Geelong ruins Pioneers party

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Geelong ruins Pioneers party

The OneFortyOne Pioneers welcomed Geelong United to Wulanda on Friday night, with the home side determined to redeem an earlier loss to the visitors.

But it was not to be, as the Victorians handed out a lesson to Mount Gambier, dishing out a 16 point loss to the Pioneers in NBL1 South conference round 9 action.

The two sides previously met in round 5, with Geelong taking a two point win, which was the Pioneers’ first loss of the season.

Mount Gambier welcomed back Sammy Fatkin and Zoe Hurley from illness and injury, but were without tall timber Zitina Aokuso, who was in China playing for the Australian Opals in the lead up to the Olympics.

The first quarter was the Sherrie Calleia show, as the reliable guard knocked down 10 of Mount Gambier’s opening period 16 points, including two threes.

The Pioneers had trouble landing their shots, shooting at 28% in the opening quarter, as Geelong steadily plugged away to be up 19-16 at the first break.

The visitors kept up the pressure in the second quarter, with the Pioneers drawing level at 19-all within the first minute of play, before Geelong steadily pulled away to be up by 10 half way through the stanza.

Mount Gambier rallied, getting back to within seven, but that was as close as they could get for the quarter, with Geelong outscoring them 18-12 to go into the main break ahead 37-28.

The Pioneers regrouped at the break and returned to the court with a determined focus.

There was plenty of back and forth play in the first three minutes, with both sides only able to score two points.

With just under four minutes to play the Pioneers went on an 8-0 run, clawing their way back into the game to be down by one, much to the delight of the crowd.

But Geelong was not done and silenced the home crowd by outscoring Mount Gambier – 13-3 in the last three minutes of play to take a 56-45 lead into the last change.

The Pioneers managed to get back to within nine points, but the visitors continued to pressure, outscoring Mount Gambier – 20-15 in the final period to take a 76-60 victory.

Head coach Matt Sutton sent out the juniors to round out the game, with Mackenzie Burke and Cara Nulty joining Tenielle Human, Keryl Ousey and Fatkin on court.

Calleia was a stand out for the Pioneers, contributing 23 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Zoe Hurley also had 11 points and five rebounds, Samantha Fatkin 10 points and five boards, and captain Isabella Brancatisano chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.

For the visitors, Shaneice Swain continued her standout season with another 24 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots with Jada Rice contributing 17 points and eight boards.

Lasha Petree also had 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals for Geelong, Sarah Elsworthy 14 points and eight boards, and Eva Braslis four points, nine rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

Mount Gambier has now slipped to sixth on the ladder and will play top of the ladder Keilor Thunder away on Friday night.

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