By Hayley Wildes
In a great weekend for the Dandenong Rangers, the NBL1 teams came away with three wins in four games during a back-to-back weekend in Tasmania.
The Rangers women made it two wins from two games, claiming wins against the Hobart Huskies and Launceston Tornadoes.
On Friday night against the Huskies, the Rangers came out to play from the opening tip. Yet another stellar performance from superstar Bec Cole (27 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists) – who returned to NBL1 action after last week helping Australia qualify for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup – led the Rangers home, 82-77.
Backing up the night after, Dandenong easily accounted for Launceston, 114-75, with Cole (37 points, 7 assists and 3 rebounds) once again completely dominating. She was efficiency personified, going 14/16 from the field and scoring her 37 points in just 24 minutes in a truly incredible showing.With the two wins, the Rangers women improve to an impressive 8-1 record.
The Rangers men suffered a tough loss to Hobart on Friday night, but bounced back in a big way on Saturday night against North West Tasmania.
Trailing by three points heading into the final quarter against the Huskies, the Rangers couldn’t keep up in the clutch as Hobart claimed a 96-87 win. Tim Lang (19 points and 6 rebounds) and Keli Leaupepe (18 points and 9 rebounds) stood tall and battled hard all night.
On Saturday night, Dandenong fell behind early against North West Tasmania, but a dominant 24-8 second quarter saw the team wrestle back momentum and they were never troubled again, running out 109-76 winners.
In what was a great team effort, six players scored in double figures – led by Sam Froling (21 points), who was signed by the Illawarra Hawks earlier in the week for the upcoming NBL season. Leaupepe (16 points and 16 rebounds) was again impressive in just 22 minutes of action and the Rangers men own a 5-4 record.
Looking ahead, both teams face Nunawading in a double-header on Saturday night at Dandenong Stadium.