The highly-fancied Dandenong proved too strong for Ballarat Rush, inflicting just the second loss in eight South East Australian Basketball League outings for Rush - 79 points to 58.
Dandenong skipped away to a 14-point half-time lead. Coach David Flint felt to take home victory it would have to contain the second-placed Rangers to a score of less than 70 – 47 at half-time was not ideal.
The second half showed pleasing elements, but despite a hot streak in the back-end of the season for Rush, Flint felt Sunday’s game underlined the gap between it and the very top sides.
“It just shows that we aren’t there yet,” Flint said.
“We know that we can play with most teams, but we aren’t a top three team and we saw that today.”
Rush lost its first nine matches of the season and while Flint says the group did not play well, it was done no favours by a fixture that saw it play one match in the opening month.
Flint praised his group’s character and attributed the turnaround in form to a mid-season bonding trip. While finals look difficult, Flint said there was still a “slim” chance.
“We had such a slow start schedule-wise this year...we didn’t play great, but we had a hard time trying to find rhythm.
“I have to give the girls a lot of credit that they didn’t quit...it can be tough to find that want.”
Others will have to “step up” in the absence of Joy Burke who has national duties with Chinese Taipei.