Frankston gives Thunder a case of the Blues

THE Frankston Blues have started the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) U18 Girls season strongly, along with a number of sides. After five weeks of action, the Blues came into Round 6 hopeful of keeping their record strong enough to remain in third place. Bulleen 1 and Sandringham have been the benchmark of the VC Ashe competition, but Frankston has done well enough to remain in the top three with a record of three wins, one loss and one draw from its first five outings.

The fixture for Round 6 saw the Blues matched up against the Keilor Thunder at Keilor Stadium on Friday night. Keilor has not enjoyed the same level of success to start the year, winning just one game and not quite finding their feet in the first month or so of play. Friday offered the opportunity to produce an upset, but it was going to be a tough task given the form their opponents had been in. For much of the game, it looked a genuine chance that the Thunder would be able to pull off a remarkable win, but they fell just one-point shy as the class of the Blues ended up being the difference in a thrilling encounter. Despite the result, Keilor would be encouraged by the effort they saw against one of the competition’s contenders.

Keilor Thunder (56) def. by Frankston Blues (57)

The opening quarter saw the home side storm out of the gates, shocking their opponents with a double-digit lead in no time. Their work on both ends of the court had the Blues stunned, as they could not get their offence rolling and didn’t end up reaching double-digits in the first 10 minutes. There was a lot of work ahead of Frankston in the remainder of the game, but thankfully they got going in the second quarter. Frankston’s fast-paced style of play was finally able to break past the defence of the Thunder, and the visitors got a slight scoreboard advantage, although the margin still sat at six points at the main break.

Scoring slowed up in a big way in the third term, with a combined 18 points for the quarter. Both sides suffered from a combination of going cold from the field and some ruthless defensive strategies. The margin remained unaffected at the final change of play, with the Blues still facing an uphill battle in reducing the deficit. However, the good sides often stand up in the clutch, and that’s exactly what Frankston did. The visitors stormed home in the final 10 minutes of the game, outscoring the Thunder by seven points to claim the most thrilling of victories.

Zoe Harvey led all comers in the scoring column, with 17 points for the Blues, all of which proved to be vital given how close the result was. She combined well with Bonnie Deas, who has been as reliable as ever in the 2022 season, and was flagged by the coaching staff as one to watch in Frankston’s campaign and delivered 13 points on Friday night. For the Thunder, Alexandra Mendoza (15 points) and Caitlyn Peterson (12 points) almost did enough for their team, but were unluckily just short of dragging Keilor to an impressive win.

Across the courts

It was interesting batch of results for Round 6, with a few upsets and some big wins making the standings a bit different at the conclusion of the weekend.

VC Ashe

Gippsland United (55) def. Bulleen 2 (43)
Broadmeadows (23) def. by Bulleen 1 (84)
Waverley (25) def. by Sandringham (83)
Altona (53) def. by Knox (65)

VC Watson

Ballarat (forfeit) def. by Melbourne
Diamond Valley (53) def. by Kilsyth (63)
Wyndham (37) def. by Casey (66)
Nunawading (38) def. by Dandenong (47)
Eltham (39) def. Hawthorn (38)

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