The James Blond Super City Rangers made a major change to their playing roster in the lead up to their Bartercard NBL double header last weekend. US import Eric Devendorf had not been able to shrug off a lingering back injury and was replaced by Australian guard Jason Cadee. Although he top scored with 20 points Cadee’s addition to the Rangers squad had little impact on Saturday as they slipped to a heavy defeat, 95-59 against the Waikato Pistons in a strange lack lustre performance.
Sunday was an entirely different performance against the Wellington Saints. Despite missing the services of injured guard Daryl Corletto the Rangers played with a level of passion and enthusiasm not seen in their previous six games.
They jumped out to an early ten points lead and still held a 56-53 half time advantage. As expected the league leading Saints made a strong run in the third quarter outscoring the hosts 20-13 in the period. For a long time in the final period it looked as if the Rangers would slip to their seventh straight loss.
However some enthusiastic defence coupled with a Cadee master class in the final four minutes carried the Rangers to an unexpected but thoroughly deserved 85-81 victory. Cadee with 30 points led all scorers, making 7 of those points in the closing minutes when the result of the game was in the balance. He was well supported by Duane Bailey (18pts/13 rebounds) and Patrich Bolstad (16pts/9rebounds).
Cadee is well known to NZ basketball fans, being a member of the Adelaide 36ers team that made the Australian NBL Grand Final against the Perth Wildcats earlier this month.
His performances were made more remarkable by the fact that he only arrived in Auckland on Thursday and had just one training run with his new colleagues.
Cadee commented that he “hadn’t trained for a week and a half since the grand final series.” “I got a call from Dillon (Rangers assistant coach Dillon Boucher) on Wednesday, arrived late Thursday. Got off the plane, dropped off my bags and went straight to training”. Cadee’s desire “to bring a bit more organisation to the back court and start winning” was clearly evidenced on Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers have the bye this week before a trip to Taranaki to take on the Mountain Airs on May 10th. A bit more Cadee organisation and magic then will be very handy.
Final Score: Super City Rangers 85 (Cadee 30, Bailey 18, Bolstad 16, Fahrensohn 8) Saints 81 (Webster 26, Tait 16, Le’afa 11)