Fast start sees Boomers in big dance
THE Bulleen Boomers have advanced to the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Grand Final for the 2022 season, after defeating the Casey Cavaliers at Nunawading Basketball Centre on Friday night.
Led by a terrific Lily Carmody performance, the Boomers got off to an electric start in the opening term, immediately putting Casey on the back foot. Although the Cavaliers improved as the contest went on, Bulleen was a class above on its way to a nine-point triumph.
The Boomers have been the best side overall in the 2022 season, and were expected to get the win on Friday. However, given they had the prior week off and the Cavaliers entered the match with their tails up, an upset was a genuine chance. Those doubts were crushed in the first 10 minutes, as Bulleen burst out of the gates and stamped their authority on the contest.
Bulleen Boomers 13 | 17 | 9 | 13 (52)
Casey Cavaliers 5 | 11 | 18 | 9 (43)
The Boomers delivered in the opening quarter, clamping down on the defensive end and holding the Cavaliers to just five points for the term. While it was not Bulleen’s most productive period, that was likely due to having last week off as it blew the cobwebs off in the opening minutes of the game. Regardless, the Boomers took an eight-point lead into the first change, and had full control of the game.
The second quarter was more of the same from the Boomers, who lifted their offensive output. Casey did the same, but found the deficit continuing to grow as they could not stop the Boomers from finding the bottom of the net. Down by 14 points at the main break, there was plenty of work for the Cavaliers to do in the second half.
Casey produced its best term of the game in the third, coming out of the main change of play with an improved effort on both ends of the court. The Cavaliers forced the ball out of Carmody’s hands a bit and liked to run in transition given how strong Bulleen’s defence is in the half court. They dragged themselves back into the game behind the likes of Kaitlyn Scott and Dakota Crichton and trailed by just five points heading into the last.
The fourth quarter saw the script flipped and the Boomers managed to wrestle back momentum as they adjusted to the new look of Casey’s offence in the second half. Their rotation defence lifted as they shifted with most players able to guard the one through five in some capacity. Suddenly, the Cavaliers’ offence came to a standstill, as the Boomers managed to push the lead closer to double-digits, which was too tall a task for their opponents.
As mentioned above, Carmody was the star of the show for the Boomers, continuing a promising postseason performance with another impressive outing where she hurt the opposition with ball in hand. Her 19 points were the most of any player on the court, and she was the most impactful of either side. Tabitha Betson was also important, chiming in for 10 points of her own.
Scott and Crichton were crucial in driving Casey’s offence, and were a massive factor in the team’s third quarter fightback. They each recorded 12 points in the loss, and were valiant in defeat, along with Kyra Webb, who had nine points.
The Melbourne Tigers await the Boomers in the big dance on Friday night, while it is season over for the Cavaliers, who gave it their all in a strong 2022 campaign.