Boomers down Cavaliers in high-scoring thriller

THE Bulleen Boomers have advanced to the preliminary final stage of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under-18 Boys competition, after sneaking past the Casey Cavaliers in one of the most entertaining games of the season.

With the game taking place at Dandenong Stadium on Friday night, the Boomers were looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Spectres the week before, while the Cavaliers were eager to keep their momentum rolling after an elimination final triumph.

Bulleen was the favoured side, but the competition has been unpredictable as a whole in season 2022, so the result was far from guaranteed. In the end, the Boomers were able to hold on against a brave effort from the Cavaliers, who fell by three points and saw their season end in heartbreaking fashion, while Bulleen’s title hopes live on. The effort was largely on the back of a mammoth offensive performance from Joel Foxwell, who dominated with ball in hand and played a major role in getting the Boomers to a winning score.

Bulleen Boomers (81) def. Casey Cavaliers (78)

Both sides were firing offensively, a trend that began in the opening term with a combined 42 points scored. While intent had a lot to do with this, it was mostly a result of composure with ball in hand from the two sides, with most offensive possessions executed in an ideal fashion. It was also an extremely high-paced start to the game, with the tempo from both clubs pushed throughout the opening 10 minutes. The Cavaliers led by two points at the first change, and were doing a good job of matching the intensity of Bulleen.

Scoring dropped off in the second period, as it became evident that both quarter time huddles had quite an emphasis on lifting the effort on the defensive end. Unfortunately, both sides did a reasonably good job of that, so the margin was quite unaffected. The Boomers were able to erase the deficit they held at the start of the quarter and proceedings were tied at the main break.

Both sides came out of half time with the same offensive power as the opening term, as the ball found the bottom of the net with ease on both ends of the court. The Boomers nailed some timely buckets towards the end of the term and took a three-point advantage into three quarter time, setting up a blockbuster finish.

The scoring blitz did not slow down in the final minutes of the game, with both clubs scoring 24 points apiece in the last term. However, while the Cavaliers kept their offence rolling, they could not halt the output of the opposition, with the Boomers holding on for an 81-78 triumph.

Foxwell was the star of the show for the winning side, posting a game-high 36 points in the three-point triumph. He has been the side’s most damaging offensive player throughout the year, and stood up in his club’s biggest game in 2022 to date. Foxwell chimed in for some big buckets across all four quarters, including in the fourth term when the game was on the line. Also impressing was Amos Harvey, who had a crucial 18 points of his own, while Liam George rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10 points.

Keeping the Cavaliers in the game was a balanced performance from their squad on the offensive end, with four players scoring 14 points or more. Kobe Wilson (17 points), Cedric Rault (17 points), Ethan Bolton (14 points) and Truman Byrne (14 points) all played crucial roles in almost getting Casey to a winning score.

The Boomers must now take on the Knox Raiders on Friday night, playing for a spot in the grand final, while it is season over for the Cavaliers.

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