While our shorthanded Ranger Women fell short our Ranger Men were able to pick up a big victory in what was an entertaining NBL1 Round 9 at Dandenong Stadium.
Things started out well for our Ranger Women who fought extremely hard inside the paint without Emilee Harmon. With the Ranger star forward out it was down to a team effort to defend Knox bigs Alicia Froling and Sara Hamson, needing every hand on deck to keep them off the offensive glass. Possession after possession, it was strong defensive efforts followed by commitment to rebounding that kept the Rangers in the game in the first half, finishing the second quarter down by just two points.
This defensive effort was reinforced by Tenaya Sooalo on the offensive end with the veteran guard performing strongly off the dribble. Able to get her own shot over the tall Raiders defenders, she gave the Rangers the outlet they needed with Harmon out and looked poised to help the Rangers stay close with Knox.
But in the second half it was all Knox as that length and size came into play on the offensive end, turning their attentions away from the glass and towards disrupting every Ranger shot. We managed just 8 points in each of the second half quarters, unable to find flow without Harmon’s inside presense. With the Tasmania trip upcoming and this tough loss behind them the Ranger Women will no doubt look to rebound in two roadtrip outings, with it being head coach Mason Rogers job to rebuild the confidence of this young Ranger core.
While the energy in the building was a bit flat after that Women’s clash it picked right up as the Men’s game approached, with the crowd sensing that this would be a hard fought contest by both sides. The Ranger Men have been building nicely without getting the results recently and looked poised to push the Raiders right to the very end on Saturday night.
Not only did they push the Raiders the blitzed straight past them, outgunning them in the first half and holding on well in the second to take a 97-90 victory. It was likely the Rangers best or second-best victory of the season, alongside our win over Frankston, taking down one of the league’s better teams in authoratative fashion.
They achieved this outcome with a total team effort as six players got into double-digits on the night. All five starters managed to work their way to 10+ however they were all outscored by Dyson King-Hawea off the bench, scoring 20 points despite still battling a foot injury. He has been the Ranger Men’s most consistant offensive presense and his ability to play through whatever pain he has been battling should be applauded by all Ranger fans.
The Rangers also continued their strong defensive play in this outing. While former NBA G-League star Alex Robinson was able to pile on 29 points in a solid game no other Raiders star was able to repeatedly hurt the Rangers, allowing Robinson to go one-out while staying home on his teammates. Even with his brilliant play the Raiders were not able to keep up with our Ranger Men who used their length and speed to push past the Raiders and secure a big W.
Our Rangers will now prepare for the aforementioned Tasmania trip, with taking on Hobart and Launceston/NW Tasmania across a busy weekend. Two big games in Tassie, we’ll be watching with our jumpers on and heaters up for you Rangers!
NEXT NBL1 RANGERS HOME EVENT
Dandenong Rangers vs. Kilsyth Cobras
Saturday July 9th – Dandenong Stadium
Women 6PM | Men 8PM
GAME TICKETS: tinyurl.com/round11dba