AFTER a long wait, another season of the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) is finally upon us, after two years of interrupted campaigns. With continued optimism that COVID-related interruptions would drop off, this season is looking likely to be the first since 2019 to go ahead in its ‘normal’ format.
This will hopefully mean that players can hit the court and produce the high-quality action we have come to expect across all VJBL age groups. The Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 female competitions are all set to kick off on Friday night, and one side is particularly looking forward to returning to the court.
One of the most exciting clashes of the round will see the Frankston Blues welcome Waverley to Frankston Basketball Stadium on Friday night, with both teams looking to kick off their respective campaigns in style.
Following the last two seasons, which have been difficult to say the least thanks to COVID restrictions, there is an overwhelming feeling of excitement around the league that things may just return to normal. At least that’s what Blues coach Adam Kerr is hoping for – not that it has exactly panned out that way just yet.
“In the last two weeks since our grading match against Sandringham, almost every member of the team has come down with COVID,” Kerr said. “They haven’t been able to hit the floor or see each other out there, but they all seem pretty excited.”
Grading matches took place over the last month, as teams fought to get themselves in the best position possible for the upcoming season. There were some tense contests, but ultimately the cream rose to the top. Now that these matches are complete, Kerr says its time to focus on the upcoming games.
“It’s a bit of a relief to finally see who we are matched up against after those grading games, it always is,” Kerr said. “We’ve got Waverley this week, and the girls are really excited to get out there to start the season.”
The Blues are certainly a guard-heavy roster, but many can shoot, which may trouble the Waverley defenders if they do not remain switched on defensively. Kerr also flagged an aggressive game style throughout the season, as the Blues look to push the tempo against Waverley on Friday night.
Keep an eye on Bonnie Deas, who is set to take her game to another level this season according to Kerr. The pair have known each other for years, and Kerr says a lot of the play will run through her hands, given the talent she possesses. Deas already has a reasonably stacked resume, including a scholarship to Basketball Victoria’s Victorian National Performance Program. She is likely to feature heavily on Friday, and will have a big say on the result.
With 19 other games in the VC Ashe and VC Watson leagues set to take place around metropolitan Melbourne, there will be no shortage of basketball action.