Pioneers weather the storm

Pioneers weather the storm

The OneFortyOne Pioneers withstood the storm as the Launceston Tornadoes hit town on Friday night.

The women felt the full force of the Tornadoes in the NBL1 South conference round 3 clash but stood strong to win the match and remain undefeated after five games.

The Pioneers took the court against the 14th placed Tornadoes at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre, with the game starting as an arm wrestle in the opening two minutes.

From there the Pioneers stamped their authority on the quarter, to be up 15-9 after five minutes of play.

In the last four minutes of the stanza the home side went on a 14-2 run to be up 31-13 at the first break.

The Pioneers seemingly took their foot off the pedal in the second quarter, being outscored 15-20 by the Tasmanians.

Despite the charge by the visitors, Mount Gambier retained a 46-33 lead at half time.

The Pioneers used the break to regroup, coming out with full force in the third quarter to almost blow the opposition off the court.

Brancatisano shot a huge three-pointer seemingly from the car park as the home side held the Tornadoes scoreless for the opening two minutes of play.

Sammy Fatkin also brought the crowd to its feet as she landed another three as the buzzer sounded for the final change, with the Pioneers up 69-44 after outscoring Launceston 23-11 for the quarter.

The Pioneers blew their lead out to 30 in the opening three minutes of the final stanza before the Tornadoes set about whittling down the buffer.

Head coach Matt Sutton cleared his bench with a minute left to play, sending local youngsters Poppy Venn, Tenielle Human, Cara Nulty, Keryl Ousey and Ava Collins on.

The youngsters had the senior bench and the crowd on their feet and despite the Tasmanians managing to get back within 14 points, outscoring the home side 19-10 for the quarter, the Tornadoes eventually went down 63-79.

The Pioneers were led from the front by new captain Isabella Brancatisano, who registered a classy double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds and fell agonisingly short of a triple double after contributing eight assists.

She was joined in a double double with vice captain Haliegh Reinoehl who contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Zitina Aokuso sent down 16 points, with Sammy Fatkin chipping in with 13.

Speaking after the game Brancatisano was humble about her achievements.

“To be honest I do not really pay attention to my stats,” she said.

“I thought it was good to get the win, we have a lot of room for improvement also, but we will take the win.

“We had some lapses and made some silly mistakes, but at the break we had a chat and sorted it out.”

While a fan favourite herself, Brancatisano was full of praise for her teammates.

“Haliegh is on fire,” she said.

“I think Z has had a couple of double doubles as well, we are all really starting to gel well together.

“We are feeling pretty good, we know how to recover and get ready for the games.”

Brancatisano said the side had been buoyed by the great support from fans.

“I love Mount Gambier, I came back for a reason, I think we all love it here, there is something special here,” she said.

“I cannot complain so far about being captain, I was surprised, it’s really nice. I’m proud of it but I just want to do what is best for the team and for us to win.”

The Pioneers sit fourth on the ladder and will face another storm on Friday night when they take the court against the Keilor Thunder at Wulanda.

The Thunder downed the Tornadoes last Sunday 94-60 to remain undefeated and on top of the ladder.

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like