SEABL – ROUND 7
THEY don’t get any closer than this.
Dandenong had to sweat out a last-term surge from the Hobart Chargers and wait to see how Shane Harris-Tunks shot the final two free throws of the game.
Rattling off 23 points in the final term to hunt down the Rangers, Hobart almost dragged the match to overtime as a last second foul was called against Daequon Montreal on Harris-Tunks.
Harris-Tunks missed his first free-throw and tried to set up a last-ditch set-play with a deliberate miss on the second shot, but Dandenong’s Chuck Long was able to wrap his hands around the most important rebound of the game and literally hold on to the Rangers’ 83-81 SEABL victory.
“If we could choose a guy to shoot the two free throws for them, it would be that guy (Harris-Tunks),” Dandenong coach Darren Perry said.
“He’s not an offensive force, not really a good shooter of sorts, but in that situation you never know.
“Sometimes they both go in and we’ve got to come up with a play with point-five, so the time out was talking about if he misses we couldn’t afford to let them tip it in.
“Chuck did a great job getting that ball.”
While injuries continue to ravage the roster – including starting point guard Andrew Harms (leg) and soreness ruling out Calvin Enge (ankle soreness) for Sunday’s clash – the Rangers found the right-mix to rattle off back-to-back wins across Saturday and Sunday.
Dandenong carried on the good form it started 18 hours earlier, knocking over Ballarat 101-90 in an away victory via Lucas Walker (32 points) and Chris Patton (20 points), when it faced Hobart at home on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides threw away 10-point leads as neither team was willing to throw in the towel or truly capitalise on its earlier efforts.
Taking a prime role with Harms out of action, Dandenong guard Dwayne Campbell (15 points) showed he’s never one to discount in this league.
Campbell drilled five-of-five from beyond the three-point arc, including three in quick succession in a highlight-driven third term.
“He’s battled with his injuries this year – he had a hamstring injury and struggled to get back – but came back had a great weekend,” Perry said. “Playing him 35 minutes – a week ago he wouldn’t have managed that – but he’s managed to get himself right and did a great job for us.”
Dandenong came back through the second term to run past the Chargers, but the 13-point lead the Rangers built was squandered as Hobart’s Tom Wright (22 points) found his three-point range and Kyle Hunt (21 points, eight rebounds) menaced any Ranger under the basket.
It took the steadying presence of SEABL All-Star Montreal (35 points, six rebounds) to calm down the Hobart rampage and post the match-winning bucket with 50 seconds to go.
“Credit to all the guys this weekend,” Perry said.
“We definitely did have to – not necessarily make a statement – but turn some things around and we managed to do so.
“We’re still building – we had good sections of the game last night and we were pretty happy with the effort.
“Ballarat shot the ball well and Hobart came home shooting the ball really well, so we just have to figure out if it’s just as much about our defence or that teams really get up to play us.”
Perry expected Harms and Enge to return to the line-up this week.
The winning weekend pushes Dandenong back into the top four in SEABL’s East Conference with a 5-5 record and within striking distance of Albury-Wodonga (6-3) and Nunawading (6-4) ahead of them as Dandenong clashes with Bendigo.
Dandenong’s women had a mixed weekend, earning the win against the Ballarat Rush 79-54, on the back of amazing shooting from Jacinta Kennedy (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Clare Papavs (19 points, 13 rebounds), but failed to hold off Hobart in a 67-70 loss on Sunday afternoon.
Dandenong sits first in SEABL East with an 8-2 record before heading to Bendigo on Saturday night.
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