Pioneers find top form on road

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Pioneers find top form on road

The Castec Rural Pioneers came away with back to back wins from their NBL1 South conference Victorian road trip on the weekend.

On Saturday the Pioneers took on Geelong United and picked up a nice win, before heading to Bendigo on Sunday to play the Bendigo Braves, coming away with another solid victory to close out a successful weekend.

Mount Gambier got off to a solid start in the match against Geelong, consistently scoring but most of their points came in the paint.

The Pioneers struggled from behind the arc in the first period, only nailing one, however Nick Marshall was electric in the first term, scoring eight points to get the ball rolling.

After the first quarter Mount Gambier held an eight point lead while holding Geelong to only 10 points.

The Pioneers’ first quarter momentum disappeared in the second stanza as they struggled to slow down Geelong.

Mount Gambier battled at both ends of the court as they struggled to get anything working on offence, shooting 2/8 from deep while only scoring four points in the paint.

After a disappointing quarter the Pioneers were still in the game, only down by one point at half time.

Mount Gambier regrouped at the break and came out as a brand new team in the third term as they lit up the court.

After shooting the three ball poorly in the previous quarter they stuck to it in the third period and it paid off, hitting four threes while only missing two, giving them the spark they needed.

Mount Gambier was not only cooking from deep as they found success knocking down shots from the mid range with the help from Christian Peevy and continued to have a dominant presence in the paint.

In the third period the Pioneers put up 28 points which resulted in them taking back the lead as they headed into the final term up by 12 points.

The final term was a tight battle as both sides traded shots in the quarter, but Mount Gambier did a good job at holding off Geelong’s fourth quarter charge.

The final quarter had both teams scoring 20 points to close out the game, with the Pioneers defeating the hosts 93-81.

The Pioneers victory was an all round team win with everyone contributing, six players scored double figures which has been something they have been working to improve.

Coming off the bench Dylan Marshall and Titus Robinson contributed 28 points off the bench.

Head coach Richard Hill said he was very pleased with the team’s performance on Saturday night.

“Saturday night was a really good turnaround, we got out of the blocks quickly,” he said.

“We had six guys in double figures which is a really big improvement with where we have been at, we are always aiming to get five or so guys in double figures.

“We got contributions right across the board which was good.”

In Sunday’s clash against the Bendigo Braves Mount Gambier started the game well.

The Pioneers went on a 8-0 run to kick start the game with Nick Marshall scoring all eight points.

Mount Gambier found a lot of success scoring in the paint and from three but struggled in the mid range, but held a four point lead at the first break.

Both teams went back and forth in the second period, with Bendigo taking the lead after hitting a three.

However the Braves only held that lead for 15 seconds as Austin Shelly answered back with a three of his own to regain the ascendancy.

The Pioneers finished the period strong with a 7-0 run to take a seven point lead at half time.

In the third term Mount Gambier continued to build their lead, putting up 23 points even though they did not shoot the three ball well.

Peevy did well to keep the flow going on offence, scoring six points in the quarter and helping the Pioneers to a 13 point lead at the last break.

The final quarter was rinse and repeat with the Pioneers constantly scoring on offensive trips to help keep their lead.

However Bendigo made a late charge, keeping them just in the game, but the Pioneers knuckled down and closed out the match 90-75, making it two from two for the weekend.

Nick Marshall had yet another great game, scoring 24 points, while Akech Aliir again dominated the glass as he recorded his third double double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Peevy also had a solid game, scoring 12 points while having a team high three steals.

Again Hill was pleased with his team’s play against Bendigo on Sunday.

“On the back of all the travel we had it was a pretty good win, we started well again which was two games in a row,” he said.

“They were down on numbers, but we played well so you could not get overly excited, they were not at their best.””

Hill said early in the first quarter Dylan Marshall suffered a nasty knock to the head and did not return to the game.

“There’s nothing serious there, it looks like he’s going to be okay, we just did not want to take the chance,” he said.

After securing back to back away wins on the weekend the Pioneers now sit top of the conference with a record of 6-2.

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