Fast-finishing Pioneers denied double

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Fast-finishing Pioneers denied double

The OneFortyOne Pioneers women split their tough Victorian double header road trip on the weekend, securing a decisive victory over the Knox Raiders, before going down by nine to the Casey Cavaliers.

The Pioneers suffered only their second loss of the season on Sunday, unable to maintain their intensity after a tough match on Saturday night.

Mount Gambier hit the court on Saturday evening and blew Knox off the court in the opening quarter, jumping out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes.

The Raiders called a time out to regroup, but the Pioneers were not to be stopped, dominating the scoring to be up 26-10 at the first break.

The Pioneers continued to run over the top of Knox in the second quarter, and after trading baskets for three minutes Mount Gambier held Knox scoreless for four minutes while scoring 10 points of their own to be up by 24.

The scoring exchange resumed in the last three minutes, but the Pioneers went to the long break in front 46-24, and importantly had limited Raiders’ star Alicia Froling to just five points for the half.

Knox used the break to reset and came out with a determined mindset, sinking the first six points in the opening 90 seconds of play.

The hosts steadily reduced the deficit, outscoring the Pioneers 22-11 for the stanza, and headed into the last break down 46-57.

The Raiders’ run continued in the opening minute of the last quarter, getting within eight points before the Pioneers kicked into gear and again steadily pulled away.

Mount Gambier outscored Knox 24-17 for the stanza to take the win 81-63.

Sherrie Calleia led the way with the scoring, knocking down 26 points, with vice captain Haliegh Reinoehl chipping in 22.

Zitina Aokuso recorded yet another double double, with 11 points and 14 rebounds.

Froling played a key role for the Raiders in the second half, adding another 15 points to finish with her own double double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.

On Sunday Mount Gambier took the court against the Casey Cavaliers, looking to keep their successful road trip on track.

However, the hosts had other ideas, opening proceedings with a three pointer and then backing up with another two points to be up by five in the first minute of play.

Casey sent down a barrage of three pointers, knocking down five to have them up 30-23 at the first break.

Pioneer Sammy Fatkin drained two threes, with Calleia also chipping in, to get Mount Gambier back within two points half way through the quarter.

The sides traded baskets for the final five minutes, with Caleia, Aokuso and the Cavaliers’ Alice Kunek scoring prolifically, to see the hosts up 53-50 at half time.

Mount Gambier took the lead within a minute of resuming play in the final quarter, with successive three pointers from Calleia and Reinoehl.

The Cavaliers rallied to draw level after four minutes on court, before steadily pulling away to a 10 point lead.

They outscored the visitors 23-13 for the quarter and went into the final stanza up 76-63.

Calleia again found range from outside, sending down another three three pointers, with captain Isabella Brancatisano also chipping in with a three.

But the damage had been done, and despite outscoring the Cavaliers 24-20 in the final quarter it was not enough, with the Pioneers going down 87-96.

Aokuso racked up her second double double of the weekend, with 30 points and 11 rebounds, with Calleia finishing with 26 points.

For the Cavaliers, Kunek finished with a huge 36 points and Taylah Simmons sent down 22.

Head coach Matt Sutton said he was pleased with the determination his team showed on the court on Saturday night against Knox.

“We had a really high level focus and I thought the girls did a really good job following the plan in place,” he said.

“They came out of the gates firing, it was really pleasing.”

Sutton said Calleia and Aokuso were influential, with Calleia having a stellar weekend all round.

“Shez had a fantastic weekend and also at the start of the Knox game Zitina was really influential in defence and keeping them to one shot and was a standout,” he said.

Sutton said his side was not as defensively strong when it took the court against the Casey Cavaliers on Sunday.

“We probably did not come out with the same defensive intensity we had for our games, they got rolling and they were a handful after that,” he said.

“As a team they were kind of rolling throughout the game, we did not have much roll over, getting stops, which was a little bit disappointing, which was uncharacteristic for us.

“We could not generate stops or get consecutive stops, a big part of that was them (Cavaliers) and I thought they played really well.”

Sutton said the team’s focus was now on preparing to host the Eltham Wildcats at Wulanda on Friday night.

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