Home-court heroes dominate

Home-court heroes dominate

The Castec Rural Pioneers continued their success with another win on Friday night, taking down the Nunawading Spectres.

The Pioneers sit second on the NBL1 South conference ladder with Ballarat ahead of them only on percentage.

In Friday night’s game at Wulanda the first quarter was neck-and-neck, with neither side pulling away with a convincing lead.

Austin Shelley set the tone well for the Pioneers in the first term scoring seven points, but his side was down by one at the first break.

It was a case of rinse and repeat in the second, with both sides scoring consistently and neither able to build a big lead.

The Pioneers worked hard to establish a seven-point buffer in the quarter, however it did not last long as the Spectres made easy work at cutting the lead.

Nick Marshall had a big quarter for the Pioneers, scoring 11 points, while brother Dylan also provided some great minutes off the bench, sinking four threes and bringing some well-needed energy into the game.

Scores were tied 45 a piece at the main break, but in the third term the Pioneers began to pull away from the Spectres.

The home side played hard in the quarter, responding well to Nunawading’s consistent pressure.

Nick Marshall continued to dominate the game with nine points in the quarter while shooting 100% from the field, with the Pioneers up by six at the last change.

As they took to the court for the final term the Pioneers seemed to shift up a gear, looking to close out the game.

They started strong, scoring on consistent offensive trips which made it hard for the Spectres to keep up.

There was effort across the board as every player contributed in the final period as they dug deep.

Nick Marshall had yet another great quarter, going three for three from beyond the arc to cap off an elite performance.

Mount Gambier did a great job defensively in the final term, holding Nunawading to 15 points and going on to defeat the visitors 96-78.

Nick Marshall was doing it all on Friday night, finishing with 34 points, seven rebounds and nine assists while hitting six threes from his seven attempts.

Akech Aliir also had a dominant game, finishing with a double double of 11 points and 14 boards.

Off the bench Dylan Marshall had another great game, scoring 17 points and draining five threes.

Head coach Richard Hill said he was pleased with his side’s performance on Friday night.

“They were a pretty good team, it’s probably as good as we have played for all four quarters,” he said.

Hill said he was impressed with Nick Marshall’s performance in the game.

“He was excellent, it was one of his best games for us and he involved lots of his teammates which is good,” he said.

On Friday night the Pioneers made 16 threes while shooting at 53.3%, as Hill outlined the factors that resulted in the great performance.

“It was good ball movement, good spacing, sharing the ball and we have started to shoot the ball better in our last three games because we have been moving the ball better,” he said.

“In the second half it was spread and everyone was knocking down shots, we like that and it makes a massive difference.

“It’s a simple game and they come about for a reason.”

This weekend the Pioneers hit the road again to take on the reigning champions Knox Raiders on Saturday night before backing up on Sunday to face the Casey Cavaliers. 

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