Pioneers season suffers setback after tough loss

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Pioneers season suffers setback after tough loss

The OneFortyOne Pioneers women suffered their first home court loss on Friday night, going down to the Eltham Wildcats.


It was the Pioneers’ second consecutive loss and their third of the NBL1 South season, with Mount Gambier now dropping from third to fifth on the ladder.
The women only went down by four points in what was a tough match at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre.


The Wildcats signalled their determination in the opening 30 seconds of play, sinking a long range three before jumping out to a five point lead and holding the Pioneers scoreless for two minutes, until Sherrie Calleia unleashed with a three of her own.


Pioneers vice captain Haliegh Reinoehl joined the party, sinking a three from way outside, with Calleia again finding range from outside to see the home side up 15-14 at the first break.


Eltham ran all over the Pioneers in the second quarter, outscoring them 20-9 for the stanza and taking a 34-24 lead into half time.


The Pioneers used the main break to reset, but Eltham again jumped out of the blocks, scoring the first four points of the quarter and holding Mount Gambier scoreless for 90 seconds.


The home side gradually chipped away at the deficit, with captain Isabella Brancatisano landing two three pointers, while youngster Cara Nulty also found success from long range.


They managed to cut the lead to six points, outscoring Eltham 20-15 for the quarter, to be down 43-49 at the last change.


Mount Gambier went to work early in the final quarter, fighting hard to whittle down the visitors’ lead.


Nulty again found range from outside as the Pioneers regained the lead three minutes into the final stanza.


But the lead only lasted for 90 seconds, as the Wildcats again surged to snatch it back.


And despite the sides trading shots for the last half of the quarter, and Calleia chipping in with another three pointer, the visitors held on to take the win 65-61.


Calleia top scored with 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals, while Brancatisano registered a double double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, Reinoehl contributed 11 points and Zitina Aokuso shot nine.


Head coach Matt Sutton said his side had struggled against Eltham, who were without one of their better players.


“It was not our best game,” he said.
“I guess we lacked a little bit of discipline and defence and in some of the things we wanted to achieve.


“We were not clean on offence, we made things a little bit harder than they needed to be.”


Sutton said his bench had also been depleted with the absence of Sammy Fatkin who missed the match due to illness, along with Zoe Hurley experiencing shoulder issues.


“Sammy had been sick all week and did not quite come up with for the game unfortunately, so we kept her home and she should be right this week,” he said.

“So while we did not have Sammy so we had some other players step up, I thought Tenielle (Human) did a good job and Cara (Nulty), and it was a good opportunity for some of the other younger kids as well.


“We always are a bit light with our group, and Zoe had a shoulder that we were tentative to use, but we still were confident we could put out a better performance than we did.


“They were without potentially their best player, I thought they had a really good plan they executed, and they made us uncomfortable and we did not react to the way they 
played.”


The back to back defeat has Mount Gambier sitting at 9-3 for the season, with the Pioneers to host Geelong United this Friday night.

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