Fast start locks Pioneers women in top three

Mount Gambier jumped out of the box quickly in an important NBL1 South round 13 clash with the Launceston Tornadoes at the Icehouse on Saturday night.

The OneFortyOne Pioneers did not take long to score with Cassandra Brown slamming a three pointer to get the home side off and running and put the Tornadoes on the back foot from the get-go.

Jasmin Howe, Shakeria Reilly, Haliegh Reinoehl, Sherrie Calleia and Hannah Young also made their presence felt on the court by making plenty of baskets during a dominant opening term.

Keely Froling and Micah Simpson fought hard for the Tornadoes, but they were the only ones to score for the visitors in the first quarter and were only allowed to find the basket after Mount Gambier had raced to a 21-point lead.

After a devastating 10 minutes of play for the visitors the Pioneers flew into the first break with a 24-point lead having restricted the visitors to just eight points for the quarter.

Launceston was the first to score after the minor break with a Charli Kay three-pointer and got its act together in a more even second term.

The Pioneers’ run was nullified for the majority of the second quarter until late when Reinoehl scored with the assistance of Howe, Brown, Young and Calleia.

But Charli Kay, Makala Bingley, Froling, Simpson and Maraih Payne were in top form trying to close the margin.

After Payne scored a three at the death the OneFortyOne Pioneers women still held a comfortable lead of 27 points.

The visitors came out with some fire in the belly at the start of the third term and sunk baskets early to close the gap even further.

Simpson, Froling and Payne were at their best going on a huge run and Mount Gambier had no answer, only managing three shots during the third term.

After an awful 17-5 third term, Launceston went into the last stanza with all of the momentum and had an outside shot at victory being 16 points down.

But the Pioneers had a statement to make and Brown made a shot early in the piece to rally her troops with Howe and Reinoehl rising to the occasion.

Launceston pulled its socks up and put in a big effort to decrease the margin and this was attributed to Froling, Payne, Simpson and Kay.

Although the Tornadoes almost cut the deficit down to single digits, Mount Gambier had enough in reserve with Brown stepping up to complete the 76-62 win.

The win means the OneFortyOne Pioneers women stay in the top three and will push for some finals action when the time comes.

Another action-packed weekend of basketball is in the wings for Mount Gambier when it hits the road on Saturday to take on top side Bendigo and another leading team Geelong in a big double header.

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