The VJBL season is almost over!
VJBL VC Finals are set to commence on Friday 26 August, making it the perfect time to preview the VC Championship and VC Reserve Under-18 and Under-16 competitions before tip-off commences this week!
UNDER 18 BOYS
Knox are first on the ladder with nine wins and zero losses and were also runners-up at the Kumon National Junior Classic earlier this year. They are led by Australian Under-17 representative Austin Rapp who has averaged 15.6 points per game across the season. Victoria Metropolitan representative Luke Fennell has also contributed well with 18.8 points per game while Fraser Roxburgh has led the team with 20.3 points per game. Second placed Nunawading caused an upset against Knox in the Kumon National Junior Classic and they will look to do it again in the finals. Victoria Metropolitan representative Tiernan Stynes has continued his solid form after winning the MVP trophy on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. Australian Under-17 representative Tristan Devers has played decisively, scoring 17.2 points per game with Lucas Loch and Kobe McMechan pouring in 13.5 and 13.8 points per game respectively. Bulleen will be a difficult matchup from third thanks to Victoria Metropolitan representative Joel Foxwell and his league leading 27.3 points per game. Amos Harvey has also contributed 19.7 points per game in their six wins and three losses. Ballarat is a potentially tough team to face due to their contingent of Victoria Country representatives. They finished fifth with five wins and three losses and are bolstered by Victoria Country representatives Riley Dunn, Lucas Impey, Ned Renfree, and Alex Molan. Nicholas Robinson averaged 15 points per game for Ballarat while Renfree scored 16.3.
It is an even contest at the top of the VC Reserve as Kilsyth and Dandenong battle it out. Both clubs finished with eight wins and one loss with Kilsyth stealing the top spot. Wyatt Stewart led Kilsyth across the season scoring 18.9 points per game with Isaac Ghosn supporting with 10.5 points per game. Dandenong will look to win games through strength in numbers, highlighted by averages of 13, 11.9 and 11 points per game for Noah Mraz, Jett Garnham and Nate Vaughan. Fifth placed Gippsland United could be a wildcard due to the high number of points they score each week. They led the league with an average of 72.8 points per game and could prove to be a difficult team to outscore. Zane Duursma, Finn Boag and Victoria Country representative Ben Waller have contributed greatly across the season scoring 23.5, 19.6 and 17 points per game respectively.
UNDER 18 GIRLS
Bulleen won the Kumon National Junior Classic and finished the season in the top spot with six wins, two losses and a draw. Lilly Carmody has been strong for them, contributing 10.1 points per game with Chantal Vitale scoring 13.9 points per game and knocking down a league high 30 made threes. Melbourne will test Bulleen in the finals after finishing the season in second place with seven wins and two losses. Victoria Country representative Hayley Letts and Victoria Metropolitan representative Edie Clarke will be the key contributors for Melbourne after they poured in 11.8 and 10.1 points per game this season. Third placed Casey will also be tough to beat. Victoria Metropolitan representatives Dakota Crichton and Lucy Dexter will provide great play along with Victoria Country representative Kyra Webb. Sandringham finished the season in fourth spot with four wins, four losses and a draw and they will be a tricky matchup in the finals. They are led by Hannah Wickstrom and Amy Kurkowski who are both Victoria Metropolitan representatives that won gold at the national championships earlier this year.
Hawthorn finished first in VC Reserve with seven wins and two losses. Elsie Noonan and Jacqueline Gomes will provide a spark in the finals after averaging 11.1 and 9.2 points per game across the season. Second placed Keilor also finished with seven wins and two losses and will be fun to watch with sharpshooter Ruby Murphy, who made 22 threes this season. Fifth placed Waverley could also be a worry for rival teams as they feature Liana Kinkela who averaged 18.7 points per game for the season.
UNDER 16 BOYS
Hawthorn topped the league with eight wins and one loss and won the Kumon National Junior Classic as Ryder Cheesman led from the front with 21 points per game. Cheesman, Edward Brammall, Harrison Beauchamp, and Louis Emmett all feature for Hawthorn and were part of the Victoria Metropolitan Under-16 team that won gold this year. Second placed Knox will also perform well during the finals after finishing the season with nine wins. Motu-Junior Uelehipa averaged 11.6 points per game and Mitchell Hansen also scored 12.5 for Knox. Dandenong will look to challenge the top teams after finishing third this season. They are led by Thomas Lee, Sebastien Khan, and Victoria Metropolitan representative Henry Sewell.
Wyndham top the VC Reserve after securing eight wins and a loss. Brodie Salter will be a fun watch in the finals after scoring 21.7 points per game throughout the season. Sunbury will look to progress deep in the finals after finishing in third. Victoria Country representative Cooper Duff-Tytler averaged 17.6 points per game and will pilot the team through their finals campaign. Camberwell will also look to cause an upset from eighth spot with Victoria Metropolitan representative James Coleman on the court.
UNDER 16 GIRLS
The finals could prove to be very unpredictable as the top four teams all finished with six wins. Casey topped the league thanks in large part to their Victoria Metropolitan representatives Victoria Meredith, Emilija Dakic, and Kendra Rivert who won bronze this year. Victoria Metropolitan representative pair Zoe Shanahan and Taia McMechan will star for Nunawading who finished second. Third placed Melbourne feature leading scorer and Victoria Metropolitan representative Alice Magnanini who averaged 16.2 points per game. Frankston round out the top four and will look to win through the play of Victoria Metropolitan representative Jaymee Wadey.
Ballarat finished the VC Reserve season on top of the ladder after winning eight games. Lilly Impey and Charlie McKinnon will be the driving force behind a successful finals campaign. Kilsyth finished in second and will be tough to shutdown due to their solid play across the team. Fifth placed Bendigo and Victoria Country representative Mia Harvey will be interesting to follow. Bendigo scored the most points across the season and feature top scorer Jessica Smith, however they also conceded the second most points. They could prove to be a difficult team to beat when firing.