Pioneers roll out for last time

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Pioneers roll out for last time

This weekend the Castec Rural Pioneers hit the road for the last time in the regular season for a Victorian double header.


They will take on the Nunawading Spectres on Saturday night and then the Dandenong Rangers on Sunday afternoon.


The Pioneers currently sit second on the ladder in the NBL1 South conference with a record of 13-4.


The battle for first place is heating up as first place Sandringham Sabres currently have the same record as the Pioneers but hold a better percentage.


The Spectres are currently ninth on the ladder with a record of 9-8.


The Pioneers played Nunawading back in May and got the job done at home, defeating them by 18 points.


Overall Nunawading has been a solid side and has been playing well in the past few matches, averaging 86.88 points per game with their best player this season being Jalen Johnson who is leading the team in points and rebounding.


This weekend the Pioneers will be down a key player with Nick Marshall unavailable to play in both games, leaving a big hole to fill offensively for the side as Marshall has been a reliable scorer for Mount Gambier this 


season.


Pioneers Head Coach Richard Hill believes this game will be another challenge for his side, playing a good side on the road with the absence of Marshall.


“They have been in pretty good form lately,” Hill said. 


“They are a good team and they had a good win over Ballarat last weekend coming back from 13 down at three quarter time


“We do not have Nick this weekend so that hurts us a little bit but I’m reasonably confident.


“I feel like if we play well we should win,” Hill said.


The tough weekend will continue on Sunday the Pioneers against the Dandenong Rangers.


Dandenong has been a pretty good team this season, sitting fourth on the ladder with a record of 11-6.


The Rangers have a lot of size with players such as Mason Peatling who has been a great rebounder, averaging 10.47 a game.


This will be a weakness for the Pioneers without Marshall.


Other than Marshall, Akech Aliir has been the main board getter for Mount Gambier and players such as Titus Robinson and Christian Peevy will have to step up and help crash the boards in this game.


Hill highlighted how Dandenong’s size will be a major challenge for the Pioneers in getting another win on the road.


“Dandenong have a lot of size, they have got Mason Peatling at the four which he’s a good six eight, so their size will test us so it will be tough but I’m feeling good about the team and we’re playing well,” he said.


The Pioneers return home next weekend as they have a double header against the Knox Raiders and Melbourne Tigers.

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