Vital Pioneers victory

Alightning start has pushed the Castec Rural Mount Gambier Pioneers men to victory over Nunawading at The Icehouse on Saturday night.

After losing four of their previous five games, the Pioneers needed to rediscover the winning feeling in their round 12 NBL1 South home game.

Although the Spectres sat 14th on the ladder, a win was anything, but a certainty with the Victorian based team enjoying a fine run of recent form.

But any hopes they had of staging another fighting win over Mount Gambier were dashed as the hosts hit top gear straight away.

With Michael Harris, Tom Kubank and Nick Marshall running hot, the Pioneers slammed 10 points on the board before Nunawading even took a glance at the glass.

Once Clevon Brown joined in on the fun, Mount Gambier enjoyed a commanding 16-2 lead at the halfway mark of the first term.

Some gutsy work from CJ Asuncion-Byrd and Jordan Geer helped the Spectres regain some respectability before the break, but all of the momentum was with the home side.

Nunawading was able to find a lot of the ball in the second term and even managed to cut the deficit into singles figures at various points.

The highlight of the visitors’ most productive quarter was a Callum Barker slam dunk, but a Marshall three-pointer protected Mount Gambier’s advantage before the main break.

The opening passages of play of the third term became a power struggle as neither side could find the basket until a Kubank layup at the 2:16 minute mark.

He and Harris threatened to start another big scoring run for the Pioneers, but this time the Spectres had an answer with Jack Gandolfo, Dain Sewtalla and Asuncion-Byrd leading the way.

With only 10 points the difference the third term appeared destined to be shared evenly, but Erik Burdon scored a signature shot from long range to give the hosts a bit more breathing space.

It was needed as Nunawading was able to get the better of the Pioneers across the final term.

Barker and Asuncion-Byrd showed plenty of pace under the ring early, while the former also troubled the Pioneers at the other end of the court collecting 21 rebounds.

Despite the best efforts of the Spectres, they were never able to threaten Mount Gambier’s lead and the hosts were able to record a 80-69 win.

It may not have been as convincing as possible, but it came at an important time for the Pioneers with the side now occupying second spot on the ladder ahead of another home game next Saturday night against North West Tasmania.

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