Sabres looking to lock in top four spot against United

THE final round of the 2022 Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys home and away season has arrived, and despite finals being right around the corner, the top four is far from locked in. The clash between Geelong United and the Sandringham Sabres at AWA Alliance Bank Stadium on Friday night is set to have a massive say on how the standings look come season’s end.

The Sabres are one of two sides that are fighting for fourth spot on the ladder, along with the Ballarat Miners, who currently hold the spot based on percentage. Friday’s game is obviously a must win for the Sabres, who will come in as favourites against their opponents. However, the pressure will be weighing on Sandringham’s mind, and United will be eager to cause an upset in the last regular season outing of the year, given they face an uphill battle in eighth place.

Geelong United vs. Sandringham Sabres
Friday, August 19 @ 9:40pm
AWA Alliance Bank Stadium

United has not been able to thrive since the competition changed to the new format and they were placed in the VC Championship, having only a couple of wins in the last eight games. An appearance in the top four slipped away weeks ago, as they look to an elimination final. However, if they can’t make the double chance, they can still help shape it. If they are able to close the season in style and hand the Sabres a loss on Friday night, it will have a massive say on what the finals look like in the coming weeks.

Geelong will need to produce its best performance in weeks if it is to make this a reality, given its last win came in Round 6 against a struggling Frankston side. In that game, three players scored double-digits in the scoring column, which was enough to get United to a winning score. We know Bailey Bruce will be amongst the most influential players on the court, given he has led the side in scoring all year, but a number of others will need to stand up if they are to post a winning score against a formidable opposition.

As mentioned above, the stakes are reasonably high for the Sabres, with a spot in the top four on the line here. The Miners currently occupy fourth, and are in the box seat to finish the season in this spot. However, all it takes is one loss against Keilor and suddenly the Sabres are in with a shot for the double chance. Since joining the VC Championship division, they have broken even with four wins and four losses, so two chances in the postseason would be massive for their title hopes.

Coming off a convincing win against the Cavaliers, Sandringham should be good enough to get the job done here, especially if its potent offence can get rolling once again. Leading the way in that department will likely be Aiden McCarthy, who has averaged just under 15 points a game across season 2022, and will have the ball in his hands for much of Friday’s crucial contest.

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