The second round of NBL1 South competition wasn’t kind to our Senior Ranger stars as we found ourselves getting swept by Frankston in Saturday night’s double-header.
Neither team was able to overcome the home crowd advantage in a tough night for our senior program, with our Women just falling short of a late comeback and our Men struggling with a more-experienced Blues-outfit.
The Ranger Women’s late comeback was nearly complete if not for a few missed opportunities late. Down 10 with just five minutes late, our Rangers found their offensive flow and fought back to the game’s dying seconds, behind by a solitary point after a huge Elly Morgan three.
That forced a Blues timeout with two possessions left in the game, giving our Rangers a good chance at either taking the lead or tying things up. We nearly did the former after a Gemma Potter steal, pinching the ball on the inbounds out of the timeout. But Gemma didn’t realise she was open under the basket and instead kicked the ball out Tenaya Sooalo for a missed three, giving the ball back and allowing Frankston to dwindle the clock down. With fouls still remaining the Blues were able to get the clock down to 1.7 seconds left and extend their lead to three points, leaving only enough time for a desperation three from Tenaya which failed to go down.
A tough loss for sure but a terrific test for our Ranger Women, who went toe-to-toe with one of the league’s contenders on the road. We saw some great performances by Gemma Potter & Emilee Harmon, combining for 51 points this week after last week’s strong effort, and a strong NBL1 debut for Dallas Loughridge who excelled in guarding WNBL veteran Tessa Lavey whilst making some strong plays from the point. We’ll now look to rebound against another tough opponent this Sunday, battling the Bendigo Braves.
We’ll look for a similar rebound for our Ranger Men this Sunday after a difficult night at the office against Frankston, falling behind early and unable to make a similar comeback against a strong Blues lineup.
A high-scoring first quarter gave Rangers fans hope, matching the high-scoring input of the Blues and helping to mellow a packed Frankston Basketball Stadium. But our Dandenong Men were unable to keep up with the Blues in the second, with Aussie basketball legend David Andersen simply too much for the Rangers to handle.
Scoring a white-hot 24 points in 19 minutes, his play allowed the Blues easier driving lanes and open shots that the Rangers just couldn’t close down, allowing them to run out 110-76 victors.
Offensively our Dandenong Men were solid, shooting a strong 42% from deep and only turning over the ball 12 times to an experienced Blues lineup. But as mentioned above it was our defense that was unable to slow down a potent Blues offense, something Coach Darren Perry will no doubt be looking to tidy up this week on the training track.
Declan Soukup was the best of the Rangers shooters on the night, dropping 5-6 from deep despite some tight coverage, a real bright spot in a tough outing for our Men. We also saw another workman-like performance by Oliver Hayes-Brown, picking up another double-double against some much older big men.
Not the results we wanted Rangers fans but don’t worry: the season has only just begun! Look for some big rebound performances this week in Bendigo, our last road game before our home debut on Saturday May 8th.