Pioneers vs Geelong Supercats Match Report- Friday 13 July 2018

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Geelong Supercats Match Report- Friday 13 July 2018

The Pioneers faint playoff hopes took a massive hit on Friday night when they succumbed to the suffocating defence of a Geelong side who took no prisoners and easily prevailed by 17 points. Despite a horror run in season 2018, the Pioneers entered round 14 needing to win their remaining three matches to qualify for their sixth consecutive playoffs berth but they were taught a basketball lesson by a side who will genuinely contend for this year’s crown.

It was a finals type atmosphere that greeted the visiting Geelong outfit and it would be finals type basketball that would come to the fore in the opening minutes of the game as neither side could gain offensive flow and defence was the order of the day. Half way through the term, the scoreboard read six points apiece and the natives grew restless as the game failed to reach any great heights in the early going. The Pioneers were looking to share the rock and break down a stellar Supercats defence but they found themselves shooting from deep early in possession as their opponents dared them to hit from distance. The Pioneers did make the Supercats pay from long range in the latter half of the opening term with two treys to Luke Jamieson and one to Erik Burdon keeping the Pioneers abreast of their opponents.  However, Geelong would close the term strongly and go on a 10-3 run as they returned serve from beyond the three-point line and would finish the first quarter with a seven-point advantage.

The Pioneers needed to find another gear and work out how to break down a stern Supercats defence but they find the going tough to begin the second term, managing just four points in the opening five minutes. With Geelong’s lead growing to double digits, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill had seen enough and called for a timeout to break down the Supercats momentum. The ploy worked well for the Pioneers as they came out of their huddle looking like a different side. A 14-6 run gave the Pioneers fans renewed hope of an upset win, with the offence of Luke Jamieson, Tom Daly and Alex Marzette hauling their side back into the contest. After trailing by 10 points midway through the term, the Pioneers entered the main break down by just two points with so much to play for heading into the second half. Tom Daly led the way for the Pioneers with 11 points and three assists, Alex Marzette had 10 points and three rebounds and Luke Jamieson competed strongly for nine points and five rebounds. For the Supercats, DeMarcus Gatlin led all scorers with 12 points and two rebounds and veteran Nathan Herbert was having a night out with eight points and four rebounds through two quarters of basketball.

Having won three of the last four SEABL championships, the Pioneers know all about the championship quarter but what followed in the third term showed just how far off the mark the side is from a title in season 2018.  The Pioneers went scoreless until the 5:30 minute mark of the term as they threw up bricks, shooting 0/11 to begin the term, with Geelong’s defence tearing the Pioneers forwards to shreds and destroying their season. Gatlin was proving a handful on both ends of the court, Herbert continued to add to his points tally from all angles and John Davis was hitting hook shots more frequently than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Lewis Thomas tried to get his side going with his big dunk cutting the deficit to seven points but once again Geelong answered via Gatlin whose three-point play pushed the lead back out to double digits. A late floater from Geelong’s Jamie Medved ensured the visitors went into the final change with a commanding 12-point lead and the Pioneers were feeling the weight of their heavy schedule and were on the canvas. 

With the home crowd reaching fever pitch, the Pioneers started the final term with consecutive baskets to Daly and Kane de Wit and suddenly the lead was back to a manageable eight points. Gatlin once again answered for the visitors before Jamieson’s fifth triple of the evening cut the lead down to just seven points with almost nine minutes to play. However, there would be no fairy tale ending for the Pioneers in this one as they allowed their opponents to go on an 11-3 run that blew the game wide open. Trailing by 16 points with less than five minutes remaining, all appeared lost for the Pioneers as the visitors ran riot, forcing their opponents into taking low percentage shots and making them pay on the other end. With seven games in 22 days, the Pioneers were clearly out on their feet with the shortened season taking its toll on a Pioneers side that has had to battle every step of the way in 2018. There would be no highlight plays to end this one as both coaches cleared their benches and the game descended into garbage time. Kyle Tipene had the final say for the Pioneers with a three-point bomb but it would do very little to improve the score line as the home side fell to their worst loss at home in recent memory, going down by 17 points. 

Luke Jamieson fought hard for the Pioneers all night and finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, Tom Daly played the part with 15 points and six assists, whilst Alex Marzette chipped in with 14 points and four rebounds. For the Supercats, DeMarcus Gatlin led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Nathan Herbert had 16 points and seven rebounds and John Davis compiled 12 points and eight rebounds. 

Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was quick to praise Geelong’s effort, stating that “we had a patch in the second quarter where we were able to compete but in general, Geelong outplayed us in every facet of the game”. “Our inability to compete on the boards and follow our game plan made Geelong look far superior”. One positive that the Pioneers leader took from the game was the outstanding play of Luke Jamieson, with Hill finding it “pleasing to see Luke find his three-point shot”, as he converted on six of seven attempts from distance. 

Despite the loss, the Pioneers remain a mathematical chance to reach the post-season but must now rely on other results. Wins against Melbourne at home and Sandringham on the road next weekend are a must and they will be counting on losses for Bendigo, North West Tasmania and Dandenong.