffering through their first two losses of the season in back-to-back outings. The Cavaliers will welcome the cellar-dwelling Mornington Breakers to the Casey Stadium on Sunday. Casey will hope the two consecutive losses is simply put down to the late-season malaise after dominating the YL2W season to this point. But a third straight defeat, especially to the Breakers will set off alarm bells.

Frankston and Whittlesea should be the game of round 15. Both teams are fighting for their post-season lives. Tied on the same record and with only three games remaining, this match-up could result in the winner seeing their path to the post-season assured. With both teams coming off of solid victories, it will be a matter of what defence will keep the other team’s star under control. Will Franskton be able to stop Hailey Wynd or will the Pacers be able to stop Sarah Young. We will wait to see.

Blackburn welcomes the Steelers to Knox Basketball Stadium to finish round 15, which could have massive implications for both teams. A loss for the Western Port Steelers and they are eliminated from the post-season race. But a win and they keep their slim chance of qualification alive. But the bigger implications could be for the Blackburn Vikings. Currently sitting in fourth place, a loss could have devastating consequences for the Vikings, it could see them slip down the standings. But a win and will albeit secure their place in the post-season and battle for the championship. A game with arguably the most riding on it for the round. Should be a cracking contest.

Saturday July 7, 2018

Southern Peninsula Sharks vs. Werribee Devils         5:30pm            Hillview Stadium

Sunday July 8, 2018

Sherbrooke Suns vs. Pakenham Warriors                  12:00pm          Belgrave Heights Christian School

Casey Cavaliers vs. Mornington Breakers                  12:00pm          Casey Stadium

Frankston Blues vs. Whittlesea Pacers                       1:30pm            Frankston Basketball Stadium

Blackburn Vikings vs. Western Port Steelers             2:00pm            Knox Basketball Stadium

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