Roy Ward talks to Dandenong Rangers’ Daequon Montreal and covers this week’s big plays as well as the media wrap-up.
Dandenong called and Daequon Montreal delivered.
Just as it has been for the last four seasons.
With the Rangers down nine points at half-time against Sandringham on Sunday, Montreal told himself the team needed a scoring boost then went about doing just that.
Montreal went into the half with only “10 or 12 points” but his final tally was a season-high 37 as the Rangers went into the SEABL finals with a 77-74 win.
“I just kept shooting the ball,” Montreal said.
“I wasn’t getting many shots to go in during the first half but we didn’t have a full line-up so coming into the second half I knew I had to get up some shots and try and make some.
“My teammates did a great job of finding me and [Andrew] Harms is a savvy point guard and he knew I was hot in that second half so kept getting me good shots.”
The Rangers will head into a semi-final against Ballarat this Saturday knowing they have to maintain the form they have discovered in the final rounds of the season.
After having a painfully inconsistent campaign, Montreal said the Rangers had clicked into a winning formula in the past month.
Funnily enough Montreal’s form has also peaked as he has scored 25 points or more in the Rangers’ four games since August 2.
“We are finding a groove,” Montreal said.
“We had people in and out of the line-up all year but we always seem to find our team at the end of the season and get going.
“The guys are comfortable and doing a great job of finding who is open whether it’s me, Harms, Waxy [Lucas Walker], Chuck [Long] – we just roll with the guy who is hot.”
Montreal suffered some professional disappointment last summer after he finally won a coveted import role with Adelaide 36ers only to be released early in the season when the team was able to sign Boomers forward Brock Motum.
But Montreal said he quickly moved on and turned his head towards proving himself again in the SEABL this season.
“It was a bit unfortunate but I just used it as motivation heading into this offseason,” Montreal said.
“I had some injuries so I needed to get my body right then I came back to Melbourne ready to go.
“You can’t let opportunities like that set you back – now I have something to strive for and I’ve always been about proving people wrong.
“I succeeded in making the NBL but it didn’t pan out – I’ll keep having a crack.”
Montreal says he hadn’t got any plans of heading off to play anywhere else this offseason and would rather have some family time.
But before any family time he has the finals to focus on and Montreal can’t wait to face off against Ballarat.
“I didn’t have my best game when we played Ballarat last time but we will take a little confidence from Sunday’s win,” Montreal said.
“At this time of year you have one game and if you are half off your game then you can be out of it.
“We have had our ups and downs this year but we are playing out best basketball so we’ll suit up on Saturday and roll from there.”
*Dandenong’s Daequon Montreal had 25 points and nine rebounds against Brisbane then scorched Sandringham with 37 and 10.
*Hobart duo Tom Wright and Kevin White had big nights against Frankston with Wright having 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists while White had 23 points, five rebounds and four assists.
*Canberra centre Ben Allen finished the season with a double-double scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 rebounds against Geelong.
*Dandenong’s Lucas Walker hit the glass for the Rangers with 15 rebounds and nine points against Brisbane and 17 boards and 14 points against Sandringham.
*North-West Tasmania pair Nathan Wilson and Garrett Jackson almost mirrored each other’s figures, both notching 28 points against Frankston although Wilson had 11 rebounds and one assist while Jackson had 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
*Albury-Wodonga’s showdown with Mt Gambier produced some big performances led by Deba George’s 26 points and Donte Nicholas’ 23 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals.
*Mt Gambier’s Brad Hill was exceptional again with 27 points and nine rebounds while Tyrone Lee (18 points, nine rebounds) and Damian Johnson (15 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks) were as strong as ever.
*Ballarat star Roy Booker scored 26 points in the Miners’ win over Kilsyth.
*Bendigo’s Grant Johnson had 22 points while Michael Vigor and Josh Wilcher both had 20 points in the Braves’ win over Brisbane.
SEABL media links
*The Advocate’s Brad Cole reports on NW Tasmania’s win over Frankston. Report: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3283077/thunder-down-blues-to-go-into-semi-final/?cs=88
*The Advocate’s Stuart Wilson also filed a gallery of action pictures: Gallery: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3282146/seabl-basketball-nw-thunder-v-frankston-photos/?cs=88#slide=2
*The Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_whelan) reports on the Miners’ playoff qualification. Report: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3281818/miners-fight-all-way-into-play-offs/?cs=63
*Whelan also reports on Roy Booker and Abigail Wehrung winning Ballarat MVP honours, check out Roy’s suspender, bow tie combination! Story: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3283070/booker-wehrung-the-most-valuable/?cs=63
*Border Mail’s Chris Young reports on the Bandits’ win over Mt Gambier. Report: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3281793/bandits-steal-thrilling-win/?cs=10
*Bendigo Advertiser’s Adam Bourke (@bourkey77) reports on the Braves and Lady Braves’ making the playoffs. Report: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3282093/double-joy-for-lady-braves/?cs=81
*The Age reports on the Boomers’ win over New Zealand on Saturday night. Report, pics: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/australian-boomers-nba-stars-stand-tall-in-win-over-new-zealand-20150815-gizv57.html
*Patty Mills told the Age the Boomers’ sellout game at Rod Laver Arena was the start of something special. Report: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/patty-mills-says-sellout-game-the-start-of-new-basketball-era-20150815-gizxyq.html
*The Age also reports the Boomers will play regularly when they enter Asian FIBA world cup qualifying in November 2017. Report: http://www.theage.com.au/sport/basketball/boomers-to-move-into-asia-play-regular-games-as-part-of-fiba-changes-20150814-giz9iv.html
Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org