Blues fall short against rampaging Raiders

THE final round of the 2022 Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys competition saw the Knox Raiders claim a big win over the Frankston Blues when the two clubs went head to head at Frankston Basketball Stadium on Friday night.

Frankston Blues 9 | 7 | 23 | 16 (55)
Knox Raiders 20 | 19 | 21 | 18 (78)

It was the perfect finish to the season for the Raiders, who nailed the second half of the year when the competition restructured. In the VC Championship portion of 2022, the Raiders remained undefeated with a final record of nine wins and zero losses, as the only side to do so. Their win over the Blues saw them seal top spot on the ladder as the home and away fixture wrapped, and they will now head into the finals as the favourites to win it all.

On the other hand, Frankston wrapped up the season at the bottom of the ladder, unable to secure a win since joining the VC Championship division with nine losses next to its name. It was a disappointing way to end what started as a promising campaign, and they will be back to the drawing board ahead of next season.

The Raiders burst out of the gates in the opening term, jumping to a double-digit lead thanks to a combination of their damaging offence and Frankston being unable to conjure a score. Knox held an 11-point advantage on the scoreboard at the first change, and things only got worse for the Blues. The deficit was increased by another 12 in the second term, as the match slipped well and truly out of their grip.

It was an improved showing from the home side in the second half, who blew past their points total from the first two quarters in the third term alone. However, it was still matched by an impressive Knox outfit, that was not looking like slowing down any time soon. The Raiders ended up cruising home to a 23-point triumph, capping an impressive 2022 campaign and heading into finals with plenty of momentum.

Knox’s offence was sparked by the dynamic duo of Jacob Bell and Luke Fennell, with the pair helping boost their team to a winning score. The duo scored 20 points apiece and were clinical in tearing apart the Blues’ defence. If the Raiders can produce multiple players in the 20-point range throughout the finals, they will be extremely tough to stop. Also impressing was Fraser Roxburgh, who took a bit of a back seat on the offensive end, finishing with just 11 points, but playing his role to perfection.

On a tough night for the Blues, Brennan Dick stood up once again for Frankston, leading the way on the offensive end. He fought his way to a team-high 14 points, and overcame some close defensive pressure to claw his side back to a respectable margin in the second half.

The result means the Raiders will head into the finals with top spot and a double chance, and should do some serious damage, while it is season over for the Blues.

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