Pioneers step up another gear

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Pioneers step up another gear

The Castec Rural Pioneers have returned from their Victorian road trip, winning back to back games in a comfortable fashion as their win streak improves to five in a row.

The successful weekend has bumped the Pioneers up to sit top of the ladder in the NBL1 South conference.

On Saturday night the Pioneers took on reigning premiers Knox Raiders, and Mount Gambier got off to possibly their best start this year as they established a big early lead.

Christian Peevy was amazing in the first term, scoring seven points and setting the tone early for his side, with Mount Gambier taking a 13 point lead to the first break.

Knox responded well in the second period, stepping up to be much more competitive with the Pioneers.

Both sides battled hard with the Raiders making sure the Pioneers’ lead did not blow out.

Nick Marshall came alive in the second quarter scoring eight points and helping the Pioneers maintain their momentum, with Mount Gambier up 51-30 at half time.

The Raiders mounted a comeback in the third quarter as they stunned the Pioneers.

Knox shot the three ball well, knocking down five threes as they set about cutting the lead.

The Pioneers struggled to find their first half magic, with Knox clawing their way back into the contest, having reduced the deficit to 12 at the final break.

Mount Gambier needed a big fourth quarter to come away with the win, and they came up big, shooting extremely well from behind the arc, making four threes while shooting at 100%.

Dylan Marshall had a solid fourth quarter for the Pioneers as the sixth man lit it up on the court scoring eight points and not missing a shot.

Defensively Mount Gambier were great in the fourth term and held the Raiders to only 16 points, taking the win 98-77.

Everyone contributed well in the win with five players scoring in double digits.

Although he fouled out, Nick Marshall still had a solid game, finishing with a 21 point, 10 rebound double double.

Captain Kane de Wit also had a solid game, scoring seven points and recording six assists while Titus Robinson was impressive on the defensive end, finishing with four steals.

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

“That was our best performance of the year against Knox,” he said.

“We just came out on fire from the start, defence was on point, we shot the ball well and got out to a big lead early.”

Hill said he was happy with the performance of everyone throughout the game.

“Nick Marshall was really good in his minutes, Christian Peevy has started to really find his feet, Austin Shelly was very good on defence but across the board in that game in particular everyone contributed,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon the Pioneers took on the Casey Cavaliers and in a rinse and repeat of the previous night, started the game strong with the offence looking very dangerous.

While Mount Gambier did not shoot the three ball that well in the first quarter, they found a lot of success scoring in the paint and held a 12 point lead at the first change.

Their shooting struggles continued into the second term as they were ice cold from deep with all their points coming from the paint or the free throw line.

Mount Gambier’s defence was solid enough to make up for their poor shooting as they held the Cavaliers to 16 points for the quarter, maintaining a 49-30 lead at half time.

Casey bounced back after the half time break and took advantage of the Pioneers’ struggling offence.

Mount Gambier could not get anything working as they only put up 13 points in the quarter, while Casey on the other hand scored 26 points to cut the Pioneers’ lead to six points heading into the final term.

Mount Gambier’s offence continued to struggle in the final term as Casey were ready to make a comeback.

Nick Marshall was solid in the fourth quarter, scoring 6 points to help get the offence going.

To stop Casey from making a comeback the Pioneers played great defence and held the Cavs to only 14 points in the fourth to seal the win.

Mount Gambier defeated Casey 82-70.

Akech Aliir had another double double, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds while Nick Marshall filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Christian Peevy also capped off a great weekend with a 17 point game.

Hill was once again impressed with the start tha his side got off to in this game

“We came out the gate again really strong, at half time we had a 20 point lead, a lot of that was off the back of their mistakes”, he said.

Again Hill was pleased to see everyone contributing with how well Casy were defending Marshall

“Nick did not have his best game so that was good for us to be able to score enough points with him having an off shooting night, they defended him really well but he still had a really solid game”, he said.

“Christian was really good again, the last four games he’s played he has been really good.”

This Friday night the Pioneers return to Wulanda to take on the Eltham Wildcats.

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