Round 17 + Elimination Final 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

Knox will try to stay alive when they head to Corio Bay to take on the lowly Stingrays. The Raiders sit seventh with an 11-9 record, a game behind Casey (12-8) and half a game behind McKinnon (11-8). On paper this should be a win for the visitors, given the ‘Rays have won just two games in 2018, but stranger things have happened when teams are under pressure to perform. Anything short of victory could prove fatal to their season, but the ball is in their court and they have a big chance to stay alive right here.

Eltham can move closer to securing a top two spot when they welcome Hume City. The Wildcats are in a great spot to challenge for the title this season but the top two is crucial to improving their chances. The Broncos have fallen away badly after a brief mid-season revival and will need a drastic improvement in performance to challenge the Wildcats on their home floor for 40 minutes. Plenty on the line for the home side and based on what we’ve seen this season the ‘Cats will continue their charge here.

McKinnon faces another must-win clash when they host Werribee. The Cougars have steadied after their season was in free-fall for weeks, and are currently clinging to the final playoffs spot. To survive the final fortnight and see August action they simply must beat the Devils – a side who has lost six straight games and sit third last – on their home floor. A loss will be nothing short of a disaster, but luckily there has been nothing from their opponents of late to suggest an upset is brewing.

Hawthorn and Waverley will go toe-to-toe in a top four clash that could determine the shape of the finals. The victor will stay in touch with the top two and claim third spot heading into the final round of matches, while the loser will all-but be resigned to finishing fourth. The Magic have the advantage of playing at home, where they are 8-1 this season, but the Falcons have been able to accumulate 7 wins of their own on the road. This is a toss of the coin, so buckle up, sit back and enjoy a quality contest between two evenly matched contenders.

Ringwood will look to lock in top spot with a win over McKinnon. The Cougars are desperate to keep the win column ticking over with a spot in August on the line, but there is no tougher place to get a win than at the Rings. The Hawks have been patchy, by their lofty standards, in the back end of the season, but are yet to lose at home and that trend should continue here against the inconsistent visitors.

Keilor will search for a fourth straight win when they tackle Casey to close out the round. The Thunder have enjoyed a late season purple patch of form that will hold them in good stead as they head into 2019. The Cavs, meanwhile, look set to play finals but are not locked in just yet. They have been poor on the road this season with a 3-6 record away from home, and a matchup with the red-hot Thunder will be tough. Win and they secure their spot in the post-season, it’s as simple as that.

Corio Bay vs Knox                                            Sat 6:30pm                              Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

Eltham vs Hume City                                       Sat 8pm                                   Eltham High School

McKinnon vs Werribee                                   Sat 8pm                                   GESAC

Hawthorn vs Waverley                                   Sun 1pm                                  Boroondara Sports Complex

Ringwood vs McKinnon                                   Sun 2pm                                  The Rings

Keilor vs Casey                                                Sun 3:30pm                             Keilor Basketball Stadium


State Championship Women

Wildcats (2-­‐14) vs Thunder (5-­‐10)

Eltham appears destined for the wooden spoon and will face the prospect of dropping to Div 1 in 2019, though a couple of wins to finish off the season could save them. Up against Keilor, the Wildcats aren’t without a chance, but just one win from eight games at home isn’t exactly the best form to take into battle. Keilor was brilliant last week and really look to be building the right blocks for a strong future in the top flight. If Smith, Bollmann and Babic get going in this game it’s extremely hard to see the home team getting a must-­‐win.

Sharks (10-­‐6) vs Broncos (9-­‐7)

It’s a simple equation for Hume City – they have to beat Sth Peninsula in this game, and then upset Waverley on the road next week. You would think Ringwood will find a way to beat Eltham next week, so the Broncos know the task at hand. They can’t afford to lose. They could certainly make life easier and release the pressure valve (a little) by winning this game, but a trip to the Shark Tank is never easy, especially when you look at the current form of Jaz Shelley and her team. The Sharks will start favourite, but it will be a desperate Broncos outfit, capably led by Nicole Zammit. It’s all on the line here, the visitors have to throw everything they’ve got at the Sharks and go another step further to putting a finals spot to bed.

Boomers (3-­‐13) vs Jets (11-­‐5)

Not a lot for the Boomers to play for, while for the Jets it’s all about locking in third sport and with it a double chance. Sunbury has won six straight and are in form at the right end of the season. The reigning champs look fresh and ready to give the finals a real crack. Josie Stockill is on national duty and will miss this one, but the Jets have great depth and will cover the loss. Jasmine Hines and Sarah Boothe have been most impressive for Bulleen and can hold their heads high, but they just haven’t had the support required to be further up the ladder. Hard to believe this is a re-­‐match of last year’s grand finalists as it will probably be one-­‐way traffic in favour of the Jets.

Cougars (4-­‐12) vs Raiders (14-­‐2)

With finals just around the corner the visiting Raiders won’t mess about, they’ll come out with their usual lock-­‐ down mentality and get on top of the Cougars early. It hasn’t been a season with too much to celebrate for the Cougars, but they will be keen to give their home fans something to cheer about here. Can they cause an upset?

Thunder (5-­‐10) vs Falcons (13-­‐3)

Keilor is back in action on Sunday as they welcome the Falcons – who boast a 7-­‐1 record on the road this season. Waverley is a legit title threat this season, they have plenty of height and strength, usually move the ball well and have some genuine scoring stars. Bowen, Cunningham and Mokrzycki all got amongst it last week and will be hoping to keep that form rolling here with a win against the Thunder.

Round 17
Eltham vs Keilor Sat 6pm Eltham High School
Sth Peninsula vs Hume City Sat 6pm Hillview Stadium
Bulleen vs Sunbury Sat 7pm East Doncaster Secondary College
McKinnon vs Knox Sun 1pm GESAC
Keilor vs Waverley Sun 1:30pm Keilor Basketball Stadium


Division One Men

Gulls (18-­‐3) vs All Stars (7-­‐14): Chelsea has won 11 straight and should breeze through this game. Though they have been competitive for the most part this season, Collingwood has lost four of their last five matches and would like nothing better than to cause a big upset here. However, Standerfer, Brasser and Riggs will get the job done.

Gators (17-­‐4) vs Venom (11-­‐9): A huge weekend for Warrandyte as they look to upset one (or both) of the competition’s top two teams, which you would think will then position them nicely to also win a finals berth. The visitors are capable of turning it on, especially on the back of some ruthless defence, but they have some of the best players in the comp to stop here and that will take some doing. Can the Venom stay alive with a massive upset?

Jets (4-­‐18) vs Black Angels (11-­‐10): Like those above them (Warrandyte & Warrnambool), the Black Angels have to keep winning and given the lowly position of their opponent the visitors should get the job done. Nick Masunda is going as good as anyone right now and though they’ll try to stop him, you can’t help but feel another 30-­‐plus game is on the way – along with another win for the Black Angels.

Steelers (15-­‐7) vs Boomers (10-­‐11): Bulleen has an outside chance of making finals, but their destiny is now in the hands of at least three other teams. What they can do is keep on winning in the hope of others stumbling, but that task is a big one given they face the finals-­‐bound Steelers. Dylan Travis is flying and won’t let this one slip.

Seahawks (13-­‐9) vs Supercats (8-­‐13): Warrnambool has won three in a row and are starting to firm for finals, while Geelong has lost their last two and are well out of contention. These two neighbours usually put on a good show and this time around the Supercats can just take a free swing in the hope of making life tough for the Seahawks. Given the form we saw Xavier Blount in last week you can mark this down as a Seahawks win.

Pacers (6-­‐15) vs Cougars (16-­‐5): Keysborough has been a delight to watch this season and they look a legitimate chance come finals time, but they’ll need to be very careful of the unpredictable Pacers. With Dom Bruno back with the Pacers and in blistering form, the home team is not without a chance. If Newby and Enge do their thing, and Morwood continues his supportive form, the visitors will get it, but they would want to avoid any complacency.

Venom (11-­‐9) vs Gulls (18-­‐3): Shepparton last night, and now the impressive Gulls. With a finals berth on the line the Venom couldn’t have wanted for a tougher weekend, but the experienced Coach Charles would be the first to say that you have to beat the best to be the best. A super test for Warrandyte and one win will keep their season alive, however a couple of losses will make life a whole lot tougher. Can the home team clip the Gulls?

Black Angels (11-­‐10) vs Pacers (6-­‐15): Another two teams backing up and on their home deck Melbourne Uni will start warm favourites. If the Black Angels can take down both Sunbury and Whittlesea, two of the bottom three teams by the way, then they will be well placed to pounce on Warrandyte, and maybe Warrnambool if they slip up against Geelong. It’s going to be a tight race for the final six and you can absolutely expect the Black Angels to be right in the middle of that battle.

Chelsea vs Collingwood Sat 7pm Patterson River Stadium
Shepparton vs Warrandyte Sat 7:30pm Shepparton Sports Stadium
Sunbury vs Melbourne Uni Sat 8pm Boardman Stadium
Western Port vs Bulleen Sat 8pm David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre
Warrnambool vs Geelong Sat 8pm The Arc
Whittlesea vs Keysborough Sat 8:30pm Mill Park
Warrandyte vs Chelsea Sun 2pm Warrandyte Sports Complex
Melbourne Uni vs Whittlesea Sun 3pm Melbourne University Sports Centre


Division One Women

THE pecking order has seemingly sorted itself out at the top and tail of the D1W ladder… but there’s plenty left to play for in the middle.

Geelong, Whittlesea, Werribee, Hawthorn and Camberwell remain in the mix for the last three spots in the finals and a single slip up now could prove catastrophic.

Camberwell has the simplest equation – win big and hope. It faces Chelsea on Sunday afternoon with Tahlia Higgs (12.47PPG) and Sarah Stone (9.68PPG) needing to fire up for the Dragons with three games to go.

Chelsea is playing for pride and needs to arrest a form-slump which has seen the Gulls drop four of the last five games. Chelsea has the double-header this weekend facing the rampaging Cavaliers with Raynisha Washington (18.61PPG) and Kelly Gardiner (8.84PPG) needing to clamp down the likes of Tanarly Hood (14.15PPG) and Jamie-Lee Jeffs (13.15PPG).

Hawthorn has a must-win against Warrandyte and a win will help push its case for a top-six spot. Broenna O’Conner (14.92PPG) and Lara Edmanson (13.91PPG) impressed last week and will need to fire against the likes of Rachel Wansborough (10.88PPG) and Ellie Locke (7.79PPG).

Latrobe City has a double header against Whittlesea and Werribee and the Energy could still ruffle some feathers and upset the finals hopes of Pacers and Devils alike. Makenzie Miller (15.84PPG, 12.95RPG) is in elite form alongside Jade Melbourne (15PPG). A win for Whittlesea or Werribee all but shuts the door on Camberwell and effectively Hawthorn too. They’ll look to LT Poa (12.42PPG) and Giulia Dinunzio (10.63PPG) and Alyssa Bennett (18.05PPG) and Jessy Price (13.35PPG) respectively to get that done.

The match of the round  – Warrnambool v Geelong – is a must-win for the Supercats to keep the chasers at bay as they turn towards Caitlin Shadbolt (12.89PPG), Georgia Varley (10.84PPG) and Tess Feery (8.47PPG, 11.12RPG) against the Mermaids’ stars Amy Wormald (20PPG, 11.6RPG), Katie O’Keefe (11.94PPG) and Holly Greene (11.94PPG, 8.7RPG).

Mildura faces Western Port on Saturday night with the Heat looking to continue a two-game winning streak through the likes of Vanessa Power (22.8PPG) and Alexis Gassion (20.3PPG) while Western Port will look to Rachel Winters (14.95PPG) and Attirah Munir (10.76PPG).

Warrnambool  vs. Geelong                                        Sat 6pm                                   The Arc Sports Stadium

Whittlesea vs. Latrobe City                                         Sat 6.30pm                              Mill Park Basketball Stadium

Mildura vs. Western Port                                            Sat 7pm                                   Toyota Hothouse

Casey vs. Chelsea                                                        Sat 8pm                                   Casey Stadium

Warrandyte vs. Hawthorn                                          Sun 12pm                                Warrandyte Sports Complex

Chelsea vs. Camberwell                                              Sun 1pm                                  Patterson River Stadium

Latrobe City vs. Werribee                                           Sun 2pm                                  Latrobe Leisure Traralgon


Division Two Men

IT’S do or die for Maccabi and Pakenham as these Warriors line-ups need to sweep up their remaining clashes to remain in the hunt for the title.

Pakenham won’t be favoured heading into its clash against high-flying Coburg but the Warriors will need to find a lot out of Josh Bjelan (15.54PPG) and Ben Gaze (14.65PPG) to counter the Giants all-conquering Patrick Green (15.1PPG), Jeremiah Juric (13.79PPG) and Mweemba Maluma (12.62PPG).

Maccabi has a much better chance facing Wallan on Sunday as Jared Mintz (18.5PPG,11.56RPG) and Adam Klas (15.37PPG) will need to fire on all cylinders to keep the Warriors’ slim chances alive. On the other side, Hayden Annett (15.56PPG) and Luke Liesegang (12.83PPG) have been shining lights for the Panthers. Annett is playing for three now as he celebrates the recent birth of his son Austin. Wallan follows up on Sunday as the Panthers battle Altona from 1pm away as the Gators look towards James Till (14.86PPG, 10.71RPG) and Nathanael Coory (14.73PPG) to get the job done as they have done throughout the 2018 season so far. Altona faces Coburg on Saturday evening as well to round out the double-headers across the league this weekend.

Southern Peninsula battles Camberwell at home on Saturday night as they battle for bragging rights and third spot heading into the playoffs. Colin Voss (19.65PPG, 12.24RPG) and Corey Bond (16.25PPG) have been elite this season for the Sharks while Nathaniel O’Hara (20.93PPG) has flown the flag for the Dragons in league with Matthew Zappala (10PPG).

Another top-six showdown pits Mildura against Craigieburn on Saturday night as the Eagles look to earn back top place on the ladder while the Heat can solidify fifth and push towards fourth heading into the last round. Calvin Henry (22PPG, 10.53RPG) has been elite throughout this year alongside Brent Symons (15.6PPG) and Dallas Brown (15.11PPG) while Craigieburn’s Damon Smith (18.3PPG) and Liam Watt (14.38PPG) have impressed for Craigieburn. North East will be next up against Mildura, as the Bushrangers try to put their first win on the board. They’re playing for pride at this stage of the year and have been well served by Lloyd Wright (23PPG), Liam Wright (17.3PPG) and Richard Townsend-Gant (16.67PPG, 12.27RPG).

Sherbrooke faces Melton at home on Sunday and will be out to bounce back onto the winners list through the likes of evergreen Big V guard Eric Miraflores (17.45PPG) and Nicholas Spicer (14.8PPG). But it won’t be easy for the Suns as the Thoroughbreds need to pick up the win to shut the door on Maccabi and Pakenham and secure a finals berth. Expect the double-double kings in Emmanuel Malou (19.41PPG), Dexter Graham (18PPG) and Wol Wol Ngong (13.71PPG) to put up some impressive numbers as they search for win number 12.

Craigieburn vs. Mildura                                              Sat 8pm                                   Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Southern Pen. vs. Camberwell                                   Sat 8pm                                   Hillview Stadium

Wallan vs. Maccabi                                                     Sat 8pm                                   RB Robson Stadium

Coburg vs. Altona                                                       Sat 8.30pm                              Coburg Basketball Stadium

Altona vs. Wallan                                                       Sun 1pm                                  Altona Sports Centre

North East vs. Mildura                                                Sun 1pm                                  Wangaratta Indoor Sports Centre

Sherbrooke vs. Melton                                               Sun 2pm                                  Belgrave Heights

Pakenham vs. Coburg                                                 Sun 4pm                                  Cardinia Life


Division Two Women

The penultimate round and two big games to keep a close eye on.

After their home court victory over ladder leaders Craigieburn, Melbourne Uni return to the scene of their triumph to host 2nd placed Wallan. The Panthers have a sizeable percentage over the Black Angels but lost the corresponding game at home earlier in the season. It will be interesting to see how the game pans out. Will both teams use it as a competitive hit-out to win the mind game going in to the finals, or as note taking and planning for the weeks ahead.

Moving from Fort Knox, that new pine smell will greet Blackburn as they host a crucial game against Collingwood at Mullum Mullum Stadium. A win for the visitors could catapult them from 6th to 4th with head to head advantage over both teams ahead. A win for the Vikings will see them in August action.

Very much a danger game coming up this weekend for the North Easters as they suit up for the last time in the regular season against Melton on the road. Last time these teams played, it went down to the wire with the Thoroughbreds recording a win in Wang.  Melton are still a slim mathematical chance if they can record another win at home and find success in Belgrave.  They could then hold their own destiny against Collingwood in the final round. If the Bushrangers can collect the road win, they’ll be watching nervously next week to see if they are in the post-season. Ironically, they might be hoping for Melton to win their Round 18 game at home to assist them.

The Sherbroke Suns face a daunting prospect as they travel down the hill to face Craigieburn, then back to Belgrave to host Melton. The Eagles have been getting it done all year, and form doesn’t expect the Home side to come away with a loss.  The battle of the two debutant teams for this season could be interesting. The Suns have a great supportive crowd and their last two games being at home could provide inspiration with a nothing to lose approach.  Last time, the Suns came very close to securing their second win so they will know they have the ability if all clicks. For Melton, the stakes are incredibly high and a loss this weekend in either game would be devastating, given how competitive they’ve been all season.

Exciting stuff as the season chequered flag is in sight!

Craigieburn vs. Sherbrooke                                         Sat 6pm           Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Melbourne Uni vs. Wallan                                         Sat 7pm           Melbourne University Sports Centre

Melton vs. North East                                                 Sat 8pm           Melton Indoor Recreation Centre

Blackburn vs. Collingwood                                          Sat 8pm           Mullum Mullum Stadium

Sherbrooke vs. Melton                                               Sun 12pm        Belgrave Heights Christian School


Molten Victorian Youth Championship Men

Eltham (2ndT) vs. Kilsyth (3rdW)

SAT 4pm Eltham High School 

Meetings this season

R3: Kilsyth 75 def by Eltham 91

From The Coaches

Greg Jeffers (Eltham)

Despite this being the 3rd finals appearance in 4 years, the boys, especially those with a few years under their belt, have wanted a chance to play in front of our people in finals and this week represents that chance. Our club has such a strong feeling around it and that’s proven by the crowds this year, something that has driven us all season to finish top 2 to get this opportunity. Personally, I am looking forward to coaching against a champion of our sport in Mark Landells, who has his team primed at the right time of the year. Mark’s teams are always strong, and his system has them placed as the highest scoring team in the competition. However, we have a very deep roster and over the course of the season we’ve demonstrated any one of our 12 players having the ability to step up if required and an ability to rotate heavily gives us different looks constantly both offensively and defensively. Kilsyth are a consistently strong VYCM outfit with a load of finals experience, but we are certainly up for the challenge in front of our home crowd.” 

Mark Landells (Kilsyth)

“This weekend presents a great challenge to measure our development and growth as a team over the course of the season. We have had injuries right from pre-season and a very young group so it has been a big learning curve but we have seen our younger players step up and play significant roles. Consistency has been a problem and yet, bar one game, we have shown the ability to pull in a deficit and compete with every team in the competition. Eltham have been consistently good all year and have great depth. Playing them at their home court will be a tough task to get a win. However, the opportunity to compete with one of the best teams in VYCM is certainly an exciting prospect.” 

Overview

The Wildcats have finished the regular season with a ferocious streak winning five straight games by an average margin of 14.4 points heading into the post-season. While the Cobras have limped into third spot in the Watson conference, winning one of their last four games. But Kilsyth have Jorden Adnam. The Cobras star has averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds in his last six games and will need a huge game for his team to advance.

Prediction – Eltham by 2 (OT)

 

Bulleen (2ndW) vs. Nunawading (3rdT)

SAT 5pm East Doncaster Secondary College 

Meetings this season

R13: Bulleen 77 def Nunawading 75

From The Coaches

Matt Foster (Bulleen)

We are looking forward to having a fully fit team for the first time in about a month, and the challenge that playoffs present.”

Andrew Cutler (Nunawading)

“We look forward to challenging ourselves against one of the best teams in the Watson Conference who got the better of us in our prior meeting this season.”

Overview

It what should be the game of the opening round, the Spectres will be seeking revenge against the Boomers for losing the last contest by two points in round 13. While the Boomers ended a horror 4-game losing streak last round, the Nunawading Spectres have been magical winning four of its last five games. It should be a shoot-out as both squads are averaging more than 76 points per game this season. Can’t wait.

Prediction

Nunawading by 4

 

Dandenong (1stT) vs. Hawthorn (4thW)
SUN 12pm Dandenong Basketball Stadium

Meetings this season

R15: Hawthorn 64 def by. Dandenong 74

From The Coaches

Ash Arnott (Dandenong)

Coach unavailable for comment at time of publish.”

Shawn King (Hawthorn)

 “We are looking forward to playing finals again!! It’s pretty simple, win or go home. Good luck Dandy this weekend!”

Overview

In the only regular season match-up between these squads, an undermanned Rangers outfit took care of business defeating the Magic by 10 points. When they have their entire squad for this rematch the winning margin should be a lot more. Dandenong have been the best team in VYCM averaging 81.6 points per game and are currently enjoying a 5-game winning streak. The Magic will be feisty and will make them work but the Rangers will be too strong.

Prediction

Dandenong by 12

 

Keilor (1stW) vs. Sherbrooke (4thT)

SUN 5:30pm Keilor Basketball Stadium

Meetings this season

R5: Sherbrooke 81 def Keilor 63

From The Coaches

Brooklyn Carey (Keilor)

Leading into the 2018 VYCM post season i am most looking forward to seeing how my boys respond to the heightened pressure and intensity that playoffs bring. I feel like we are being overlooked in the eyes of many throughout the league as legitimate contenders so we are definitely playing with a chip on our shoulders. After coming up from YL1M last year it was our goal to be more than just ‘another team making up numbers’. We were poor at adjusting to the new league and started the season slow with a 1-4 record, however we have since managed to go on a nice 13-4 stretch to finish out the regular season as the top seed in the Watson Conference. This weekend is a great opportunity for us to make a statement and announce ourselves to the league. I expect a tough hit out against a VERY talented and well coached Sherbrooke outfit, but a challenge i know my boys are ready for! 

Brent Andrews (Sherbrooke)

Firstly a huge congratulations for the teams who have made finals. It has been such a competitive year, and making finals is a great achievement for all teams involved.

This weekend for us is a physically tough battle against the B.J Symons led Keilor Thunder. We had an immense battle with them earlier in the season, where both teams were extremely athletic and physical. Keilor is a strong matchup, with all the right capabilities to make a deep finals run. I’m looking forward to the game being a great physical battle, with some really strong dudes battling down in the paint! Good luck to everyone involved over the first weekend of finals.” 

Overview

When these teams faced off back in round 5, it was the Suns domination in the paint which proved to be the catalyst to Sherbrooke’s resounding 18-point victory. The Suns will rue their inconsistent season dropping five of the next six games after this win. But are currently on a 4-game winning heading to this match-up. Keilor have fought its way to the top spot winning three of its last four matches and really look the goods here.

Prediction – Keilor by 6


Molten Victorian Youth Championship Women

Melbourne (2ndW) vs. Diamond Valley (3rdT)

SAT 6pm Oakleigh Recreation Centre

Meetings this season

R15: Diamond Valley 58 def by Melbourne 72

From The Coaches

Lloyd Klaman (Melbourne)

We are looking forward to the opportunity to play finals basketball. Six weeks ago, when we were sitting 7-7 we were just thinking about getting back to playing good basketball, so stringing together 8 wins and securing a home final was very pleasing.

We have a very young team and I’m looking forward to see how the kids cope with playing in finals. We know Diamond Valley is a tough opponent and we will have to be at our best if we want to play again next week.” 

Brendan Jackson (Diamond Valley)

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to see this great group of players participate in their first Big V Finals Series and the challenge that comes with that. Melbourne are a very good, and very well coached side, who play a tough, free flowing brand of basketball and I think it’ll be a matter of who’s defensive structures hold up best against the other’s offence that will decide the outcome.” 

Overview

The last time Melbourne welcomed Diamond Valley to its home court, the Eagles were thumped by 14 points. This weekend, the Eagles are back again but this time the Tigers are in even more devastating form. Enjoying an 8-game winning streak Melbourne is playing the best basketball in VYCW. While the Eagles have stumbled down the stretch dropping three of their last five. Melbourne should be too strong in this one.

Prediction

Melbourne by 8

 

Knox (2ndT) vs. Kilsyth (3rdW)

SAT 7pm State Basketball Centre 

Meetings this season

R3: Knox 70 def Kilsyth 54

From The Coaches

Chad Burton (Knox)

I’m very proud of our team’s huge improvement over the duration of the year and for our great finish to the end of the regular season. We go into the first week of finals playing a very tough Kilsyth team who we last played in Round 4. Both teams have continued to develop and improve since our last meeting and we look forward to the challenge that lies before us. We will work harder than ever at training this week and hopefully get the win on the weekend.”

Claire Knight (Kilsyth)

“Approaching the finals, and in particular this first weekend, I am most looking forward to the opportunity to face Knox again. Given that our first outing was back in Round 4 of the season, our style of play and productivity has really changed. In that last game we really let them get away from us in the first half and while we were able to get close in the second half, we made the task too big for ourselves. Over the past month, we have put some really good performances together enabling us to make the finals. It’s been a little while since a Kilsyth Youth Women’s team has made the finals, so it is a credit to how hard this group has worked and how much they enjoy playing together. It also shows the potential of the group over the next number of years. All of these girls are so proud to play for Kilsyth and represent our club. They have been relentless and fully committed in the pursuit of our goals that we set out at the start of the season. Now we are onto our next set of goals and we couldn’t be more excited about it. This league is extremely tight, which was highlighted by all the results in the last round to establish finals positions with so many teams needing good head-to-head results to get them through. It reinforces the fact that you have to be at the top of your game every single contest because anyone is beatable.”

Overview

Eliana Bravington has been one of the most valuable players in season 2018. The Knox Raiders star has been sensational averaging 17.4 points and 14.1 rebounds per game. She is the key to the Raiders success. For the Kilsyth Cobras, the mission is simple… stop Eliana Bravington. The Cobras have won four of their last five games but will need a defensive masterclass to advance to the next round.

Prediction – Knox by 9

 

Ringwood (1stW) vs. Nunawading (4thT)

SUN 12pm The Rings 

Meetings this season

R10: Ringwood 65 def Nunawading 56

From The Coaches

Rob Dielemans (Ringwood)

Coach unavailable for comment at time of publish.”

Nick Jackson (Nunawading)

“For me I’m excited for the challenge and to see all the emotions of why we do what we do as players and coaches.”

Overview

Ringwood have completed an impressive regular season, recording 18 wins and only four losses on the season. The Hawks have won games utilising a stifling defence holding opposing squads to a paltry average of 56.2 points per contest. After fighting their way into this final play-off spots the Spectres will be hoping their scrappy play will disrupt this dominating defence. I don’t see it happening.

Prediction

Ringwood by 11

 

Sandringham (1stT) vs. Bendigo (4thW)

SUN 2pm Nunn Media Basketball Centre 

Meetings this season

R3: Kilsyth 75 def by Eltham 91

From The Coaches

Joanne Wood (Sandringham)

The challenge of finals and seeing how the young kids respond to the extra perceived pressure that will be present is what I’m most looking forward to. We know Bendigo will be very tough and we need to respond after our loss last week.”

Cameron Wilkosz (Bendigo)

“For us, it’ll be the challenge overall I’m most looking forward to. Sandringham have been the absolute benchmark for the entire VYCW season, riding a ridiculous winning streak for most of the season and now get to host a home final. That challenge is a monstrous one, but something we truly look forward to. We feel being one of the only country associations in VYCW that we kind of get disregarded a little bit by others, so we’ve got a point we want to prove to the rest of the league. This is the perfect scenario and opportunity to do that and write some history along the way.”

Overview

The Sabres are the form team of VYCW after carving through the entire competition finishing with an impressive 19-3 regular season record. First up to try to and end their dominant season are the Bendigo Braves. The Braves have relied on the outstanding play of Danielle O’Toole this season, with the star averaging 17.5 points per contest. She will need to play the best game of her season. But it will not be enough to stop the buzz saw that is this Sandringham squad.

Prediction

Sandringham by 9


Youth League One Men

Werribee (3rd) vs. Warrandyte (6th)

SAT 8:30pm Eagle Stadium

Meetings this season

RD 4 – Werribee Devils 98 def. Warrandyte Venom 81

RD 15 – Warrandyte Venom 85 def. Werribee Devils 52

From the coaches

Dion Jewell (Werribee)

We are most looking forward to the chance to play for our playoff lives. A 1 game Elimination Final means we cannot leave anything out on the floor, we are going to be desperate and do everything we can to compete and hopefully come away with the win. We know Warrandyte have some great talent in their group, both Jarrod Molnar and Cody Perry-Allamby have had great seasons but we also know they have other guys that can come in and get the job done. Our job will be to make it as tough as possible for them, stay disciplined and play our game to give ourselves the best possible chance to get through to the 2nd week.”

Chris Steele (Warrandyte)

 “Coach unavailable for comment at time of publish.”

Overview

The regular season ledger is squared after both home sides recorded victory. Werribee was too strong for the Venom in round 1, out pacing Warrandyte 98-81 behind Daniaell Herbert’s 22 points. Herbert is the focal point of the Devils offence, averaging 20 points per game. Scoring over the 20-point threshold in 12 games this season. Werribee will need another huge game from him if they stand any chance against this feisty Warrandyte outfit. The Venom have discovered deadly late season form, including trouncing this Devils squad by 33 points in round 15. Led by the double threat of Jarrod Molnar and Cody Perry-Allamby, the duo has combined to average 41.4 points and 17.4 rebounds per contest. The Devils are going to need to shut down at least one of these performers to advance to the semi-finals.

Prediction

Warrandyte Venom by 12 points.

 

Geelong (4th) vs. Corio Bay (5th)

SAT 7pm AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

Meetings this season

RD 4 – Corio Bay Stingrays 85 def. Geelong Supercats 81

RD 13 – Geelong Supercats 76 def. by Corio Bay Stingrays 90

From the coaches

Darren Hindle (Geelong)

As a coach I’m proud of the boys for what they have achieved so far. From where they were last year, to where they are now, has truly been an amazing turnaround. However, in saying that, we won’t be just satisfied in participating in only week one of finals, we fully intend to do whatever it takes to be a true challenger in the finals series. Corio have beaten us both times this year, and we know that we must be at our best to have any chance of advancing forward, and I’m looking forward to what should be a tough contest. And on a final note, I just want Congratulate all teams participating in finals.”

Tim O’Leary (Corio Bay)

 “Our team is looking forward to the first elimination final vs. Supercats, win or lose the season has been very successful for our group, which was a bit of a surprise due to a huge roster change at the beginning of the season, in saying that we are pumped for what should be a very even contest and as always our team will be up for  the challenge.

Overview

Shutting down the perimeter will be the key for the Supercats to record the win over the Stingrays when they face-off on Sunday. Corio Bay was able to secure the victories in both regular season match-ups between the two sides. The key for the Stingrays in both victories was the hot shooting of Cohen Blythe. With scores of 28 and 32, Blythe had two of his best games of the season against the Supercats, nailing nine three-pointers in the victories. He will need to catch fire from outside again to defeat a Geelong side discovering late-season form. For Geelong, the key to its season has been its ability to outscore opposition squads. Averaging 89 points per game, Geelong is the highest scoring team in YL1M, and will need its potent offence to produce again to record the victory. Josiah King has been the undisputed offensive leader of Geelong this season, averaging 16.4 points on the season. He will need to score 25 or more to win the contest.

Prediction

Geelong Supercats by six points.


Youth League One Women

We’re headed into the penultimate round of Big V Basketball in season 2018 for Youth League One Women and, as it stands, we’re down to six teams who have the capabilities to lift that championship banner come seasons end.

Corio Bay and Eltham tackle the early contest on Saturday afternoon, with both teams playing for pride at this stage of the season. Teagan Tatlock has slowed down from her incredible early season form, while in addition the Stingrays haven’t found too much luck playing with a full squad for most weeks. The Wildcats have dropped the last six, but spirits have surely remained high with development into their players at this level the number one priority. Ellen Horsley has been goof at 10ppg and 11rpg, the next step is to improve that efficiency.

McKinnon have the chance to put the pressure on Camberwell (sitting in 4th) if they are to win against Chelsea on Saturday night before the two teams take each other on at Balwyn High School on Sunday afternoon. With the sides currently sharing the same 9-8 record, this round could be the deciding factor as to which team is still a chance at making the post-season. Look for the likes of Chelsea Bransden, Tamara Booth and Tahlia Ross produce big weekend’s if the Cougs are to pose a threat. For the Gulls, they were very good for two quarters against Craigieburn last week and they’ll use that as a positive going into this weekend. Camberwell however, will need to find scorers and they can find that this weekend from the likes of Zoe Scott, Meaghan Wilson and Kaitlyn Wallace.

Craigieburn currently sit sixth just half a game out of the top four, however their toughest test in their attempts to slide into the top four comes this weekend when they travel to Boardman Stadium to take on top-of-the-table Sunbury. 7-1 at home are the Jets as well as winning their last six outings; Nyomi Stowers has found form at the right time, while Chloe Angove continues to put in an MVP-type season. Casey Valenti-Paea has been the revelation the Eagles required after coming in mid-season and she has created an excellent duo with Zoe Albon over the past month.

Keilor tackle Geelong at home on Saturday night, before having to travel to Eltham on the Sunday afternoon and will go into these games as commanding favourites. After the Supercats dropped one hard last week to Craigieburn, it’s imperative for their squad to bounce back after a tough week of practice and ensure their spot in third place. While it’s tough to win at the home of the Thunder (KEI 7-1 at home), the ‘Cats will be hoping to make amends and the likes of Jaimee Crombie and Allison Marsh can do that. On Sunday, Keilor will be looking towards their second unit to do a bulk of the work as fatigue will ultimately play a part off the back-up. Katie Byrne and Zoe Garth prime candidates here.

Corio Bay vs. Eltham                                       Sat 4:30pm                              Geelong Basketball Netball Centre

McKinnon vs. Chelsea                                     Sat 6pm                                   GESAC

Sunbury vs. Craigieburn                                  Sat 6pm                                   Boardman Stadium

Keilor vs. Geelong                                           Sat 7:30pm                              Keilor Basketball Stadium

Camberwell vs. McKinnon                              Sun 12pm                                Balwyn High School

Eltham vs. Keilor                                             Sun 1:30pm                             Eltham High School


Youth League Two Men

Can you believe it, we’re up to the penultimate round of Youth League Two Men in Big V 2018? In what feels like a year and a season that has absolutely just flown by, we’ve seen new kids hit the scene and created a real buzz about themselves across the course of their team as well as the division, while there’s been some incredible flash in the pan performances as well. Now is the time to leave the one-and-done performances behind and step up time and time again when your team is in need! Finals are right around the corner and that’s where players and moments are made.

Craigieburn and Chelsea kick start the weekend in what is the early fixture on Saturday afternoon. The Gulls have been ever improving throughout season 2018, however will still miss the finals so it’s all about keeping that momentum heading into ’19. Aaron Frost and co may not be able to keep pace with the likes of Ab Solano and Dut Dut, but they’ll be there at the finish.

A trio of games tip-off at 6pm Saturday, as Latrobe City make the trip to Western Port in search of a win. Luke Helbig has been enormous this past month and the Steelers will be hoping he teams up with Ben Perry who can find some early season form. Looks to be one-way traffic once again. Wallan host a fast finishing Maccabi who should be able to dispatch the Panthers to give themselves every possible chance of a playoff miracle. Idan Shamis would be up there in All Star Five talks and he and BenChai Grosman have formed a formidable tandem over the past fortnight. Finally, in that trio, Keysborough head to Melton in hoping to do something similar. The Thoroughbreds are well prepared however and have plenty of options in terms of putting the ball in the basket – it looks a game the ‘Breds could be hitting triple figures again!

Mornington host Pakenham in the final contest on Saturday night and it’s a snakes and ladders game right now. The Warriors have won six straight, while Mornington copped two heavy losses last weekend and are doing everything possible to attempt to lock that sixth spot down as their own. The Breakers will need all of the production possible out of Aaron Van Den Akker and Max Brzezek, considering how well Ned Weideman and Lee Belton are going!

The Eagles and Energy back up on Sunday in Traralgon, where you’ll more than likely see Luis D’Angelo produce a solid performance, before Jackson Wynne puts in a good contest as well. The Eagles will look to their second unit to provide the brunt of production, as well as seeing who’s capable of performing for minutes in the playoffs.

Collingwood travel to Pakenham and they have good memories facing the Warriors; despatching them by 26 last time the two teams met. Six players finished in double digits and you’d expect something similar here; they’re currently performing well as a team while also locking in defensively.

Frankston host Whittlesea in the final game; the Blues 10-0 at home proving a tough place to travel to. The Pacers don’t have much success on the road this season (3-7), however Gabe Evans has been a shining light over the past five games.

Craigieburn vs. Chelsea                                  Sat 4pm                                   Craigieburn Sports Stadium

Western Port vs. Latrobe City                         Sat 6pm                                   David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Wallan vs. Maccabi                                         Sat 6pm                                   RB Robson Stadium

Melton vs. Keysborough                                 Sat 6pm                                   Melton Indoor Recreation Centre

Mornington vs. Pakenham                             Sat 7:30pm                              Mornington Basketball Stadium

Latrobe City vs. Craigieburn                            Sun 12pm                                Latrobe Leisure Traralgon

Pakenham vs. Collingwood                             Sun 2pm                                  Cardinia Life

Frankston vs. Whittlesea                                Sun 2pm                                  Frankston Basketball Stadium


Youth League Two Women

As we head into the penultimate round of the regular season only two of the final four play-off teams are set. Both the Casey Cavaliers and the Pakenham Warriors are assured safe passage to the finals. While chasing them five teams are still mathematically a chance of making up the final two positions.

Round 17 should make for a compelling round of matches. Western Port Steelers tips off round 17 by hosting the second-placed Pakenham Warriors. Currently sitting seventh on the ladder, the Steelers are the longest shot of making the top four. The Warriors suffered a surpising 2-point loss at the hands of the Frankston Blues in round 16, so will be looking to make amends against Western Port. With their season on the line, the Steelers will need a big game from Myra Wood to have any chance at defeating Pakenham.

Southern Peninsula Sharks are another squad battling for a post-season position and will welcome the cellar-dwelling Mornington Breakers to Hillview Stadium on Saturday. The Sharks are enduring a three-game losing streak at the worst time of the year, and are seeing their once solid grasp of a finals spot begin to slip through their hands. A solid victory over the Breakers should see them get back on the right track with only a round remaining. For Mornington it will be sensational for the team’s morale to secure a victory before the season is over. It has been tough going for the Breakers and they will need an incredible team effort to upset the Sharks in round 17. Casey will benefit from a late-season tune-up against the lowly Sherbrooke Suns this weekend. The Cavaliers hit their first real tough patch of the season a few rounds ago dropping two games in a row. It remains the only two losses for Casey on the season. But they are on the way back to their dominant best with two straight wins, it should be three straight after Saturday night. The Suns ended a horror run with a solid win in round 16, but the pain will be back after this game. Look for Rebecca Peacock to have a big game for the Cavaliers.

The Blackburn Vikings and the Whittlesea Pacers has the potential to be the game of the round. Both squads are battling for the final post-season positions. Whittlesea looks the form team of the match-up after thumping the Sharks by 30 points in the last round. While the Vikings have hit rough seas dropping two of their last four games. The key to this match-up for Blackburn will be to focus on shutting down Hailey Wynd. The Whittlesea star has been outstanding this season averaging 17.6 points and 14.3 rebounds per contest. Stop her and you stop the Pacers. This one should make for a cracking contest.

Frankston will be full of confidence when they head to Eagle Stadium to take on Werribee on Saturday night. After defeating the higher-ranked Warriors in round 16, the Blues are playing sensational basketball riding a 4-game winning streak. While the Devils are suffering through a difficult time, dropping two of their last three games. Frankston were propelled by Abby Chernishoff scoring a game-high 19 points and pulling down 11 rebounds in the win last round, she needs to star again to help the Blues lock up a finals berth.

Saturday July 21, 2018

Western Port Steelers vs. Pakenham Warriors          4:00pm            David Collings Indoor Leisure Centre

Southern Peninsula Sharks vs. Mornington Breakers 4:00pm            Hillview Stadium

Casey Cavaliers vs. Sherbrooke Suns                          6:00pm            Casey Stadium

Blackburn Vikings vs. Whittlesea Pacers                    6:00pm            Knox Basketball Stadium

Werribee Devils vs. Franskton Blues                          7:00pm            Eagle Stadium

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