Big V Round 4: Pacers men, Tigers and Eagles women get on the board

There is only one winless team in each competition after a month’s play as Whittlesea got their season going in the men’s league with a big win, while both Melbourne and Diamond Valley recorded upset victories in the women’s competition in round four Big V action.

Credit: Photo Credit: Big V Media

State Championship Men

Hume City bounced back from a loss in round three with a grinding 82-74 win over Eltham to kick start the weekend’s action. Both teams shot under 42% with the Wildcats’ lack of star power showing through as Jamal Brown (28 points, 14 rebounds) proved the difference between the sides. Yusuf Qaafow (10 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists) and Jermaine Maybank (10 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) both did their best to get triple-doubles, while James Malvaso and Jarrad Fryar both netted 15 points each for the visitors in defeat.

Sherbrooke continued their good start to the 2014 season with a 76-69 win over a much-improved McKinnon side. Despite both imports struggling to reach their usual lofty standards, the Suns got the win on the back of Josh Smith’s 20 points, including 4-of-8 from deep. Grant Johnson (20 points, 9 rebounds) struggled with 9-of-24 shooting from the floor to go with six turnovers, while Titus Robinson (17 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks) had a solid double-double. Import Kale Harrison continued his superb start to the season for the Cougars, netting 19 points and collecting 9 rebounds in the loss.

Hawthorn was taught a State Championship lesson by Ringwood in a 118-86 thumping, with the Hawks romping home on the back of a 53-29 first half. Brian Dougher and Marcus Ruh each had 20 points for the visitors as seven players reached double digits, including Zac Haig (14 points, 11 rebounds), who had nine offensive rebounds in the contest. The Magic were outplayed in almost every area of the game, with Jay Allen (21 points) and Zach Natoli (18 points, 7 assists) the most notable performers.

Corio Bay continued to put their hand up as the best side in the league with a 109-74 win over Werribee. A 29-10 first term and an even more unbelievable 40-13 third quarter saw the Stingrays cruise home with a host of players getting in on the action. Duane Johnson (24 points, 6 rebounds, 11-16 FG), Michael Rebula (22 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), Scooter Renkin (20 points in 22 minutes) and Lachlan Headlam (15 points, 13 rebounds) all got their own, while Jordan Hughes and Aaron McCuin both collected 20 points and 7 rebounds for the losing side.

Diamond Valley bounced back from a tough opening month with a 92-57 thrashing of Melbourne. A 24-10 first quarter set up the win before the Eagles closed it out with a 30-15 final term. The game itself was scrappy, with a combined 42 turnovers and neither team shooting better than 45%. Matt Fennell typically led the victorious visitors with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals, while Johnny Kloester (14 points) was the best for the Tigers.

Whittlesea and Waverley played out a thriller, with the injection of Jermaine Williams seeing a much improved Pacers side fall to the undefeated Falcons by two points, 89-87. The visiting side got home thanks to a Brad Kelleher (32 points, 13-24 FG) buzzer-beater to break a tie, with the guard enjoying his best outing for the season. Ivan Platenik (18 points, 13 rebounds) was solid as usual for the Falcons, while for the unlucky Pacers it was Jason Dirkx (21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 5-8 3PT) who led the way, including nailing a game-tying three with seven seconds on the clock. Michael Petridis (20 points) continued his solid early-season form while new import Williams (17 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 assists) showed he will have a massive impact on his side’s fortunes.

A barnstorming second quarter ensured that Corio Bay would remain undefeated after four rounds, with the Stingrays beating Sherbrooke 94-82. For the victors, Michael Rebula was unconscious as he shot 14-of-15 from the field for a game-high 28 points. Scooter Renkin (24 points, 5 assists) and Jason Reardon (4 points, 13 rebounds, 9 assists) were also prominent in the win, while for the Suns it was again left to Grant Johnson (27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Titus Robinson (22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks) to shoulder the load.

Ringwood continued their impressive start to the 2014 season with a 103-88 win over Diamond Valley to complete a perfect weekend and move to 5-1 on the season. The Eagles fell away after halftime as Shaun Clarke (25 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Trevor Latham (25 points, 8 rebounds) went to work inside. For the Eagles, Matthew Jackson took full advantage of an increase in minutes to finish with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Matt Fennell (20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists) was again one of his side’s best.

In the battle of two winless sides, it was newcomers Whittlesea who broke their drought with a strong 89-68 away win over hapless Eltham. The Wildcats are 0-6 and continue to struggle for offense, shooting at just 38% and having a top scorer in Jarrad Fryar finish with just 13 points. He added 5 rebounds and 4 assists as James Malvaso finished with 12 points of his own. The Pacers look a completely different side with Jermaine Williams on board, with the import coming up with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Petridis (19 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Jason Dirkx (19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists) led the score sheet for the victors.

Bulleen rounded out the weekend with a tough 95-84 win at Werribee. The Boomers shot at 61% to the Devils’ 25% in the first term but needed a 29-20 final term to secure the win. Thadd Varmall (25 points, 11 rebounds) shot poorly but led his side well, with Scott Cuffe (23 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals, 9-11 FG) nailing 5-of-6 from deep in a brilliant display. Rustin Dowd carried his side with 39 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists as they fell at home to a 3-3 record. The Boomers, who were coming off consecutive one-point defeats against Ringwood and Corio Bay, played without Lester Strong again.

State Championship Women

Warrandyte’s difficult start to its first Big V State Championship campaign continued with the Venom blown away in an 86-43 loss to Waverley. The home side shot at just 29% and managed to score no more than 13 points in any term as the Falcons ran riot. Brigitte Ardossi (22 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 9-14 FG) and Tegan Cunningham (21 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals) expectedly led the way despite limited minutes, while only Tamara Olivia Nesmith managing to reach double digits for the home side with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Diamond Valley is on the board in 2014 after an upset win over an undermanned Bulleen side. The 69-64 result, which came on the back of a 19-8 last term, saw the Eagles grab their first win of the season. Kelli Schleibs (10 points, 12 rebounds) was strong in limited minutes while Carly Turner (16 points, 9 rebounds) struggled from the field but still put up good numbers. Bulleen, missing three players including star point guard Funda Nakkasoglu, were led by Ting Ting Shao (16 points, 5 assists) and Kayla Theodore (13 points, 7 rebounds) but went cold in the final quarter as they shot 3-of-23 to finish the game. The Eagles attacked the rim and benefited with 23 foul shot attempts to Bulleen’s seven, resulting in an extra 17 points at the line.

Ringwood continued their good start to the season with a 69-57 win over a dogged Eltham side. Amber Hegge was on fire again, finishing with 27 points and 10 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting before fouling out, while Tara Blair popped up with 19 points for the victors. Isabella Brancatisano (13 points, 8 rebounds) led her side in defeat on the back of some hot shooting. The Wildcats were simply overwhelmed by the title contending Hawks in the end as they slumped to a 1-3 start and missed Hayley Munro for the third straight game.

Hume City held off McKinnon for a 74-72 win in a preview to a possible finals matchup, with New Zealander Samara Gallaher dropping two foul shots with 9 seconds on the clock to lift her side to victory. Gallaher had 16 points and 12 rebounds in her second outing for Hume to give plenty of help to import Colleen Planeta (25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists) who continued her stellar form. Alex Lough was dominant for the Cougars, collecting 22 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks, while Nicole Zammit (7 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists) was crucial down the stretch, tying the game from the foul line just seconds before Gallaher’s winning points.

Melbourne stunned Sherbrooke to claim their first win of the season with a dour 55-52 victory. The Suns, who started the season with a 2-0 record, dropped a game which suggests they haven’t come as far as first thought from last season’s pitiful campaign. Despite the young Tigers shooting 2-of-8 from the stripe in the final 75 seconds to leave the door open for the Suns, the visitors couldn’t find the bottom of the net themselves and Melbourne held on. Mel Prior (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Peri Kalka (11 points, 11 rebounds, 5-6 FG) led the victors while only Danielle Fidge (20 points) stood up for Sherbrooke, who shot at a dismal 24% and were outrebounded 54-30.

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