Rangers searching for answers

Rangers’ star Deng Puoch searches for answers against the Casey Cavaliers. 293134 Picture: DANDENONG RANGERS FACEBOOK

By David Nagel

The Dandenong Rangers men’s team will still have plenty to play for this weekend despite sitting at the bottom of the NBL-1 South ladder.

The Rangers close out their season with a massive double header against Waverley (12th) and Eltham (17th) …with the pride and motivation that has driven the Rangers to their most successful seasons over the years sure to be on full display.

The penultimate weekend of the home-and-away season saw the Rangers head to Casey Stadium on Saturday night to take on NBL newcomers the Cavaliers.

The Cavs made a statement from the start, leading by nine points at quarter time before extending their lead to 54-38 half way through the contest.

The Rangers had no answer to the scoring power of the Cavs, with Jordan Bell, William Hickey, Matt Donlan and Mitchell Riggs doing as they pleased at the offensive end of the court.

The Cavs continued their form in the third period, scoring 25-20 to lead 79-58 at the final break.

Scoring was proving difficult for the Rangers, who did show character to bounce strongly in the final period of play.

The Rangers outscored the Cavs 22-14 to reduce the margin to 93-80 at the final buzzer.

Bell (28 points, 13 rebounds) was unstoppable for the Cavs, with great support coming from Hickey (24 points), Donlan (18) and Riggs (14).

The Rangers showed great resilience in the final term and will need to draw on that quality when they look to extricate themselves from the bottom of the table this weekend.

Jacob Davison (21 points) led the scoring for the Rangers, with Nicolas Tata (14), Calvin Enge (13) and Deng Puoch (10) providing the back up.

The Rangers host Waverley at 8pm this Saturday, before finishing off a frustrating season with a road-trip to Eltham for a 2.30pm tip-off on Sunday.

Dandenong was also outclassed in the women’s contest on Saturday night with the home-court Cavaliers running out comprehensive 85-60 winners.

In an exciting first quarter, both teams came out firing with the Cavs leading 30-25 after a helter-skelter stanza of high-quality basketball.

But the Cavs really lifted their defensive focus after quarter time, scoring 55 points for the remainder of the match but keeping the Rangers to a modest 35.

The second quarter was particularly dominant for the Cavs, who rattled in 24 points while keeping the Rangers to just 10.

That second term set the scene for the remainder of the match.

Despite being defeated the Rangers fought the game out strongly with Gemma Potter (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Luisa Fakalata (13 points, 4 rebounds) proving the standouts.

Dandenong, currently 15th on the table, host seventh-place Waverley at 6.30pm on Saturday before heading to Eltham on Sunday to take on the 14th-placed Wildcats.

The Sunday game begins at 12.30pm.