Finals race heats up

Aimie Clydesdale was impressive once again for Dandenong. 194523 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Hayley Wildes

The return of Bec Cole wasn’t enough for the NBL1 Rangers women against Waverley, but the men got the job done in the Sunday afternoon away double-header.

Playing her first game for Dandenong since 18 May, Cole returned in fine fashion against the Falcons, but the Rangers fell short, 77-66.

A slow start saw the Rangers fall behind 23-12 after one quarter and despite a fightback over the second and third quarters, Dandenong couldn’t get its offense going in the fourth and lost by 11 points.

Cole (22 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals) and Aimie Clydesdale (19 points and 3 rebounds) were the standouts for Dandenong. The loss sees the Rangers fall to 10-7 on the season to sit seventh.

In a hugely important game in the context of their season, the Rangers men were too good for the Falcons as a great team effort ensured Dandenong got the win.

Dexter Kernich-Drew (28 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists), Matt Kenyon (18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists) and Lucas Barker (12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 steals) were a deadly trio, while Deng Puoch (12 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists) provided plenty of energy off the bench.

Every comeback attempt from the Falcons was thwarted by the Rangers with a big bucket and eventually the Rangers claimed a 95-82 win to improve to 9-8 on the season and sit sixth on the ladder.

With just three games left in the regular season, both teams face crucial away clashes against the Albury-Wodonga Bandits on Saturday night.

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