Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Hobart Chargers Match Report Friday 18 May 2018
The Pioneers’ early season woes continued on Friday night when they were narrowly defeated by a tough Hobart opponent by just two points. Tim Coenraad did his best to haul his side over the line but even his 39 points were not enough to stop the Pioneers from sliding below .500 on the season.
With so much to play for, the Pioneers came out and took it right up to the Chargers from the opening tip, as defence was the name of the game with the first field goal taking almost two minutes to drop. The Chargers fought back to go on an 8-0 run as their front court began to overwhelm their undersized opponents with a series of layups and inside jump shots accented by a Zac White dunk! The Pioneers relied solely on Lewis Thomas and Tim Coenraad on the offensive end as the dynamic duo scored all of the Pioneers 19 points to open the contest. A 10-5 run by the Pioneers to close out the first term put the game back on a knife’s edge at 20-19 in favour of the home side.
The Pioneers needed a fast start to the second term but it would not be forthcoming as a Kane de Wit foul on Zac White outside the arc afforded the Charger’s enforcer three free throw attempts of which he nailed all three. The Pioneers did their best to maintain pace with their more highly fancied opponents and despite the Chargers lead blowing out to eight points at several stages in the second term, the Pioneers continued to fight thanks largely to the exploits of Coenraad and Thomas, the latter proving his worth against his former side with a dominant display at both ends of the hardwood. The Pioneers rallied late in the term with several successful three-point attempts and against all the odds would go in to half time with a slender one-point advantage. The Chargers were being led by their big three of Tre Nichols (11 points, 2 rebounds), Mathiang Muo (10 points) and Craig Moller (8 points, 7 rebounds) whilst for the Pioneers it was the Tim Coenraad Show as he compiled 26 points or 55% of his team’s scoring to half time.
Despite being undermanned yet again, the Pioneers continued to fight tooth and nail as they sparked a 7-3 run which saw their lead stretch out to five points. Tre Nichols was causing all kinds of headaches for the Pioneers as he had his way inside time after time and when he missed, Moller and White were there to clean up on the glass. Luke Jamieson fought his way into the contest in the third term and gave the Pioneers some extra firepower inside the paint whilst Erik Burdon was making it rain for the visitors from beyond the arc with two telling triples for the term. The Pioneers would extend their half time lead by one point and head into the final stanza with the score at 77-75.
There was no doubt this contest would go down to the wire and the final term produced a see-sawing score line that kept those present on the edge of their seats. The Pioneers continued to feed their front court with Jamieson, Thomas and Coenraad heaping all the pressure on the highly favoured home side as time began to expire. Tre Nichols had all the answers though and would put on a masterclass in the final term adding 16 points to finish with 36 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. The back and forth nature of the final term produced an epic finish as Kyle Tipene was given the opportunity to win the game for the Pioneers with just five seconds remaining, however his three-point attempt did not fall and the Pioneers succumbed to yet another loss, this one hurting more than most with just one basket separating the two sides, 108-106.
Despite the loss, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was upbeat believing that his side’s performance “was first class and being led by Tim Coenraad we were one possession away from perhaps our best road win in my time as coach of the Pioneers”. However, the game still goes down as another defeat and the Pioneers will be looking to right their ship when they face off against North West Tasmania in a must win Saturday night encounter.