NBL1 South cellar dwellers humble Pioneers

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

NBL1 South cellar dwellers humble Pioneers

The OneFortyOne Pioneers women have returned empty handed following a tough double header Victorian road trip on the weekend.

Mount Gambier travelled to Melbourne to take on the Nunawading Spectres and the Dandenong Rangers in round 12 NBL1 South conference action.

Despite taking the court on Saturday night against the bottom of the ladder Spectres, the Pioneers simply could not match their Victorian opponents, going down 66-84.

Looking to bounce back against the Rangers on Sunday it was a similar story, with Dandenong handing out a stinging 36 point defeat.

The Pioneers were without tall timber Zitina Aokuso, who has been selected for the Australian Olympics team to compete in the upcoming Olympics.

On Saturday night the Spectres produced what has been described as one of the upsets of the NBL1 South season, with the 19th placed side downing the fourth placed Pioneers, ending a nine game losing streak for the hosts.

The Pioneers struggled in the opening quarter, as the Spectres jumped out to an 8-0 lead, holding Mount Gambier scoreless for more than three minutes.

Nunawading finished the first quarter up 22-9, and from there set about maintaining control of the game while steadily building on their lead.

The Pioneers rallied slightly in the second stanza, but could not eat into the lead which blew out to 50-33 at half time.

Mount Gambier pushed in the third quarter, outscoring the Spectres by one, but were still down 47-63 at the last break.

To their credit the Pioneers stepped it up again in the final quarter, retaining their tempo to match it with their opponents, just outscored 21-19 in the stanza.

However the damage done in the opening quarter was too great, with Mount Gambier going down 66-84.

The Pioneers could only manage 34.3% shooting from the field and 2/30 from three point range.

Sherrie Calleia top scored with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

Isabella Brancatisano contributed 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Pioneers, Haliegh Reinoehl 10 points and eight boards, and Samantha Fatkin eight points and five rebounds.

Sunday’s match against the Dandenong started in a similar fashion to the previous evening, with the Rangers running all over the Pioneers, to be up 23-13 at the first break.

The rut continued in the second period, with the Pioneers again outscored 14-23, to be down 27-46 at half time.

The height of the Rangers was obvious on the court, with Dandenong grabbing 31 rebounds compared to Mount Gambier’s 11 in the first half.

The Rangers sent down a barrage of three pointers in the third quarter, outscoring the Pioneers 28-10 to hold a 74-37 lead at the final change.

Mount Gambier rallied in the last quarter, outscoring the hosts 15-14, but again the damage had been done, with the Rangers running out winners 88-52.

Reinoehl led the scoring for the Pioneers with 13 points, with Fatkin chipping in 11 and Calleia 8.

Head coach Matt Sutton used the game to give some of his younger bench court time, with Edie Easterby, Tenielle Human, Cara Nulty and Mackenzie Burke all gaining valuable minutes.

The Pioneers return home this weekend for a double header against the Knox Raiders on Friday night, backing up against the Melbourne Tigers on Saturday night.

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