Another round of hoops in the books, who was the player of the game in your respective contest?
Hume City 98 def by McKinnon 110
McKinnon has taken out game one of the Grand Final series on the road, after coming away with a 12-point win at the Broadmeadows Basketball Stadium on Saturday night. The Cougars will now have two home matches next week, needing to secure just one win as they look to take home the Big V Championship Men’s title. Hume City got out to an early lead at home, racing out to a nine-point buffer midway through the first term. However, the Cougars weren’t about to let the game get away from them, clawing their way back in the contest to trail by just two points at the first change. The visitors then took a quick lead before Hume City got themselves back on top, although when Dillon Stith put the Cougars up two with just over three minutes remaining in the first half, it would end up being the final lead change of the game. McKinnon won the second term 32-23, before taking the third 25-17, giving themselves a 15-point lead with one quarter to play. The Broncos managed to cut the lead to under 10 points but the Cougars were never truly threatened in the last term, and held off their opponents to record the victory. Stith top scored with 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Adrian Tomada impressed with 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists. James Malvaso added 16 points off the bench for McKinnon, while Eric Williams was close to a triple-double with 14 points, eight rebounds and nine dimes. For the Broncos, Jordan Coleman had 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Jamal Shabazz added 19 points and seven boards. Games two and three (if required) will be played at GESAC next weekend.
Sunbury 74 def by Werribee 77
Werribee booked their place in the Grand Final after outlasting the Jets by three points in an enthralling encounter. It was neck-and-neck throughout the first half, with both sides not able to be separated as they entered the second half locked at 35 points apiece. The third quarter started in a similar fashion, but after Geralynn Leaupepe hit a three-pointer for the Jets to give them back the advantage, the Devils ended the quarter on a 13-4 run to take what would eventually become a game-winning six-point lead. The Jets fought hard in the final quarter and went on a 11-4 run to gain a one-point advantage with three minutes remaining, but the Devils ended the game the better side with three made shots in a row to close out the game and knock the minor premiers out of the finals. Alexyz Vaioletama’s double-double was key to Werribee’s win as she starred with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Maxine Allan top scored for the Devils with 19 points, which included four three-pointers. Orla O’Reilly was Sunbury’s best with 23 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Division One Men
Warrandyte 93 def Keysborough 67
The Venom levelled up the series at 1-1 after taking care of the Cougars by 26 points on Saturday night. The hosts led at the end of every change, after a massive 30-16 opening term set the tone for the rest of the evening. Warrandyte were in front for the entirely of the contest, as Keysborough couldn’t get themselves into the match. The hosts shot 44% from the field compared to the Cougars’ 37%, and scored 17 points off turnovers, while the visitors couldn’t convert any of the Venom’s turnovers into points. Brenton Charles was the star of the show with 33 points on 13-16 shooting, while Bryan Moore finished with a strong line of 13 points, 18 rebounds and five assists. Ivan Platenik led the way for the visitors with 16 points and 13 rebounds, although he wasn’t able to get his side over the line, as the series moved to a decider on Sunday.
Warrandyte 78 def Keysborough 66
The Venom punched their ticket to the big dance after another win over the Cougars in game three of their semi-final series on Sunday afternoon. The Cougars got out to a much better start than they did in game two, although their six-point quarter time lead quickly evaporated, as the hosts poured in 24 points to seven in the second quarter. Keysborough fought back after half-time to trim the margin back to two with a quarter to play, although the Venom were just too strong, closing the game out on a 17-5 run. This time it was David Moore for the hosts who led the scoring, finishing with 22 points and six rebounds in the win. Platenik again double-doubled for the visitors (14 points, 11 rebounds), although it wasn’t enough to get the Cougars over the line.
Shepparton 88 def Sunbury 87
The Gators kept their Grand Final dreams alive after a one-point win over the Jets in overtime on Saturday night. Shepparton looked to have wrapped the game up in regulation, before Ish Sanders’ triple with five seconds remaining sent the game into the extra period. The Jets led for the majority of OT, although it was Gators captain Nick Dodd who was able to force a game three, after his layup with five seconds on the clock was enough for victory. The visitors certainly had their chances to win the game, as they led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter. However, Shepparton fought back to take their game-high lead of nine in the fourth, although Sunbury didn’t give up, doing enough to tie the scores at the end of the quarter. The Jets were led by Sanders, who finished with an impressive 42 points and five rebounds. Carlin Dupree was huge for the hosts, recording 34 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and four steals. The win meant Shepparton would extend the series into a third and final game.
Shepparton 84 def by Sunbury 103
The Jets overcame Saturday’s heartbreaking loss to storm into the Grand Final after an impressive 19-point win at the Shepparton Sports Stadium in game three of their semi-final series with the Gators. With the scores locked at 16 apiece after one, the Jets began to slowly but surely pull away from Shepparton, and after taking a lead with 8:20 to play in the second quarter didn’t look back, holding an advantage for the rest of the game. Sanders was everywhere for the visitors once again, as he finished with 33 points and three assists in the win. Dupree (33 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, four steals) starred for the hosts once more, as the two heavyweights of the division duelled it out for the second straight game. With the win, Sunbury will now face Warrandyte in a three-game Grand Final series.
Division One Women
Mildura 87 def by Hawthorn 89
Hawthorn are now just one win away from the Division One Women’s Championship, after a hard-fought two-point win over the Heat at the Toyota Hothouse on Saturday night. The Magic trailed by one before Nyilah Jamison-Myers hit two free throws to put her side up by one with 1:12 remaining in the contest, in a lead that would stick for the visitors. There were only free throws made in the final 72 seconds, as the Magic held on when Bronte Clark’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was off target. The Heat certainly had their chances to win the game, as they led by as many as 14 points early in the first term, while boasting a double-digit advantage for the majority of the second quarter. However, it was Hawthorn’s huge third quarter that allowed them to pull themselves back into the game, winning the term 34-18. Mildura found themselves back on top at stages in the fourth quarter, but Hawthorn stuck with it and pulled out the road victory. They were led by Jamison-Myers, who finished with a huge 24 points and 15 rebounds. Lara Edmanson added 19 points and eight rebounds. Alyesha Lovett scored a game-high 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the hosts, while Vanessa Power added 23, although the Heat weren’t able to defend their home court, and the Magic will now need just one win from their two-game home stand next weekend to be crowned Champions.
Division Two Men
Southern Peninsula 61 def by Craigieburn 75
The Eagles bounced back strongly after their poor first game showing to upstage the Sharks by 14 points at Dromana Stadium. The Sharks started the game in far better fashion as they outscored Craigieburn 21-13 for the first quarter. They then extended their advantage to 10 points midway through the second quarter, but the Eagles rallied back to trail by just two-points at half-time. The Eagles continued this momentum into the third quarter to outscore the Sharks 22-8 before a relatively even fourth quarter ended the encounter in Craigieburn’s favour. Liam Watt top-scored for the Eagles with 22 points, eight rebounds and two steals, while Damon Smith recorded a double-double with a handy 13 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists to his name. Troyce Manassa was the Sharks’ top performer with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Southern Peninsula 94 def Craigieburn 66
The Sharks responded comprehensively to their game two loss and booked their place into the Grand Final with a commanding win over Craigieburn. Trailing by two points midway through the second quarter, the Sharks then went on a 17-2 run to open up a 13-point half-time advantage. That lead quickly rose to 23 points midway through the third quarter, which would prove to be the final nail in the coffin as the Sharks ended up 28-point victors. Manassa backed up his strong game two showing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Brady Neill top-scored for the Sharks with 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Kewal Shiels was the pick of the Craigieburn players in a disappointing day, after he recorded a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Camberwell 90 def Mildura 77
The Dragons levelled the three-game series with a runaway 13-point win over the Heat at home on Saturday night. The match was evenly placed early on with the scores locked at 35 apiece midway through the second quarter, but the Dragons ended the quarter on a 15-4 run to open up an 11-point half-time buffer. The Heat responded in the third quarter to cut the margin to just four points heading into the final quarter, and seemed to be in control when they re-took the lead early on in the final term. But Camberwell would end the game on a 22-8 run to level the series at 1-1. Maxwell Barkeley had a game to remember with 34 points and 12 rebounds while shooting at 6-12 from downtown. Calvin Henry top-scored for the Heat with 27 points and 12 rebounds.
Camberwell 80 def Mildura 71
A strong first quarter was enough to see the Dragons advance to the Grand Final with a nine-point win over the Heat. In what was an evenly fought game throughout, a 6-0 run to end the first quarter proved to be the difference for Camberwell as little could separate the two sides for the remaining three quarters. The Heat couldn’t get closer than six points for the rest of the game, as the Dragons held firm on their opening quarter advantage to advance into the Grand Final. Barkeley backed up his strong game two showing to lead the way for the Dragons with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Henry top-scored again for Mildura with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
Division Two Women
Melbourne University 60 def Blackburn 51
The Black Angels have secured a Grand Final berth with a nine-point win over the Vikings. Melbourne University started the better of the two teams, racing out to an 8-2 lead halfway through the opening term before Blackburn settled to ensure the margin remained only six points at the opening break. The Black Angels also controlled the second quarter, but once again, the Vikings did just enough to keep themselves in the game, ensuring the deficit remained manageable (10 points) at half-time. Despite Blackburn’s best efforts in the second half, Melbourne University had all the answers, keeping their opponents at bay to stroll to a straightforward victory. The Black Angels were able to come out on top despite shooting only 27% from the field thanks largely to a decisive advantage in the turnover battle. They scored 22 points from 21 Blackburn turnovers, while coughing up the ball only eight times themselves, conceding a measly three points as a direct result. Emmie O’Nial was the dominant player on the court, corralling a remarkable 24 rebounds while also scoring 19 points to lead all players in both categories, while Amelia Smith also made a strong contribution for Melbourne University with 18 points and six rebounds. Victoria Sumskas, Shannon Bone and Marnie Houghton each scored nine points to lead Blackburn. Melbourne University will now face Pakenham in the three-game Grand Final series.
Youth League One Women
Casey 49 def by Keilor 64
Keilor Thunder have shot down the Casey Cavaliers 64-49 in game one of their three-game Grand Final series. The Thunder led the game from buzzer to buzzer, suffocating their opponents and scoring the first 15 points of the game. Despite turning over the ball 28 times, the game was never in doubt for the Thunder, mostly thanks to Tess Heal’s brutally-efficient 21-point, 10-rebound double-double. Heal, who led all comers on Saturday night, missed only four of her 11 shots and added a perfect five-for-five from the charity stripe. Casey will be disappointed in their inability to capitalise on the Thunder’s reckless turnovers. The home team forced 13 more turnovers than they gave up but trailed the Thunder in fastbreak points 12-14. To remedy this, the Cavaliers will hope to better their dismal 22% shooting performance in game two. While much of the starting unit struggled in game one, Casey can take solace and hope to build on the efficient performances of both Rebecca Peacock and Kim Shankland, who scored 10 and 11 points respectively. The series will now head to the Thunder’s home floor in Keilor where the minor premiers will hope to close out the series.
Youth League Two Men
Collingwood 95 def Craigieburn 68
The All Stars used an unbelievable final quarter to cruise to a 27-point win over the Eagles at Darebin Community Sports Stadium on Saturday night. Collingwood overturned an early deficit to take a slender four-point led into the last change, but the final 10 minutes of the game was a one-way contest, with the hosts reeling off a 30-7 quarter to completely blow Craigieburn out of the water. The hosts scored 19 of the last 21 points of the game to record the win, and will now need to grab just one win on the road next weekend to take home the Youth League Two Men’s Championship. Athiaan Manyiel led the way for the hosts with 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Deng Dut added 16 points, seven rebounds and nine assists of his own. Abraham Solano was Craigieburn’s top scorer with 24 points, but the Eagles as a collective shot just 32% from the field, compared to the All Stars’ 41%. Arguably the biggest stat of the night were the points from turnovers numbers, as Collingwood scored 30 points from 17 Craigieburn turnovers, while the Eagles could only convert the All-Stars’ 10 giveaways into three points.
Youth League Two Women
Sherbrooke 57 def by Frankston 73
The Frankston Blues have landed the first blow in a best-of-three Grand Final series, defeating the Sherbrooke Suns 73-57 on the road. After a lacklustre start where the Blues trailed by six points at quarter time, they then rallied to take the lead 31-27 at the half, off the back of a late three from Emily Mogyorossy. From there the Blues never relinquished the lead in a game where turnovers would prove the difference, with the Suns letting go of possession without attempting a shot 23 times. In comparison, the Blues turned the ball over on only 14 occasions. Blues’ captain Tori Jackson led from the front, tallying 15 points on 42% shooting from the field. Off the bench, Kassie Boorer gave her captain a hand in the scoring department, pouring in 11 points of her own, including landing two of her four attempts from behind the arc. For the Suns, Naomi Smith would feel hard done by, her 17-point, 14-rebound double-double wasn’t enough in the face of a well-rounded Frankston unit. Smith came into the series hot off a 19-point, 14-rebound display in the Semi Final and will look to carry her form into game two of the Grand Final series. The game was the first loss for the Suns in their past nine outings and they will look to bounce back in game two this Saturday in Frankston. That game, in which the Blues have a chance to complete their table-topping season, will tip-off at 7.30pm.