Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Frankston Blues Match Report- Friday 29 June 2018
Backing up after their famous victory over the Nunawading Spectres the night before, the Mount Gambier Pioneers continued their good form on Friday night as they accounted for the visiting Frankston Blues by 10 points. The Pioneers headed into the game as outsiders, given the recent injury to Sam McDaniel and the ongoing injury problems plaguing captain Tom Daly. Add to that the fact that the Pioneers were playing their fourth game in eight days and it makes the win even more remarkable.
Alex Marzette had to once again shoulder the bulk of the offence for the Pioneers and he wasted no time getting started with the opening two baskets for the home team. However, the Pioneers offence would prove to be pedestrian as they managed just those two Marzette buckets in five minutes of basketball. Two triples to Kyle Tipene in the space of 1:15 minutes gave the Pioneers some offensive traction before a Luke Jamieson layup brought the Pioneers within a single point of the lead. Discipline cost the Pioneers dearly late in the first term as they allowed the Blues to make three trips to the foul line in the final two minutes of the quarter, but they couldn’t make the Pioneers pay as they converted at just 67% from the line. A buzzer beater from Bennie Lewis stretched the Blues lead out to five points at the first change and the Pioneers had a fight on their hands.
Turnovers, missed shots and fouls were all commonplace at the beginning of the second term as neither side could bother the scorers table. The match turned into a real dogfight with excellent defensive pressure being applied by both sides, limiting each other’s forward forays for most of the term. Just as it appeared that the game’s offence had ground to a halt, Alex Marzette decided to repeat his second quarter heroics from the previous night and once again exploded, this time piling on 14 points for the term to set up a narrow advantage for his side heading into half time. The Pioneers’ lead would have been six points at the half if it wasn’t for another buzzer beater, this time from Thomas Garrett whose long-range effort trimmed the Pioneers lead to three points. The Pioneers were leaning heavily on Alex Marzette’s offence and he responded with 18 points and two rebounds whilst Kyle Tipene was having a breakout game with 11 points and three rebounds for the half. For the Blues, Daniel Trist was the go to guy with 16 points and five rebounds and Bennie Lewis chipped in with 10 points and three rebounds.
With his family in the stadium, Lewis Thomas was looking to impress, and he gave his side the perfect start to the third term with a trey that doubled the Pioneer’s half time advantage. Daniel Trist was doing it all for the Blues as he hauled his side back into the contest with five points and seven rebounds for the term. The Pioneers struggled on the boards in the third term as they allowed their opponents to outrebound them 12-6, with the Pioneers particularly vulnerable on their defensive end where they struggled to box out the Blues forwards and allowed numerous second chance point opportunities. With just two seconds remaining in the third term, Tristan Lloyd sunk the third buzzer beater of the night for the Blues as the visitors went into the final huddle with a three-point lead.
When Lucas Walker hit money from long range, the Pioneers were looking at a five-point deficit early in the final term and with injury and heavy scheduling ravaging the team, it appeared the Pioneers season would come crashing down around them. But in true Pioneers fashion, they would respond with a team effort which hauled them back into the contest as Marzette once again took flight with 11 points for the term and Thomas, Jamieson and Tipene all chipped in to lead the Pioneers home. The 14-5 run executed by the Pioneers midway through the final term handed them a four-point lead with 4:41 minutes still on the clock. The Blues did not give up and got the margin back within two points at one stage, but they lost their way when power forward, Samuel Muldrow fouled out and the Pioneers took full advantage of his absence as they scored the majority of their points inside the paint to close out another 10 point win. The 17-8 run in the last five minutes of the game was unbelievable basketball from the Pioneers, a side who were playing their fourth match in eight days. Add to the fact that they played this match without Sam McDaniel and Tom Daly and it is even more surprising. Alex Marzette was simply sensational once again and led the way for the Pioneers with 33 points and four rebounds, Kyle Tipene put in a season high 20 points and four rebounds, Lewis Thomas compiled 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Luke Jamieson doubled up with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Blues were well served by Daniel Trist with 25 points and 15 rebounds, Bennie Lewis had 14 points and four rebounds and Samuel Muldrow had 13 points and nine rebounds.
In his post-match analysis, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was pleased with how his side maintained their recent form because “backing up against a talented Frankston unit was going to be tough with the front court size and overall talent they have”. “After a sluggish start, we were able to compete on level terms until a 17-8 last five minutes secured what was an outstanding win for us”. “To be able to finish as strongly as we did in our fourth game in eight days and down another player was a credit to the toughness and character of our group”. “Alex for the second night running was outstanding on the offensive end and he was well supported by Kyle Tipene, Luke Jamieson and Lewis Thomas who have been huge for us in the last three games”.
The Pioneers now head to the nation’s capital to take on the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence team and the Canberra Gunners in a back-to-back set that will define their season. Frankston will meet Diamond Valley at home in round 13 as they look to finish their season in a positive manner.