Winning run continues at home

Winning run continues at home

The OneFortyOne Pioneers women kept a clean sheet on the weekend, winning both of their NBL1 South conference round 2 matches on their home court.

The Pioneers hosted the Frankston Blues at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre on Saturday, downing the visitors by 32 points, before backing up against the Ballarat Miners on Sunday and handing them a three point loss.

The Mount Gambier side now sits third on the ladder with four straight wins to open the season.

In Saturday night’s game, played as part of the league’s Mental Health Round, the Pioneers opened the scoring and retained the lead for the first seven minutes of play, before the Blues fired up and snatched a one point buffer.

The sides exchanged baskets and the lead for the next two minutes, before Pioneers tall timber Zitina Aokuso and Haliegh Reinoehl sent down consecutive three pointers in the last minute of play to have the locals up 17-10 at the first change.

Frankston used the break to regroup, going on a 7-2 run to draw level in the first three minutes of play.

From there the Pioneers fought back, stemming the Blues’ flow to take a 38-37 lead into the half time break.

Mount Gambier stamped their authority on the game in the third stanza, with captain Isabella Brancatisano and Sherrie Calleia knocking down two three pointers each, with Aokuso and Reinoehl also joining the long range party.

The Pioneers blew the game open, outscoring the visitors 26-14 for the quarter to lead 64-41 at the final change.

The last stanza was a more tightly contested affair, with Frankston outscoring the home side by one point, but the damage had been done and the Pioneers took the match 85-53.

The Pioneers ran out the last two minutes of the game with head coach Matt Sutton clearing his bench and sending locals Tenielle Human, Cara Nulty, Ava Collins, Poppy Venn and Trixie Crouch onto the court.

The all-local line-up drew plenty of support from the home crowd and the main Pioneers’ roster, who were on their feet to cheer on the youngsters.

Vice captain Reinoehl led the scoring for the match, racking up a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Brancatisano contributed 17 points, while Aokuso also achieved a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Following the match, Reinoehl said she was enjoying being back on court with the Pioneers and was proud to be appointed vice captain.

“This is my third year back and it’s like my second home, so I’m super excited to get back here,” she said.

“I feel like just being able to be with a great group of girls makes it super easy to be vice captain.”

Reinoehl, who dominated at both ends of the court, was proud of the team’s on court efforts against Frankston.

“Personally I got in a little bit of foul trouble early but I was happy to finish strong as a team,” she said.

“I’m really proud of our adjustments and how we continue to get better. I think that’s one of our strongest attributes as a team. It’s our ability to adjust and listen to our coach.

“I’m glad that we could keep our foot on the gas when we started getting in front and that also gives us the ability to get some younger talent on at the end of the game.

“We absolutely love seeing that, those girls show up and put the same amount of work in that we do and I love to see them get court time and it’s one of the most exciting things.

“We were standing up on the bench the whole time they were on court, it was amazing.”

The Pioneers women returned to their home court on Sunday afternoon against a determined Ballarat side.

The teams were evenly matched in the opening quarter, exchanging the lead several times before the Miners went to the break up 19-17.

The Pioneers reset at the change, setting the tone of the match in the second quarter to outscore the visitors 17-10 for the stanza to lead 34-29 at half time.

The Miners applied the pressure in the third period, gradually reducing the hosts’ lead, drawing scores level half way through the quarter before snatching the lead.

Mount Gambier rallied to pull level with just over a minute to play, and then again hit the front, going into the final change up 49-47.

But Ballarat was not done yet, and despite the Pioneers opening the scoring in the last quarter, the Victorians kept coming, again drawing level after two minutes of play.

Mount Gambier managed to eke out a two point lead as the sides went basket for basket.

But time ran out for the Miners who went down by three, despite a three point attempt just a whisker after the buzzer that was not counted.

The Pioneers took the win 67-64 with Aokuso dominating the scoreboard with 30 points.

Calliea chipped in with 14, with Sammy Fatkin registering a double-double, with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

After the match Fatkin said she had enjoyed her first match in Pioneers colours in front of a home crowd.

“I love playing at home and I’m happy to have some double headers this year,” she said.

“It’s been a few years actually since I have had a double-double.”

Fatkin said Ballarat had proved a challenge, but the Pioneers had prepared well for the on court battle.

“They were a very respectful team. They brought high energy and I think that our coach prepared us really well. We walked in and just played really good team ball,” she said.

“I think our team defence was really there and personally I just kind of got onto the right shots, I wish a few more had dropped though.

“My teammates were really encouraging and they found me in the right places.”

Fatkin was full of praise for Aokuso, who was a stand out contributor in the match.

“Yeah Z had a game today. We were really happy to see her go off. She deserved that one. She worked for it and we’re happy to see things go her way,” she said.

“She’s a really good weapon for us, a really great teammate, she’s constantly talking us up so she deserved that.”

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