TOO big, too fast and just too good.
The Albury-Wodonga Bandits were given a textbook lesson in four-quarter basketball by the Dandenong Rangers in an ruthlessly efficient 105-81 victory at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.
After succumbing to Bendigo 96-80 on the road on Friday night, the Bandits headed home to host the reigning SEABL champions and although they battled gamely, fared no better.
With a dominant third quarter and a full-throttle approach at both ends of the court, the Rangers showed why they will be tough to usurp as lords of the league.
It wasn’t as though Albury-Wodonga played particularly badly for much of the contest, rather, Dandenong’s sheer talent quotient proved the difference in a game where both teams shot well above 50 per cent from the field.
Bandits coach Brad Chalmers, while extremely disappointed his team couldn’t run out the full 40 minutes, acknowledged the Rangers deserved their 10th consecutive win.
“The first 2½ quarters we battled hard,” Chalmers said.
“But they outplayed us from that point.
“The fourth quarter wasn’t great, I probably would’ve liked us to compete a little harder.
“We got a bit sloppy and lazy so that was a bit disappointing.
“Across both games there was some good patches but Dandenong probably got on top of us tonight across the board with their depth.”
Dandenong’s heavy artillery was led by import Daequon Montreal and young Australian forward Owen Odigie, who scored 21 points apiece.
They received ample support from Tony Lewis with 19 points, while Lucas Barker added 11 points off the bench.
For Albury-Wodonga, Nick Payne led the way with 17 points while imports Lamar Mallory and Deuce Briscoe each added 14 points.
“It highlights for us what we have to work on as a team, where we need to get better,” Chalmers said.
“When you play these sort of teams it gives you a really good indicator of where you’re at.
“And right now, we’re a little off the pace.
“Pretty happy with most of the game through three quarters but they got up 17 on the back of them being too talented for us.
“And the last quarter was just junk time — for both teams.”
Earlier, an entertaining opening saw the Rangers claim a narrow 24-20 quarter-time lead before pulling away to be 49-41 at the long break.
The Rangers always had an answer whenever the Bandits threatened in the third quarter, keeping their hosts at arm’s length to take a 79-62 margin with 10 minutes to play.
Dandenong’s depth of talent proved too much for the Bandits over the final period, the comprehensive victory never in doubt in front of a sparse crowd.