Roadtrip clean sweep

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Roadtrip clean sweep

The Castec Rural Pioneers completed the road trip sweep on the weekend, winning both away games to complete the tough task of an undefeated record on the road for the regular season.

After the weekend the Pioneers have moved to top of the ladder with a record of 15-4 in the NBL1 South conference.

On Saturday night the Pioneers took on the Nunawading Spectres and came away with a hard fought win.

The absence of league leading scorer Nick Marshall seemingly did not affect the performance the Pioneers put up.

Both sides came out hot in the first term with their offences clicking from the opening tip.

However, the Spectres’ offence was a bit too much for the Pioneers defence as they trailed by five points after the opening quarter.

The story changed in the second quarter as the Pioneers clamped down on the Spectres, holding them to just 14 points.

Christian Peevy proved to be a major threat for Nunawading, scoring eight points in the term, with the Pioneers finishing the half up by eight.

The Pioneers set about taking control the game in the third period, holding off the Spectres while building on their lead.

Mount Gambier’s three point shooting was excellent in the term, nailing four threes from seven attempts.

Heading into the final term the Pioneers held a 13 point lead.

The Pioneers continued to hold their own in the final term with the game well in their hands.

They attacked the rim well and consistently drove to the basket as they made seven free throws in the quarter which helped to seal the victory, 97-80.

Everyone contributed in the win with Akech Aliir scoring 28 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and getting two blocks with Peevy also a major contributor in the win with 21 points.

Off the bench Dylan Marshall was amazing, scoring 18 points while hitting four threes.

Head Coach Richard Hill was pleased with the result and impressed with how his side played.

“We played well Saturday night, early in the third we did a good job at getting a decent lead and holding on to it so I was really pleased with the way we played,” he said.

Hill was impressed with the performances from the front court players in the game.

“Akech (Aliir) was probably the standout and Titus (Robinson) was good and so was Christian (Peevy), it was really our front court guys who dominated that game for us,” he said.

The Pioneers capped off the weekend with another great win on Sunday, defeating the Dandenong Rangers.

Both sides got off to good starts in the opening term but the Pioneers struggled shooting the three ball, hitting one three from six shots to trail by a point at the first break.

Going into the second stanza the Pioneers shifted up a gear as they locked down the Rangers, holding them to 15 points in the quarter.

However, the Pioneers could not translate their momentum from the defence end to the offence as they struggled to put away the Rangers off the back of their defensive efforts.

At the major break the Pioneers led the Rangers by seven points.

The Pioneers’ offence began to flow in the third period as they started to pull away with a strong lead over the hosts.

Mount Gambier’s three point shooting struggles from the opening quarter disappeared in the third term as they drilled four threes, while only missing two.

After a 28 point quarter from Mount Gambier, they headed into the final term with a 14 point buffer.

Both sides struggled a bit to get things going in the final term, with both putting up 16 points.

Although the Pioneers did not have an ideal final quarter to close out the weekend, their efforts from the previous quarters helped them come away with the victory and the undefeated road record.

Mount Gambier defeated Dandenong 86-72.

Titus Robinson was a standout player in the game, finishing with 24 points and four rebounds while Akech Aliir was once again excellent, having 17 points and nine

Captain Kane de Wit did a great job at being the floor general, recording seven assists while only turning the ball over twice.

With no Nick Marshall for the weekend Hill was still very confident that his side would get the job done in both games.

“I felt good going into the weekend because our training had been really good and it was not really a surprise because we had been in really good form, I was pleased but not surprised,” Hill said.

Hill said it was a special achievement for both he and his team to secure an undefeated road record.

“(In terms of the season) it does not mean anything really except it means that we have got enough wins and we are in good shape, but in terms of an achievement it’s pretty special,” he said.

“We have had some really good teams in my time here, we have had great records and finished top of the ladder but never gone undefeated on the road, so considering how tough it is those guys should be pretty proud but that achievement does not count for much other than self-satisfaction.”

This weekend the Pioneers have another double header as they take on the Knox Raiders on Friday night then face the Melbourne Tigers on Saturday night, both at Wulanda.

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