Big V Round 1: Newcomers struggle as cream rises to the top

Big V season 2014 has arrived, with a big round of matches to kick off the State Championship season in Round 1. The new kids on the block failed to make an immediate impact in either league as the powerhouses flexed their muscle early on.

Credit: Photo Credit: Big V Media

State Championship Men

Waverley Falcons have used a 30-14 third quarter to propel themselves to a 97-74 away victory over Sherbrooke Suns to kick off the men’s Big V Championship competition for 2014. The Falcons got typical service from the always consistent Ivan Platenik (23 points, 7 rebounds) and silky Sedale Threatt (10 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists) while Brad Bridgewater chipped in with 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Grant Johnson (15 points, 12 rebounds) was the best for the Suns, who shot at just 30% on the night and were blown out despite having 15 more oppurtunities from the floor and holding a 59-48 rebounding advantage over their opponents.

2013 champions Corio Bay Stingrays have shaken off the loss of star import Eric Williams to cruise past the Ringwood Hawks in a 102-86 victory. The home side used a 33-13 first term to blow away their opponents and held the Hawks from there, with Duane Johnson (25 points, 6 rebounds, 10-16 FG) impressing in his first outing for the Stingrays. Scooter Renkin (21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists) and Jason Reardon (14 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) also had plenty to offer for the home side, while American Brad Dougher (20 points) led four Hawks in double figures in defeat.

Hume City Broncos have looked to put a disappointing 2013 campaign behind them with a strong 85-67 win over the newly-promoted McKinnon Cougars. The home side opened up a 20-point advantage by halftime and cruised home on the back of a huge night from Jamal Brown (16 points, 23 rebounds), who led five Broncos in double digits on the scoresheet. Too much was left to Kale Harrison (18 points, 5 rebounds) and Moses Adepoju (13 points, 12 rebounds) for the visiting Cougars, with Marcus Timmons having a quiet night to finish with just five points.

Bulleen Boomers have given Hawthorn Magic a baptism of fire on their State Championship level debut, with the Boomers using a 23-10 first quarter to get going on the way to a comfortable 92-70 victory. New import Thadd Varmall contributed 24 points in just 26 minutes on debut for the new-look home side, with Liam Norton (21 points, 5 rebounds) and Scott Cuffe (11 points, 10 rebounds) providing the help. Jay Allen led the Magic with 15 points, while young gun Ben Waldren (14 points, 5 rebounds) made good use of limited minutes.

Diamond Valley Eagles have gotten the best of their cross-town rivals with a hard-fought 75-71 victory over the Eltham Wildcats. Matthew Fennell picked up where he left off in 2013 with 25 points and 13 rebounds while Adam Moore (14 points, 10 rebounds) chimed in with an important double-double. For the Wildcats only a superb performance from Elliot Carr (27 points, 9-14 FG) kept them in the contest as none of his teammates managed to hit double figures in scoring as the home side went down.

Melbourne Tigers recovered from a slow start against Championship newcomers Whittlesea Pacers to claw their way to a 61-60 victory after Gerasimos McKay’s free-throw broke the deadlock with 57 seconds to play. Both teams struggled for points down the stretch, with that foul shot the only point scored in the final two minutes of the game. McKay led his side with 15 points, with Daniel Sutcliffe and Jock Landale each netting 13 points in support. Michael Petridis (18 points, 6 rebounds) was the best for the Pacers but it wasn’t enough to drag the 2013 Division 1 champions over the line.

Eltham slumped to its second close defeat in the space of 24 hours when the Wildcats headed to Werribee to face the Devils. After an up-and-down first half which saw both sides grab sizeable leads, the match came down to a free-throw shooting contest in the final 60 seconds. The Devils shot 4-of-4 from the stripe down the stretch while the ‘Cats managed just 1-of-6 as the home side held on. Aaron McCuin (26 points, 18 rebounds, 9-13 FG) and Jordan Hughes (25 points) were huge for Werribee in the win, while Elliot Carr backed up his big performance against Diamond Valley a night earlier with another 22 points in defeat for Eltham.

State Championship Women

Bulleen Boomers hosted the Hume City Broncos to kick off season 2014, with the visiting Broncos getting the jump towards the end of the second term and eventually running out 73-62 winners. The Boomers simply had no answer to Hume import Colleen Planeta, with the American exploding for 27 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks and was ably assisted by Viv Saad (10 points, 13 rebounds). The Boomers were led by young gun Funda Nakkasoglu (20 points, 6 rebounds) but couldn’t get back into the match in the second half as the defending champions kicked the season off in style.

Cross-town rivals Eltham Wildcats and Diamond Valley Eagles resumed hostilities on Saturday night, with the ‘Cats breaking free after quarter time to run away with a 69-48 victory. Ash McBean (13 points, 8 rebounds) led a balanced Eltham attack, which saw nine players score more than five points to cover for a rare off-night from Hayley Munro (6 points, 11 rebounds, 3-13 FG). Carly Turner (22 points, 4 rebounds) was by far the Eagles’ best but got very little help from the rest of her teammates in the big loss.

In a match-up of potential cellar-dwellers for season 2014, the Warrandyte Venom kicked off their State Championship era with a disappointing home loss to the Sherbrooke Suns. The 48-34 score line tells the story, with neither team able to score more than 14 points in any quarter. Sherbrooke’s Billie Lucas (10 points) was the only player to reach double figures in the game as the Suns shot just 28% from the field to the Venom’s 22% in the win, while the Venom committed 23 turnovers to just 11 in a performance they will want to put behind them quickly.

Ringwood Hawks rebounded from a shock grand final loss in 2013 with a blistering performance against the Melbourne Tigers, with the home side running riot in a 96-57 first-up victory. Reigning MVP Amber Hegge (27 points, 7 rebounds, 10-13 FG) picked up where she left off in 2013, while Jackie Vanderzaag returned to the floor for her first game since 2012 following a knee injury to post 13 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Chloe Little (16 points, 6 rebounds) led a new-look Melbourne side who were blown away after quarter time.

Pre-season fancies Waverley Falcons and McKinnon Cougars rounded out the weekend in a hotly-contested clash, with the visiting Cougars coming away with a 76-68 victory. The teams traded blows throughout the contest before McKinnon got the lead for good in the final 90 seconds and pulled away via the foul line. Alex Lough (21 points, 9 rebounds) led the way down the stretch, while Lauren Taal (20 points) provided the scoring punch off the bench. For the Falcons, Brigitte Ardossi (18 points, 7 rebounds) played just 21 minutes before fouling out, while Tegan Cunningham’s 21 points came at just 29% on 7-of-24 shooting from the field as the home side got off to a rocky start to the season.

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