Pioneers punished

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Pioneers punished

The Castec Rural Pioneers fell short again on Friday night as they suffered their second defeat in a row to Geelong United.

After this defeat the Pioneers now fall to third on the ladder in the NBL1 South Conference with a record of 9-4.

On Friday night the first quarter was high paced as both sides scored consistently.

In the first term Mount Gambier’s three point shooting struggles continued as they failed to knock down shots from behind the arc, with the side trailing by a point at the first change.

After a tight first term Mount Gambier responded well in the second quarter, finally finding their three point shot range, knocking down four threes in the quarter gave the home team a big boost.

Nick Marshall came alive in the second period, scoring nine points to help give Mount Gambier a five point lead heading into the break.

The third quarter was where it began to fall apart for the Pioneers as they struggled offensively.

Mount Gambier only scored 12 points in the quarter with half coming from the line.

The Pioneers struggled to string together scoring runs whereas Geelong was exceptional at getting a bucket when they needed one.

After a disappointing quarter the Pioneers were still very much in the game, only trailing by three points heading into the final term.

Mount Gambier battled hard early in the quarter as they tied the game up two minutes in.

However the Pioneers did not make much of their opportunity as Geelong went on an 8-0 run to open the game up.

After a Vincent Monaghan three to bring it back to five points Mount Gambier continued to struggle on the offensive end, unable to come up with a score when it was desperately needed.

With the offensive struggling, Nick Marshall put the team on his back as he made a late charge for a comeback in the last two minutes.

Marshall went on a tear, scoring 10 straight points for the Pioneers and bringing the game back to three points with less than 40 seconds left.

But it was not meant to be as the Pioneers could not come up with a score while Geelong made their free throws late in the game to seal the victory.

Geelong defeated Mount Gambier – 84-77.

Nick Marshall once again had a big game, scoring 30 points, grabbing eight rebounds and recording three steals.

Akech Aliir was also solid on Friday night, scoring 12 points and pulling down eight rebounds.

After the game Captain Kane de Wit spoke about the team’s struggles with winning games at home.

“I think we are just a bit too comfortable just coming in and doing the same stuff, we are not obviously getting the work done before the game, our starts have been pretty poor and we have not been switched on throughout the game with our defensive structure and what we want to achieve offensively,” he said.

As the Pioneers switch their focus to this week’s away game in Keilor, de Wit outlined what his side needs to do to prepare for another tough game.

“I think a little bit of everything honestly, our defence was pretty poor tonight, we let guys get off especially after scouting them and offensively our ball movement was pretty poor, we have just got to do a better job at getting guys involved,” he said.

Thirteen games into the season, de Wit reflected on how his side is travelling and what improvements they can make heading into the last half of the season.

“Hopefully we can be a bit better at home from here on out, but I think where we really thrive right now is on the road,” he said.

“The sole focus is basketball for the weekend, so we are able to focus on exactly what we need to do every game and get the job done, so hopefully we can come together as a group and get it done at home.”

The Pioneers will head to Keilor this Friday to take on the Keilor Thunder.

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