Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Canberra Gunners Match Preview Report Saturday 15th July 2017
The Pioneers venture to the nation’s capital this weekend to take on a Canberra Gunners side still buoyant from their clutch overtime victory against Bendigo at home last week. The match will be the first of a back-to-back set for the Pioneers who will also meet the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence side on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being at polar opposites of the ladder in the East Conference, this match is an epic encounter waiting to happen. The Gunners will be brimming with confidence heading into the match and will be asking for another devastating performance from ex-Pioneer Ben Allen who put up 28 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists against Bendigo last week.
Ben Allen has been the main man yet again for the Gunners this season and is once again averaging a double-double. With 15.3 ppg, 12.1 rpg and 4.4 apg to date, the ex-Pioneer is reveling in the leading role but the lack of a supporting cast has been costly with his side registering just three wins from 18 attempts this season. The Gunners are a young side with plenty of future promise and the performances of Glen Morison (20 points, 9 rebounds) and Broderick Doran (17 points, 7 rebounds) against Bendigo last week are a sign that the Gunners will fire again soon. Pioneers Coach Richard Hill is wary of the dark horse Gunners stating that “the Gunners have been steadily improving and after a solid performance against Nunawading caused a huge upset over Bendigo”. “They have a great group of young talented Australians and are very well led by Ben Allen and Daniel Joyce”. “They run the same offensive system as we do so there will be very few secrets in this game”.
Expect Luke Jamieson to get the job on Allen for the majority of the evening with John Jones’ pinch hitting from the bench crucial in wearing down the Gunners big man. Jamieson has been back to his best form in recent weeks and will need to continue to fight hard on the interior and stretch Allen out to the three-point line to negate his defensive expertise. It will take a combined effort from the Pioneers front court to restrict Allen’s influence across four quarters, with Coach Hill stating that “Ben Allen is coming off a great game against Bendigo and our front line will need to be on their game to keep him in check”.
Brad Hill has experienced a rich vein of form recently, scoring an average of 26 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists across the last two rounds. Hill is a difficult match up and it looks as though Broderick Doran will get the unenviable task of attempting to quell the influence of the Pioneers’ wing on the contest. Hill’s two-way game is one of the finest in the league, he can shoot the lights out from inside or outside the arc and his defensive efforts are underrated as he regularly takes boards off the bigger units in the league. Hill is crucial to the Pioneers success and will need to be closely monitored throughout the night if the Gunners are any chance of winning the contest.
Daniel Alexander is a game winner, pure and simple and his ability to score quickly has opposition coaches searching for answers week in and week out. Alexander will face off against young gun Glenn Morison in a matchup that appears incredibly lopsided in Alexander’s favour. However, Morison is coming off a stellar 20 points and 9 rebounds against Bendigo and will emerge from the locker room with nothing to lose so Alexander will need to approach this game like any other. The Pioneers import is the barometer for his team’s success because nothing lifts his side more than when he throws down a powerful dunk or makes it rain from three.
The depth of the Pioneers will simply be too much for the young Gunners side to handle, particularly at this stage of the season, where the Gunners are already looking at next season and the Pioneers are looking at making it count heading into the post-season. According to Coach Hill, the Pioneers “have been in very good form at home and need to take that form and competitive attitude on the road”. The road trip will be a challenge but if the Pioneers are going to win another title they will need to get used to getting it done in their opponent’s house.