MUVJBL Under 16 Girls Round 1 review: Sabres hold on in thrilling contest

SANDRINGHAM Sabres have survived an epic contest to defeat Knox Raiders by a point in the opening round of the Melbourne United Victorian Junior basketball League (MUVJL) Under-16 Girls competition. The Sabres got away to a fast start to lead by six at quarter time, but the Raiders clawed their way back to cut the deficit to two at half-time, and one by the final break. An even final quarter resulted in both teams scoring 17 points apiece which meant Sandringham won 59-58 in the match of the round. Hannah Wickstrom led the team in scoring with 14 points, whilst Jaida Reid and Natalia Hordejuk both added 12 points in a strong performance. Knox had a trio of stars as well, with Paige Burrows the standout player on court, sinking 19 points including four three-pointers during the tough loss. Zoe Shaw (16 points) and Gemma O’Donnell (12) were the other two players who had a real impact for the losing side on the night.

The next tightest game was Wangaratta Warriors’ eight-point victory over Frankston Blues at Mill Park. Meeting halfway for the sides to reduce travel for the other, the Warriors were able to earn a lot of chances at the foul line on their way to a 62-54 victory. They had the game comfortably in their control for the most part, leading by 16 at the final break, but the Blues hit back in the last to cut the final margin to eight. The 20-6 free throw points converted was the difference between the sides with Frankston committing 24 personal fouls to 13. Hannah Onley had a match-high 22 points for the winners, recording 10 points from the foul line, while Isabel Whitelaw and Sienna Harvey both dropped 11 points. Mackenzie Mitchell (15 points) and Bonnie Deas (10) were the prominent scorers for the Blues.

At the opposite end of the scale, Hawthorn Magic was far too good for Southern Peninsula Sharks, with the Eltham Dandenong Junior Basketball Tournament winners backing up their success with a massive 46-point win in Round 1 of the competition. The Magic restricted the Sharks to just 14 points in three quarters – including a scoreless third term – while piling on 49 points at the same time. An even fourth term stemmed the bleeding, but the Magic were just too strong in the end. Georgia McBean finished with a match-high 22 points including five triples for the Magic, whilst Erinn McAlary had 14 points for her troubles. Kyra Webb was the Sharks top shooter with 10 points on the night. In other results, Waverley Falcons toppled Eltham Wildcats on the road by 16 points thanks to a fast start of 29 points to 15 at the half. Liana Kinkela (20 points), Emily Gough (15) and Olivia Kingston (12) all dominated for the Falcons, whilst Ashley Vee Mrmacovski (nine) was the top scorer for Eltham. The final game of the Ashe Pool saw Dandenong get past Latrobe Energy by 13 points with a 65-52 win at home. Georgia Sewell (16 points) led the way, though there were plenty of contributors for the green and gold such as Millie Kumbara (12), Jessica-Belle Catheray-Harvey (10) and Breanna Granger (10). Jaime Gallatly (17 points) did all she could for the losing side.

In an all-Melbourne battle at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC), the Tigers’ first side unsurprisingly came out on top of their second side, 55-29. After an even first term of eight points apiece, the number one side stepped it up a notch to run away with it in the final three terms, scoring 47-21. In an even team performance across both sides showing their depth. No player scored more than nine points, with only Amelie Kamberis achieving that feat, with Neve Giddey and Anouk Bennett just behind on eight. A second side that did have a win was Bulleen Boomers 2, defeating Ballarat Rush at home by nine points. It was a see-sawing contest but in the end the Boomers finished stronger with a 15-9 last term to gain some breathing space. Tahlia Leeson was the standout shooter with 19 points, whilst Laila Lappin sank 11 points in the loss.

Bulleen’s top team also had a good win over fellow contender, Keilor Thunder in a 46-27 win on the road. The Boomers’ defensive work kept the Thunder to no more than 10 points a quarter, including just four points in the first and third terms whilst maintaining a consistent scoring approach on offence. Whilst the Thunder did not have any double-figure points scorers, Lily Carmody (13 points) and Tabitha Betson (11) both had strong performances for the Boomers. Diamond Valley Eagles enjoyed a handy 16-point win against Nunawading Spectres, breaking away in the first half to lead by 19 points at the main break and holding off a determined Spectres side to win 58-42. Talia D’Agostino was ridiculous on the night, putting up a competition-high 37 points including 32 from the field. Natalie Skofic (12 points) and Rebecca Dymalovski (11) did all they could combining seven times from long range, but the Spectres only managed seven successful makes from inside the arc. The final game of the round saw Casey Cavaliers get up in a nine-point win over Kilsyth Cobras. Trailing by two at the final break, Casey stormed home with a 15-4 final term to run over the top of the Cobras on the road. Both teams shared the points around, but Dakota Crichton was the one standout shooter on the court, putting up 17 points in the Cavaliers’ win.

Round 1 results:

Ashe Pool:

Eltham Wildcats (38) defeated by Waverley Falcons (54)
Southern Peninsula Sharks (25) defeated by Hawthorn Magic (71)
Wangaratta Warriors (62) defeated by Frankston Blues (54)
Sandringham Sabres (59) defeated Knox Raiders (58)
Dandenong Rangers (65) defeated Latrobe Energy (52)

Watson Pool:

Nunawading Spectres (42) defeated by Diamond Valley Eagles (58)
Kilsyth Cobras (31) defeated by Casey Cavaliers (40)
Melbourne Tigers (55) defeated Melbourne Tigers 2 (29)
Keilor Thunder (27) defeated by Bulleen Boomers (46)
Bulleen Boomers 2 (64) defeated Ballarat Rush (55)

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