Rangers’ stars recognised

Puoch Puoch claimed the Rangers SEABL men''s Coaches Award.

By Hayley Wildes

 Last Wednesday night was a chance to celebrate the SEABL and Victorian Youth Championship (VYC) seasons of the Dandenong Rangers’.

Despite both SEABL squads missing out on finals action, some brilliant individual seasons stood out.

For the SEABL men, captain Lucas Barker was named Rangers MVP after an incredible season. Having already claimed SEABL’s Golden Hands award – awarded to the league-leader in assists – Barker’s consistent season was again recognised.

As well as dishing out a SEABL career-high 6.2 assists per game, Barker also added 13.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. Whilst his stats are eye-catching, it is the way in which he plays his basketball – a team-first mentality and ruthless competitiveness – that truly sets him apart.

Puoch Puoch was awarded the Coaches Award in a season of tremendous growth. Puoch started the season as a role player coming off the bench, but forced his way into the starting line-up with his exciting play.

The forward proved that he belongs at SEABL level and will be one to keep an eye in the future after averaging 9.1 points, 5.6 rebounds per game and shooting an impressive 48.8 percent on threes.

Dandenong veteran big man Tim Lang was awarded the Player’s Player Award for another fine season. Lang averaged 9.4 points and 5 rebounds per game.

The SEABL women were led all season by Tayla Roberts, while some young guns stood up also.

Roberts was awarded Rangers MVP honours after a season of domination. She took her game to the next level, averaging SEABL career-highs in points (18 per game) and rebounds (10.6), while adding 2.1 assists per game.

Rising star Kiera Rowe was awarded the Coaches Award. After averaging 4.8 points in 12 SEABL games in 2017, Rowe stepped up on offence this season, more than doubling her output to 10.2 points and adding three rebounds per game.

Bec Pizzey is another whose star continues to rise and claimed the Player’s Player Award. Pizzey was a vital player and played big minutes down the stretch of the season. Averages of 8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game highlight her impact on both ends of the court.

The VYC men had a stunning regular season, claiming the most wins in the competition and finishing with a record of 17-5. Unfortunately, they were knocked out in the first round of finals by Hawthorn.

Despite that disappointment, their play throughout the regular season was sublime. Mitchell Barry was awarded Rangers MVP after averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

James Spencer was awarded the Coaches Award, while Ben Pike took out the Player’s Player Award.

The VYC women endured a tough season and finished with a record of 8-14. In the face of adversity, it was a season of growth for many players.

Felicity Hilford was named Rangers MVP. Hilford was ridiculously consistent all season, scoring in double figures in 17 of 21 outings. She finished the season with averages of 13.6 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Jacinta Maxwell was recognised with the Coaches Award and Amelia Peck claimed the Player’s Player Award.