2019 Mildura Heat imports Alyesha Lovett and Jacob Pettway.
By ALAN MORRIS
SUNRAYSIA basketball fans will be treated to a Big V Basketball blockbuster double-header this weekend at the Peter Kittle Mildura Toyota Hothouse Showcourt.
Four Melbourne teams will converge on Mildura with high hopes of taking down the Mildura Heat teams who are, at present, two of the hottest teams in the league in their respective divisions.
It will be the first time in the 30 year history of semi-professional basketball in Mildura that a home and away double-header will be held here, outside of finals.
Tomorrow night at 6pm, the rampaging Azzco Engineering Lady Heat will take on fourth-placed Western Port Steelers in the Division One Women’s competition. Following at 8pm, the undefeated King Construction Mildura Heat Division Two Men’s side do battle with division newcomers, RMIT Redbacks.
The excitement continues at noon on Sunday when the Lady Heat meet cellar dwellers Warrandyte Venom, and at 2pm it’s a top of the table clash between two undefeated teams in the men’s Heat side and the Pakenham Warriors.
TOMORROW night the Lady Heat may have a battle on their hands overcoming the Steelers, but if they continue the outstanding form of recent weeks, the home side should prevail in a close contest.
Having to conduct their pre-season on the run virtually during their first two games made life extremely difficult for Mildura.
Their game has now clicked into place and American import Alyesha Lovett is absolutely burning.
After looking every bit more comfortable playing as a guard, she has transformed herself into a monster rebounder and has been hauling in an average of 17 rebounds per game over the past four matches, to go with her outstanding average of 27 points a game.
Vanessa Power is back to her best after registering only seven points in the first game of the season. The following three games saw her fire with hauls of 27, 32 and 32 points.
Still as good as ever, the energetic guard and prolific shooter should pass 10,000 minutes played in the Big V competition later this season, since she started playing in the competition as a youngster in 2002.
Western Port have only lost one game so far and coach James Madigan will be aware that the Lady Heat’s biggest threat will be the Gull’s star American import Milaka Jackson, as well as the Wansbrough sisters. All are capable of putting up big numbers with Jackson posting 23 points and 15 rebounds last week in their nine point win against Warrandyte.
Coach Madigan may alternate noted defensive players Mikayla Delcastegne and Georgia Mayne on her, along with Lovett, to try and nullify her impact.
Pocket dynamo Bronte Clark and Tracy Sherlock scored strongly in their last game and will be looked on to continue their outstanding form against the Steelers.
TOMORROW night’s match for the Heat’s mens side against the Redbacks may give coach Mahaela Jackson a chance to run some of her bench players into the game as the Redback’s have only registered one win so far this season.
The Heat should have a comfortable win, but nothing can ever be taken for granted. Their biggest challenge will be the Warriors on Sunday.
The Heat have all their key players firing with Jacob Pettway starring. Against Altona last game, Pettway scored 25 points and 18 rebounds, while Dallas Brown made 26 points at a phenomenal 83 percent from the field, and four from five from three-point territory at 80 percent.
Calvin Henry gave great back up, with 19 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
Jay Madigan was also solid with 13 points, along with Noah Valentich, who is coming into his own with eight points and eight rebounds.
They will have to repeat that sort of performance against Packenham on Sunday to become the only undefeated team in the Division Two competition, which would make a huge statement to the rest of the league.
The Warriors have also got a good muster of scorers with Joshua Dow, Daniel Stein, Brad Bridgewater and John Creighton, and they create a spread of scorers that makes it difficult to cover all of them defensively at a given time.
Neither team can approach this game with complacency, as to do so, will be at their peril.
This is a don’t miss game, and expect it to go down to the wire, with the Heat holding sway at the final siren.