Thunder rains on Pioneers parade

Thunder rains on Pioneers parade

The Castec Rural Pioneers fell short in a tough loss to the Keilor Thunder on Friday at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre.

The loss resulted in the Pioneers falling to 7th on the ladder with a record of 4-2.

In what was always going to be a tough match, the first quarter was hotly contested with both sides starting well on offence.

Nick Marshall had a phenomenal start to the game, scoring 11 points while only missing one shot, however the Thunder finished the period up 27-24.

The second quarter was again a close battle as both teams continued to light up the court on offence.

Mount Gambier played extremely well,, but their hard work did not go that far as Keilor matched their intensity, with neither side able to break away.

Nick Marshall continued to score at will, with the visitors failing to find an answer to his efforts as he dominated in the paint, scoring 10 points while only missing two shots.

Both teams scored 26 points in the quarter, with Keilor heading into the half time break with a three point lead, up 53-50.

Things went wrong for the Pioneers in the third term as they started to run out of steam and struggled to match the Thunder’s energy for the whole 10 minutes.

Keilor continued to drill big shot after big shot, making five threes in the third term.

Mount Gambier on the other hand were ice cold as all their points came from the paint in the quarter as they shot 0/4 from outside the arc.

The Thunder held Mount Gambier to only 10 points in the stanza while they put up 25 of their on to give them a comfortable 18 point lead at the last change.

After a poor third term Mount Gambier knew they had to bring it in the final quarter – and they did – as they put together a solid term to bring them back into the game.

Their intensity lifted as they needed to push to attain for their mistakes in a short amount of time, doing a much better job at scoring outside of the paint, making three threes in the quarter while shooting at 50%.

Vincent Monaghan provided some good minutes for Mount Gambier, giving a good spark off the bench to score seven points which helped get the crowd buzzing again.

The home side made a late charge in the last three minutes as they tried to pick up another win before their next road trip, but they just could not knock down the important shots when they needed them.

The Pioneers finished the quarter outscoring the Thunder 23-18, but it was not enough to get the win.

Mount Gambier fell short in the end, going down to the Keilor Thunder by 13 points, 83-96.

Nick Marshall had a standout game, scoring a game and season high 35 points and also grabbing nine rebounds.

Akech Aliir also had a solid performance on Friday night, finishing with a double double of 10 points and 12 boards while also recording four blocks.

While having a good performance in the heartbreaking loss, Nick Marshall spoke about what the loss meant ahead of the team’s upcoming road trip.

“It’s obviously good playing well, but we lost so that’s what sucks. We have got to look forward and try and get two wins next week because they are going to be tough games against Geelong and Bendigo,” he said.

After having a solid performance in the first half the side struggled in the second half which was one of the main factors in the loss.

“There was some bad communication, some silly errors. We are just a little patchy at the moment and that’s all that is really keeping teams in games right now,” Marshall said.

“We cannot have these ups and downs, we need to be good for 40 minutes.”

Attending the game on Friday night was Nick Marshall’s good friend and NBL champion Jack McVeigh.

“It was pretty cool for him to come down, he has not watched me play in eight years because we are either playing against each other or he’s just been elsewhere, so it’s pretty cool for him to come down,” he said.

The Pioneers’ next game is against Geelong United at Geelong on Saturday night as they play their first of two away games before returning to Wulanda.

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