Rangers outlast Sabres in overtime upset

IN what was the most entertaining game of the round for the National Basketball League (NBL)1 South, the Dandenong Rangers managed to claim an overtime win over the Sandringham Sabres. The two teams locked horns at Dandenong Stadium on Saturday night, and there was a fair bit of excitement around the matchup. Both sides had a bit to play for, and the game offered the opportunity to get a leg up on whichever side didn’t emerge winners.

After the Rangers got off to a strong start, and opened up a nine-point advantage on the scoreboard, things were not looking great for the Sabres. However, the visitors managed to claw their way back into the game, particularly in the last term. The deficit was erased completely and the game headed into overtime. In the end, Dandenong was able to just edge ahead in extra time and claim a one-point triumph. The result was Dandenong’s second win of the 2022 season, while Sandringham slipped with a record of 4-6.

Dandenong Rangers (96) def. Sandringham Sabres (95)

The Rangers got off to a ripping start, getting going from behind the arc to claim an early lead. While the Sabres were able to keep their score chugging along too, they could not keep up with the pure offensive output of Dandenong. At quarter-time, the home side’s lead stood at nine after a late scoring drought from both clubs, and the Sabres had a game on their hands.

Quarter number two was much better from a Sandringham point of view, as the side clawed its way back in with an improved effort with ball in hand. However, it was not the most damaging period, as they could not slow down the scoring of Dandenong. When half-time rolled around, the margin was reduced to six points, and while it was better from Sandringham, the work was not done yet.

The Rangers managed to recapture their first quarter form to open the second half, scoring the first seven points of the term to extend the margin back out to double-digits. From there, Dandenong had an answer for seemingly every bucket from the Sabres, and managed to keep the opposition at arms’ length by the time the third term ended, with the margin sitting at 11 heading into the fourth.

The final term of regulation belonged to the Sabres, who were able to get their offence rolling for the first time all game, and it was largely behind the efforts of Funda Nakkasoglu. She came alive in the fourth and hit some really big buckets as Sandringham willed itself back into the game. With ice in her veins, Nakkasoglu hit a three with just 16 seconds remaining, and sent the game into extra time. All the momentum looked to be with the Sabres, but the sides ended up trading buckets in the extra five minutes. When Nakkasoglu hit a three to put Sandringham up by two with less than 10 seconds remaining, it looked to be the matchwinning play. However, Dandenong’s Gemma Potter was able to answer with a long-range bomb of her own, giving the Rangers a match-winning one point lead.

Emilee Harmon was terrific for the Rangers, stuffing the stat sheet to finish with 35 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in a towering performance. She had some good assistance from Potter, who nailed the most important shot of the game and ended the outing with 26 points and nine boards. For the Sabres, Nakkasoglu was the star of the show, nailing eight of her 10 three-point attempts on her way to a game-high 38 points and almost a match-winning performance.

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