Spectres down Boomers to book prelim spot

THE Nunawading Spectres have firmed themselves as one of the championship favourites in the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under-18 Boys competition after taking down the Bulleen Boomers and advancing to the preliminary final next weekend.

Nunawading Spectres 18 | 19 | 20 | 19 (76)
Bulleen Boomers 20 | 17 | 15 | 15 (67)

Both sides came in with a double-chance and looking to make the most of their top four finishes. Of the two teams, the Spectres finished higher and came in as slight favourites, although it was not by much as Bulleen had been just as impressive throughout stages of the season. Both clubs had the capability to post big scores through a number of avenues, and it was a reasonably hard game to predict coming in.

The game took place at Eltham High School on Friday night, as one of the most anticipated matchups of the weekend kicked off in the usual timeslot of 9:40pm. The two teams were evenly matched in the opening term, as the Boomers took a two-point advantage into the first change. It was shaping up to be a cracking affair, and the second quarter furthered these claims. Both sides delivered some high-energy play and there was no real dominant side as the two clubs entered the main break at 48 points apiece, and it was looking like this game would go down to the wire.

Quarter number three saw the Spectres get to their best, as they began to edge in front of the scoreboard. Unlike the first half, Bulleen could not conjure an answer on almost all possessions, and found themselves trailing by five points heading into the final term. While the margin may not seem like much, in the context of the game and how tight it was proving to be, it was a positive sign for Nunawading. The fourth quarter saw the Spectres continue to extend the margin, as the game began to slip out of Bulleen’s grasp. Despite some coaching changes from both sides, the Boomers could not produce a match-winning run and ended up falling to the tune of nine points.

It was a balanced group of scorers for both sides, with no player in the match registering more than 18 points. For the Spectres, their win was set up by four players scoring at least 13 points. Oscar Dunn led the way with a team-high 17 points, while Tiernan Stynes (16 points), Tristan Devers (14 points) and Billy Hicks (13 points) also chimed in with some big buckets. The quartet were particularly damaging in the second half as Nunawading made the match-winning run.

The Boomers were also well-served by a few of their players, not relying on one individual throughout the course of the game. As he has done all season, Joel Foxwell led from the front with 18 points, which was the most of anyone on the court, while the duo of Amos Harvey and Liam George combined for 32 points and were a big factor in the team’s offensive possessions.

The result means the Spectres will have this weekend off, as they look towards the preliminary finals with just two wins required for the title. On the other hand, the Boomers must now take on the Casey Cavaliers, who won their elimination final against the Melbourne Tigers on the weekend.

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