by Eltham High School Journalism student Lachlan Everett
Eltham Wildcats 87 def by Diamond Valley Eagles 89
Top performers: C. Schweers 39 points/ 8 three pointers, M. Mulligan 20 points/8 rebounds, V. Panousis 11 points/7 assists
Vanessa Panousis was instrumental in the first quarter; her and Abbey Ellis were playing great defence through the game as the American Import duo of Mulligan and Schweers were the offensive threats in the first half with Chelsie shooting 50% from down town and 85.7% from the field and Maggie with an efficient 10 points (62.5%) and 2 blocks.
Maggie had continual post attacks that put the Eagles star American Import Shebly Cheslek into foul trouble early. Diamond Valley un-predicatively threw double teams and full court presses through the first half but the Wildcats went into the half time break with a 6 points lead (49-43).
The red hot shooting of Chelsie Schweers would see her score 12 points in the third quarter with three 3’s and a and one but Diamond Valley scored 31 points in the term with the Eagles captain Anneli Maley and Geraldin McCorkell being the key factors of huge runs and swings in momentum for the visitors.
The Eagles set an intense defensive tone in the last quarter with multiple double teams on both Mulligan and Schweers. The game quickly became tight with neither team getting momentum until Eagles star Anneli Maley began hitting shots and making plays.
Mulligan hit a huge jump shot with 17 seconds left to tie the game 87-87 but a well designed Diamond Valley play out of the timeout saw Anneli Maley with a mis-match under the ring for an easy two points which would be the eventual game winning basket.
Eltham Wildcats 78 def by Diamond Valley Eagles 82
Top performers: J. Sykes 25 points/8 rebounds/4 blocks, G. McKay 14 points/12 rebounds, A. Doyle 13 points
The game had a jittery but active pace with the eagles Darcy Harding hitting two 3’s which pressured the Wildcats to emphasise their defence with Sykes and Magbegor both contesting and defending extremely well. Sykes got 2 blocks including a chase down block that electrified the crowd and the Wildcats defence.
The visiting Eagles got hot from the perimeter as the Wildcats sat in a zone defence. Logan Hovey made three 3’s as Diamond Valley just continually made shot after shot ending the half with a field goal percentage of 45.9 compared to Eltham’s 40.5.
After a tight third quarter the Eagles lead was cut to only three points (58-61) with a buzzer beating fade away contested jump shot by Josh Sykes which got the crowd on their feet.
The fourth quarter had tough man on man defence, Magbegor was consistently great on defence for Eltham, Harding and Spear for the Eagles hit timely shots throughout the final period. McKay came up huge on the defensive end with a block and defensive rebound with 22 seconds remaining and Eltham down two points. An unforced turnover from Adam Doyle on a bad pass would see the Diamond Valley Eagles hold on to a four point win and overall winers of the O’Connor Cukier Cup.
Eltham Wildcats 79 def by Knox Raiders 82
Top performers: C. Schweers 27 points/ 7 rebounds, C. Brook 20 points
Big games the night before for both teams would see the first two periods go back and fourth. Knox struggled from behind the three point line while Wildcats superstar Chelsie Schweers netted 17 first half points to keep Eltham in the game. The second half would be much the same with the game coming down to the final minutes but it was the depth of the Raiders that would be too good for the fast finishing Wildcats to overcome.
Eltham Wildcats 72 def by Knox Raiders 77
Top performers: A. Doyle 32 points, B Waldren 15 points, J. Sykes 15 points/5 blocks
The Wildcats came out firing behind a 5-0 run to start the game. The Raiders then found their offensive rhythm behind Mike Rose who scored 8 of their first 9 points. The game would seesaw until the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter when a Damon Heuir three point basket for the Raiders stretched the lead to five. Eltham were unable to execute down the stretch as they lost their 9th game of the season.