UNBEATEN thus far in the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys Championship division, Ballarat Miners have a busy schedule planned for Round 6. The Miners will play back-to-back games in Round 6 to catch up to the rest of the competition, with a clash against Bulleen Boomers tomorrow night, before locking horns with Melbourne Tigers on Sunday. The Friday night fixture between the third placed Miners and fourth placed Boomers is set to be the match of the round.
Ballarat unfortunately had to forfeit their Round 3 match against Knox Raiders, not bbeing able to test themselves against the benchmark team. They took care of Sandringham Sabres (12 points), Frankston Blues (25) and Geelong United (four) in the other matches, but will face their biggest test to-date against the fourth placed Boomers. With other top five teams Nunawading Spectres and Casey Cavaliers to still come in the final few rounds, the Miners will be hoping to finish Round 6 with a 2-0 record and try and set up the double chance in the finals series.
Lucas Impey only managed the first two games of the season thus far, scoring 40 points at an average of 20 per game, being a potent option inside the arc. His partner-in-crime Ned Renfree has not scored below 17 points in his three outings, totalling 17, 18 and 21 in a mirror of consistency for the Miners, and is one who is key to Ballarat’s chances in this fixture. Providing a supporting role, Jack Coffey has averaged 10 points per game across three outings, while Nicholas Robinson has chipped in with the eight point per game average.
Bulleen has played an extra game, with only a spirited 13-point loss at home to Knox Raiders in Round 2 the blemish. They scraped past Geelong United by two points in Round 1, then picked up comfortable wins over Sandringham Sabres (20), Keilor Thunder (12) and Melbourne Tigers (18) to position themselves well for the run home.
Bulleen has a dominant duo who must be stopped to have any chance of victory. One of the most potent players in the league, Joel Foxwell is doing as he pleases this season with 153 points (30.6 per game) including three 30-plus efforts. His 23 points last round against the Tigers was the lowest of the season, but he is not the only one for the Miners to worry about. Amos Harvey is just one point off clocking up his ton from the five VC Championship matches, not dipping below 10 points this season. Remarkably, his previous four games have increased by seven points, going from 10 to 17, then to 24 and finally 31 last week against the Tigers, for a total of 99 points, at an average of 20 per game.
Ballarat will hope to back up against the sixth placed Melbourne Tigers on Sunday, but in other Friday night fixtures, Frankston Blues returns from a bye to lock horns with Geelong United in a bottom three clash. Top of the table Knox Raiders will face Casey Cavaliers in another entertaining fixture, while seconds placed Nunawading Spectres host Keilor Thunder.
VJBL UNDER 18 BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURE: ROUND 6
Ballarat Miners vs. Bulleen Boomers
Geelong United vs. Frankston Blues
Nunawading Spectres vs. Keilor Thunder
Casey Cavaliers vs. Knox Raiders
Melbourne Tigers vs. Ballarat Miners*
Bye: Sandringham Sabres
* Match played on Sunday