Undefeated run continues

Undefeated run continues

OneFortyOne Pioneers fans were treated to a top of the table clash in NBL1 South conference round 4 action on Friday night, as the home side took on the Keilor Thunder.

The Pioneers comprehensively downed the Thunder at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre, leapfrogging ahead of the Victorians to now sit atop the ladder.

The locals remain undefeated after the 80-55 victory, after they handed the Thunder their first loss of the season.

The first quarter started with a bang as Pioneers captain Isabella Brancatisano opened proceedings with a three pointer in the first minute, before Keilor set about building a small lead.

The visitors were up by six points half way through the quarter, but the home side dug deep and had a nine point turnaround to be up 16-13 at the first break.

Mount Gambier almost blew the Thunder off the court in the second quarter, bringing the thunder to Wulanda to outscore Keilor 13-3 in the first five minutes of play.

But the visitors rallied to whittle the Pioneers’ lead down to two at the main break, outscoring them 18-17 in the stanza.

The Pioneers regrouped at the break and restarted play with Sherrie Calleia sending down a three pointer in the opening 15 seconds to signal their intentions.

From there the home side set about gradually pushing out the lead, outscoring Keilor 23-13 to be up 56-44 at the last change.

The Pioneers continued their dominance in the final quarter, jumping out to a 20 point lead half way through the stanza.

From there they kicked away to outscore the Thunder 24-11, running away with the game and taking the win 80-55.

Pioneers president Tom Kosch presented Zitina Aokuso with the Anzac medal, awarded to the player with the best display of Anzac spirit.

Aokuso made her presence felt during the match, racking up a double double, with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Vice captain Haliegh Reinoehl top scored for the Pioneers in her 50th club match, knocking down 19 points.

Calleia chipped in with 15 points of her own and Brancatisano scored 11.

Speaking after the game head coach Matt Sutton was pleased with the win.

“We had some pretty clear plans in place and I thought we did a reasonable job of executing some of them,” he said.

“They are an awesome team, the way they started the game and the way they were able to disrupt us.

“They played at a really high level, particularly on the defensive side of things.

“They were missing two key shooters, one was Tera Reed who has played in the New Zealand national team, so that was obviously part of their plan they did not have.”

Sutton paid tribute to Reinoehl on reaching her 50th milestone match for the Mount Gambier club.

“When as a women’s program we have not been around for a long time it helps to build our history, she’s been a huge part of our club and I’m happy she could have some success in a milestone game,” he said.

Sutton said Reinoehl had been joined by several other players in leading the way in Friday night’s match.

“Z had a really great game, on both ends of the court she was really damaging for us, and she was not alone,” he said.

“I thought Haleigh had a really great game, she held Issy Bourne to nine points and she averages just under 20 and that was huge.

“Also Isabella’s game on Maddi Rocci was excellent as well.”

After the game Reinoehl said she was thrilled to have notched up her 50th game milestone with the Pioneers.

“It feels amazing to have played my 50th game with a club that I love so much,” she said.

“The milestone means a lot to me as I wear the Pioneers jersey with pride every time I put it on.

“Combining my 50th with a win that takes us to the top of the ladder means that much more! I love this team.”

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