The 2021 NBL1 South has officially tipped off with our Senior Rangers splitting the results on the road on Saturday night, with our Ranger Women defeating Diamond Valley 79-65 and our Ranger Men falling 90-67.
A strong night of competition, both clubs seemed thrilled to get back on the NBL1 court after nearly two years away from Senior representation, the joy evident on faces during lay-up lines and shootarounds.
But that joy quickly turned to focus once the ball tipped off. The opening of the women’s clash was a prime example of that focus with our Rangers and the Eagles battling to capture an early-lead. Physical defense from both squads prevented either from breaking away, locked up until the midway point of the second quarter.
That’s when the Rangers bigger, stronger bodies became too much for the young Eagles to handle. Emilee Harmon, Sherry Glennie and Gemma Potter locked down the paint and controlled the glass throughout the night for our Dandenong Women, outrebounding their opponents and holding them to just 35% shooting.
Harmon was particularly important for the Rangers, hurting Diamond Valley at both ends of the court. Picking up 26 points and 10 rebounds, the Eagles had no answer for Emilee’s crafty play who finished +27 during her 27 minutes of gametime. Rangers fans can also be excited with the play of Tenaya Sooalo who provided our Dandenong Women with strong leadership and play in her return to her home club, finishing with 18 points, 3 assists and 3-7 3PT shooting.
After breaking away in the second quarter our Rangers never looked back, holding the Eagles at arm’s length throughout to finish 14-point victors. Unfortunately for our Rangers Men it was a similar, if inverted story for them, kept at that arm’s length by a hot-shooting Eagles team.
There was no question of effort from our Dandenong stars as they crashed the offensive glass and continually got to the free-throw line, shooting an impressive 36 free-throws. But they were not able to get enough consistent open looks on offense as they shot 30% for the game. They were also undone by the impressive play of Eagles forward Ngor Manyang who finished the contest with 22 points and 6-11 3PT shooting.
A bright spot in a tough day out for the Rangers Men was the play of young gun Oliver Hayes-Brown who battled hard all night against some veteran Eagles bigs. Picking up 18 points & 12 rebounds, Oliver provided a terrific inside presense for the Rangers that will only get better with each NBL1 contest. We also saw a solid outing from Sean Macdonald on the night, scoring 19 points over some long Eagles defenders. While not his best shooting night, we know from seasons past Sean can light the league up and will continue to do so as the season progresses.
An up & down night on the scoreboard Rangers fans but we don’t mind…we’re just glad that Senior Rangers basketball is BACK! The action continues this weekend when we head down the road to Frankston Basketball Stadium to battle the Blues in a massive ANZAC-weekend double-header.
Both DBA and FBA are planning some special tributes to honour ANZAC veterans on this important weekend, followed by two huge games of NBL1 South basketball. This event will likely sellout, so be sure to get your tickets now to avoid disappointment!
THIS WEEK’S NBL1 SCHEDULE
Dandenong Rangers @ Frankston Blues
Frankston Basketball Stadium
Women 5:30PM | Men 7:30PM