Our Ranger Women battled hard all game and found reward for their efforts with a Gemma Potter game winner on Saturday night while our Ranger Men fell in what was a thrilling night of basketball at the Nunawading Basketball Stadium.
It all kicked off with the aforementioned Women’s clash as traditional rivals, our Rangers and the Spectres, met for the first time this season. Both Women’s programs featured a great collection of established veterans and young stars which made this game must-watch for NBL1 South fans, earning NBL1 Game Of The Week status for Round 2.
One of those established veterans was our very own Emilee Harmon who we welcomed back after missing the Ranger leader in Round 1. After having a terrific debut season with the Southside Flyers over the summer we were expecting big things from the Ranger forward in 2022 and Emilee met those expectations head on, taking control of the game from the tip.
Emilee smashed the glass at both ends of the court and gave our Ranger Women a go-to scoring option in the post, putting the rest of our Women in their natural spots on the court. With Emilee down low we saw much-improved shooting performances by Tenaya Sooalo and Gemma Potter with the trio guiding our Rangers offensively throughout the night.
The game was a see-saw battle throughout with our Rangers leading the game early followed by the Spectres wrestling control back in the second half on their homecourt. From 3QTR time onwards the teams exchanged leads down to the dying minutes, finding themselves all tied up with 40 seconds to play. The Spectres had a chance to take the lead at 70-70 but failed to do so with our Rangers playing some great defence on their final possession, with Tenaya Sooalo securing a defensive rebound after a Nunawading miss and protecting the ball to secure it for our Dandenong Women with a jump-ball going our way.
With 18 seconds left Tenaya then brought up the ball, running a double-screen action with Emilee Harmon and Gemma Potter that left Potter open from beyond the arc. Grabbing the pass from Tenaya, Gemma turned and shot a long-ball three from the top of the arc that never looked like missing, going through the middle of the hoop and earning our Ranger Women their first victory for the 2022 NBL1 South season. What a game, what a win!
After coming down off that basketball high point Rangers fans in attendance then settled in for our Dandenong Men’s clash with the Spectres, ready to grab another W at ‘The Graveyard’. Unfortunately those hopes got buried in the second half of this clash with the Spectres overrunning the Rangers early lead to earn their own win on the night and protect their homecourt.
Things started out well for our Ranger Men on the road as they carried the momentum of the Ranger Women into the first quarter, locking the Spectres down on defense in a strong 21-13 first quarter. While it was inevitable that the Spectres would come back we managed to hold Nunawading off enough to be up 37-33 at the main break.
A main cause of that strong Rangers start was the play of Jacob Davison, who looked more confident in his third outing in Rangers colours, settling in nicely on the wing for our Dandenong Men. His impressive 23 point, 7 rebound performance was a strong indicator of things to come this season with only his three-point shooting needing tidying up as he tries to establish his rhythm with the team.
While that shooting for Jacob and the team wasn’t as sharp as it could be the more pressing issue for Coach Sam Woosnam was the 15 turnovers on the night, giving the Spectres extra possessions that they utilized well on their homecourt. Some of those possessions came in a dominant third quarter for the Spectres, winning it 32-21 and securing the lead for the first time in the night. From their they managed to hold our Rangers at arm’s length for the rest of the game, our Men unable to bring the lead down to within one-possession.
It’s been a fast start to the 2022 season and we’ll keep things rolling this Sunday afternoon with our Dandenong Rangers hosting the Mount Gambier Pioneers in what should be a thrilling Mother’s Day double-header! All basketball-loving mums will get FREE ENTRY to this Sunday afternoon event and we’ll be raising funds for Breast Cancer Network Australia, supporting an amazing cause that assists those suffering and their families.
To learn more about the work BCNA does and to donate today visit: tinyurl.com/donatedba
NEXT WEEK’S NBL1 ACTION
Dandenong Rangers vs. Mount Gambier Pioneers
Sunday May 8th | Women 12:00PM | Men 2:00PM