While our NBL1 Ranger Men were able to split their roadtrip double-header over the weekend our Ranger Women unfortunately dropped another two games in a disappointing Round 5.
Both games were single digit losses and marked improvement for our Women but the results aren’t quite coming yet, unable to slow down the starting units of their opponents in each contest. Offensively our Rangers seem to be finding their feet and are buoyed by the outstanding play of Emilee Harmon but we’ll have to find another consistant scoring option if our win-loss record is to improve.
Emilee led the way in each outing, finishing with 29 points against Keilor and 32 points against the Kilsyth Cobras. That first outing against the Keilor Thunder was a game at arm’s length for the Rangers, constantly held away after giving up an early lead to the Thunder in the first half.
The second clash against Kilsyth was much closer and came down to the final minutes, with the Rangers taking the lead after three clutch free throws by Tenaya Sooalo with 48 seconds to play. From there the Cobras were able to takeover however as Lauren Scherf scored an easy basket out of a timeout followed by two free throw makes on the next possession. Luisa Fakalata was able to score on a layup with 8 seconds remaining but the Rangers were unable to foul the Cobras late to extend the game, handing the Cobras the W in a heartbreaker.
A bright spot for the Ranger Women in otherwise tough weekend was the play of the aforementioned Luisa Fakalata with the young star continuing to fill it up off the bench. With instant energy and shooting touch Luisa continues to be someone to keep an eye on going forward as she no doubt earns more minutes in the NBL1 Ranger Women’s rotation.
The Ranger Men were able to get back on the winner’s list in Round 5 but also dropped one in what was another wild weekend of NBL1 Men’s action. Splitting the Round 5 fixture was in all reality a solid result as our Men continued their habit of giving up big first quarters to their opponents.
They started things off by giving up 10-0 run against the Keilor Thunder, unable to get the ball to drop until three minutes into the contest. From there however the Rangers were able to battle and grind the Thunder down as they crashed the glass to outrebound Keilor 51-38.
That total included a massive 24 offensive rebounds, giving the Rangers extra possessions that they utilized well on offense. When the Rangers play with effort & purpose they are a hard to get on top of with long & lengthy players, often find themselves able to tie things up after giving up the early leads mentioned previously.
But that wasn’t the case against Kilsyth on Sunday. The roles were actually reversed with our Dandenong Men taking an early lead followed by the Cobras giving the Rangers a taste of their own medicine, locking our starters up and working hard to keep us off the glass. We were also hampered by Dyson King-Hawea’s injury status, as the veteran continues to battle a nagging foot injury. Strong in the first game but struggling in the second, we’ll likely see his minutes managed in order to ensure he can work his way through this injury and contribute to more Ranger Ws.
A good sign for the Ranger Men is the play of Jacob Davison who seems to be finding his shooting touch, now able to find his range and get to whatever spot he wants to on the floor. If Jacob can lead the Rangers offense and pull in some defensive gravity that should open things up for the rest of the team, giving Puoch and King-Hawea driving lanes that they can score and make plays out of.
Hopefully a strong sign of things to come Rangers fans! Be there this Saturday night to cheer on our Dandenong stars in another huge Saturday night double header, as we take on the Sandringham Sabres in two exciting NBL1 matchups.
NEXT NBL1 RANGERS HOME GAME
Dandenong Rangers vs. Sandringham Sabres
Saturday May 28th – Dandenong Stadium
Women 6PM | Men 8PM
GAME TICKETS: tinyurl.com/roundsix