2021 VJBL Crossover: Under 18s

THE under 18 grading stage of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) for both the boys and girls competition is now complete with second and third from each pool moving through to the crossover stage, as the top of the table sides advanced directly into the Victorian Championship. Eight teams feature in the crossover stage, with four blockbuster games set to take place on Friday night.

Under 18 Boys:

Pakenham won through in Pool A of the boys in Round 3 of the grading thanks to another strong showing to earn a spot in the crossover stage. They are set to take on the Diamond Valley Eagles in the first game of the round with both sides looking to secure that elusive spot in the Victorian Championships. Lauchlan Mark has proven to be a dynamic and reliable points scorer for Pakenham throughout the grading phases and will be eager to maintain that momentum while the Eagles have had a number of players take the reins.

It will be an all country battle as Bendigo and Ballarat face off after finishing second or third in their respective pools. Bendigo have a couple of strong wins under their belt, narrowly edging the Eagles out in Round 1 and will be keen to bring that level of intensity to the fore in this clash. Ballarat on the other hand have struggled to get their signature game play up and running but will see this an opportunity to leave nothing to chance and star.

The next game sees Latrobe and Whittlesea lock horns at Casey Stadium on Friday night with both sides earning a spot in the crossover after their performances in the grading stage. Whittlesea will look to the likes of Callum Stojanovic to lead the way with his offensive skills and overall drive to the rim while Kody Tiballs has proven to be a pillar of consistency for Latrobe throughout their campaign so far.

The final game of the boys crossover is between Sandringham and Wyndham who have both recorded big wins throughout their season so far and will be eager to assert themselves in this contest. The Sabres have multiple options to apply scoreboard pressure with Jensen Bradtke and Tom Field both viable options and needing to have big performances if they are to get their side over the line. However it will all come down to whether or not Sandringham can stop Emmanwiel Deng who has proven to be a thorn in the side for many teams.

Round 1 Boys fixture:

Pakenham v. Diamond Valley
Friday, 19 March @ 9:20pm

Bendigo v. Ballarat
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

Latrobe v. Whittlesea
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

Sandringham v. Wyndham
Friday, 19 March @ 9:50pm

Under 18 Girls:

The opening game of the girls VJBL will play host to Eltham and Camberwell as they look to claim some early ascendancy and go one step closer to their final destination. Eltham showcased their strength throughout the grading phase in Pool B notching up a couple of solid wins with Ashley Mrmacovski a key figure alongside Peyton Burns. Camberwell on the other hand suffered a handful of losses and will be keen to flip the script through the presence of the lively Jacinta Li who managed 31 points in game two.

Nunawading and Korumburra enter the crossover stage after progressing from their respective pools to battle it out for their first win in this grouping. Nunawading have displayed glimpses of their ability to score with ease, something they will be hoping to implement against Korumburra who lost two out of their three outings. There will be no shortage of shooting options for either side with Evelyn Curtis and Olivia Morris key for the Spectres and Charlotte Anderson and Jamie Gallatly able to ply their trade for Korumburra.

Hailing from Pool B, Bulleen has a date with Altona in the third game of the round as the two sides look to inflict some early dominance. Bulleen Boomers had a chequered run throughout the grading phase and will have their work cut out for them against the Gators who managed a couple of wins. Expect Jade Azzopardi to be the main port of call for Altona while the Boomers will look to Chantal Vitale to do the heavy lifting

Led by Caitlin Richardson the clash between Bendigo and Nunawading 2 will be one to watch. Richardson is a key playmaker for the side and her inspired efforts could provide that edge to get over the top of the Spectres. Bendigo know how to win when it gets tight and can use that belief in their upcoming match against Nunawading. The Spectres have a variety of players that can step up to the plate with Emma Poon and Ella Erickson plausible candidates.

Round 1 Girls fixture:

Eltham v. Camberwell
Friday, 19 March @ 8:00pm

Nunawading 1 v. Korumburra
Friday, 19 March @ 8:20pm

Altona v. Bulleen 2
Friday, 19 March @ 9:20pm

Bendigo v. Nunawading 2
Friday, 19 March @ 9:40pm

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