Big V Round 14: Cougars men, Falcons women slip to finals brink

McKinnon’s men lost their fourth straight game and Waverley’s women suffered a smashing at the hands of Ringwood as both teams clung to the final playoffs spot in their respective competitions with just a month of Big V action remaining.

Credit: Photo Credit: Big V Media

State Championship Men

Corio Bay kicked off the round with a come-from-behind 97-90 win over Bulleen at home, helping the Stingrays consolidate top spot with a 17-1 record. A 26-16 final term helped the home side to the victory despite the Boomers still leading with three minutes remaining in the contest before they fell away as Duane Johnson (30 points, 14 rebounds, 13-19 FG) and Scooter Renkin (25 points, 9 assists) overwhelmed the visitors. Jason Reardon fell one assist short of another triple-double, finishing with 15 points, 15 boards and 9 assists in a typical all-round display. Bulleen captain Liam Norton (28 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) was superb in defeat, while Scott Cuffe netted 20 points to go with 8 boards and 4 assists in perhaps his best showing of the season.

McKinnon fell to a 74-64 defeat at the hands of an improving Eltham in a body blow to their finals chances. The Cougars could only manage 31% shooting in the loss as the Wildcats took full advantage at the other end to come out on top. Simon Bradbury continued his good form with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 10 boards, while Elliot Carr (14 points, 9 rebounds) and James Malvaso (13 points) were also industrious. Sam Ayre had 19 points off the bench to lead the Cougars as Corey Maynard (13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) fouled out in just 26 minutes.

Ringwood flew out of the blocks with a 28-14 first term en route to a 100-91 win over Hume City. The Hawks answered every Broncos challenge as the visitors threatened during the middle quarters, with Marcus Ruh (27 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) brilliant for the home side. Shaun Clarke added 17 points and 15 rebounds to go with 3 steals, while Bryan Dougher finished with 16 points and 8 boards for the Hawks in a solid team performance. For the Broncos, Jamal Brown (26 points, 10 rebounds, 11-16 FG) was dominant in defeat and Jermaine Maybank worked hard for 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists as their side fell to a 7-11 season record.

Waverley punished a hapless Whittlesea 111-56 to keep the pressure firmly on Ringwood and continue their push for a top two finish. A 53-37 rebound count and 25-11 assist tally in the Falcons’ favour was coupled with 48% shooting to just 29% for the visitors in a truly dominant display. Ivan Platenik (27 points, 19 rebounds, 10-16 FG) did as he pleased inside while Chris Arkell (26 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks) was dominant from the outside as their side won every quarter by a minimum of 10 points. Jason Dirkx (12 points) led the disappointing Pacers, who continue to struggle without injured import Jermaine Williams.

Sherbrooke simply continued to win with a hard-fought 75-63 win over McKinnon, highlighted by the Suns’ 31-15 third term that broke the game open. A 47-31 rebound count didn’t help the Cougars’ cause as they fell to a fourth straight loss and the brink of the top six, with Grant Johnson (25 points, 12 rebounds), Jonathon Lee (19 points, 4 assists) and Titus Robinson (13 points, 16 rebounds) the dominant players for the Suns despite both teams struggling to put the ball in the hole. Corey Maynard was the best for the visitors with 28 points and 8 boards as they slumped to defeat, managing a total of just 3 assists for the entire match as a team.

Eltham won an arm-wrestle with Melbourne as both teams combined for just 104 points in a 56-48 win for the Wildcats. In a match punctuated by poor shooting as both teams combined for 31% from the floor, the ‘Cats got home thanks largely to Elliot Carr (18 points, 9 rebounds) and Simon Bradbury (14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists) to get their fifth win of the season and finish round fourteen with a 2-0 record. Only Lachlan Anthony (13 points, 4 rebounds) hit double figures for the Tigers, who slumped to a 2-17 record and seem destined to claim the wooden spoon with only a month of action remaining.

Bulleen claimed an important 103-94 win over Diamond Valley to all-but sew up a finals berth and put a serious dent in the Eagles’ own finals aspirations. The Boomers came home with a 24-17 final term to claim the win on the back of hot shooting from Liam Norton (27 points, 4 rebounds, 7-11 3PT) and the class of Thadd Varmall (27 points, 6 rebounds, 9-10 FT) and Scott Cuffe (22 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists). The Eagles were headed by Sammy Gazzo (27 points, 5-11 3PT) and Adam Moore (21 points, 14 rebounds) but couldn’t generate enough offense late in the game to go with their opponents. Diamond Valley sits seventh with a 7-11 record, one and a half games outside of sixth, while Bulleen are fifth with an 11-9 record and look set to play finals.

Hawthorn won their second straight match and continued Werribee’s misery with a 94-89 win over the Devils, effectively ending any hope of a finals run for the disappointing home side. A 31-21 final term by the Devils wasn’t enough to bridge the Magic’s lead, which had been built on the back of enormous afternoons from young gun Ben Waldren (32 points, 16 rebounds, 13-17 FG) and veteran scorer Jay Allen (29 points, 3 steals). Rustin Dowd netted 20 points and collected 5 boards to lead the home side, while Aaron McCuin (19 points, 17 rebounds) and Jordan Hughes (18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) also toiled hard.

State Championship Women

McKinnon defeated Eltham 67-47 to win their sixth straight and consolidate second spot on the ladder in the process. A 22-12 final term by the Cougars put the exclamation point on an otherwise tough and low-scoring affair, with only Nicole Zammit (13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Alex Lough (12 points, 10 rebounds) hitting double figures in the win. Amy Nicholson (13 points, 6 rebounds) led the Wildcats as the likes of Hayley Munro (7 points, 7 rebounds) and Isabella Brancatisano (2 points, 1-13 FG) struggled to get going.

Hume City eased to a 73-51 win over a plucky Warrandyte to keep the pressure on second-placed McKinnon. An underwhelming 31-16 first half was countered with a 42-35 second half as the Venom tried to get back into the contest but couldn’t bridge the gap against the much more fancied Broncos. Lauren Bennett (24 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals) led the home side while Colleen Planeta (16 rebounds, 5 assists, 7 blocks) and Samara Gallaher (18 rebounds, 5 steals) each netted 17 points in brilliant displays. Import Tamara Nesmith finished with 14 points, 8 boards and 4 steals off the bench for the Venom in defeat but received little help from her teammates as Warrandyte sunk to a 3-11 record.

Bulleen overcame a sloppy start to trounce Sherbrooke 79-47 and continue their push for a finals berth. Despite being shorthanded, the Boomers eased to victory on the back of Tennille Nash (23 points, 5 rebounds, 10-17 FG) and Funda Nakkasoglu (22 points, 6 rebounds) as they shot at 46% for the contest and limited the Suns to just 19 points after halftime. Sarah Verdonck netted 13 points to be the only Sun with more than seven points. The Boomers now sit fifth with an 8-6 record and a game in hand over the 9-6 Falcons in fourth in the race for the final top four spot.

Diamond Valley started strong to finish 79-66 victors over a disappointing Melbourne outfit and move off the bottom of the table. The Eagles got plenty of work from Carly Turner (27 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists) as she returned to form, while Amy Faulkner netted 16 points on 4-of-6 from deep. Sydnei Moss (19 points, 9 rebounds) led the Tigers while Rachel Brewster impressed with 13 points and 12 boards off the bench despite the loss. The win puts the Eagles a game clear of Melbourne, Warrandyte and Sherbrooke in the four-way race to avoid the wooden spoon.

Eltham notched a 73-55 win over Melbourne on the back of a 25-12 final term after a scrappy first three quarters. Despite shooting the ball at a higher clip, the Tigers could only manage 26 rebounds to 39 and were ultimately outclassed by the ‘Cats, who were led by WNBL star Hayley Munro (22 points, 6 rebounds). Rebecca Guglielmino added 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in her best performance for the season to provide the help, while for the Tigers too much was left to Sydnei Moss (19 points, 11 rebounds) as has been the case far too often this season. Eltham moved to a 6-8 season record and remain two wins outside of the top four with just four games left to play.

Waverley’s season continued to slip from their fingers against Ringwood, with the Hawks rolling to an 85-52 win to extend their winning streak to twelve. The Falcons gave up their third big score in a row since the departure of Brigitte Ardossi as they were outrebounded 49-38 and failed to reach the 20-point mark in any quarter. Despite Amber Hegge (9 points, 8 rebounds) being restricted to just five field goal attempts, the Hawks had five players reach double figures as Michelle Kurowski (20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists) and Emma Beddome (13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists). The Falcons got 23 points and 7 boards from Tegan Cunningham but had little other options on hand as they continue to search for a solid and reliable second scoring option.

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