Bold Boomers fall short against rampaging Raiders

THE Knox Raiders have advanced to the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys grand final after downing the Bulleen Boomers to the tune of 18 points when the two sides clashed at Nunawading Basketball Centre on Friday night.

It is a deserving result for the Raiders, who came into the game as the favoured side given the strength of their season as a whole, and their performance in the first week of finals. While the Boomers were able to get the job done in the semis, it still seemed too tough an ask to slow down a Knox side that finished four points ahead on the ladder.

It was a triumph set up on the back of a dominant first term from the Raiders, who jumped out of the gates with one of their best periods of the season. While the Boomers were brave enough to fight back a bit in the second term, it was not enough and the result was reflective of the opening 10 minutes of the game.

Jacob Bell saved his best performance for the biggest game to date, registering a whopping 30-point performance. He showcased his intent early with a dominant opening term and he helped Knox set the tone in a big way. His jump shot from across the key was terrific, and despite a number of matchup changes, Bulleen had no answers. Also catching the eye was Austin Rapp, who had 21 points of his own and helped Bell carry the offensive load.

Joel Foxwell and Amos Harvey were the shining lights for the Boomers, keeping the offence rolling after a quiet first term. The duo got better as the game went on, and combined for 38 of the team’s 55 points and were a big reason why Bulleen looked a sneaky chance of pulling the margin back throughout the final three quarters.

Knox Raiders 25 | 8 | 15 | 25 (73)
Bulleen Boomers 6 | 17 | 12 | 20 (55)

The Raiders could not have got off to a better start off in the first 10 minutes, completely outperforming the opposition and bursting out of the blocks with a double-digit lead. There was a serious contrast between the two sides in terms of success on both ends of the court, as the Boomers could not get their game rolling and trailed by 19 at the first change.

The second term was slightly better from the Boomers, with the Raiders cooling off slightly and allowing Bulleen a bit more freedom with ball in hand. They were able to slowly but surely chip away at the lead and get the margin back to nine points at the main break, but still had an uphill battle ahead in the second half of play.

Quarter number three was the most even of the game, with both sides putting an emphasis on two-way work and defence lifted a bit as a result of this. However, it ended up going against Bulleen, with the deficit extending back out to double-digits, with the Raiders leading by 13 at the final change.

The fourth quarter was the highest scoring of the match, with the two sides taking the foot off the pedal a bit on the defensive end as they put all their chips on offence. While the Boomers delivered their highest scoring period of the match, they could not slow down the dynamic scoring power of the opposition, with Knox finishing 18-point victors.

Awating the Raiders in the grand final are the Nunawading Spectres, who were too good for the Sandringham Sabres, while Bulleen’s 2022 campaign is over.

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