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Round 5 Game 1 Report

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Frankston Blues –  Saturday 5 May 2018

The Pioneers took all before them on Saturday night as they returned to form on the first night of a back to back set on the road, defeating a struggling Frankston opponent by 25 points. The Pioneers were keen to atone for a poor showing at home last week against Bendigo and were buoyed by the signing of Tim Coenraad mid-week who would provide much needed front court depth to a Pioneers side still struggling to get its best starting five on the court.

The Pioneers came out all guns blazing in the opening term as they shot out to a 17-6 lead inside the first five minutes of the contest. The combination of Tim Coenraad, Lewis Thomas and Luke Jamieson in the front court was overwhelming the Frankston defence, as they not only worked the Blues over on the interior but also stretched the floor and knocked down shots from beyond the arc. Thomas continued his good work from last week as he exploded for 12 points and 5 rebounds in the opening term. Bennie Lewis was doing his utmost to keep the Blues in the contest but despite putting up 7 points to commence the evening, his side would trail 28-19 at the first change.

The Blues opened the second term on fire with Bennie Lewis knocking down back to back triples to trim the Pioneers lead to just three points. Frankston started to provide excellent defensive pressure and forced the Pioneers in to rushed shots and costly turnovers as they hung tough against the reigning champions. When Aaron Ross sunk a mid-range jump shot, the Blues drew level at 38 apiece and what looked like an easy game for the visitors had suddenly turned into a dogfight. However, a 12-2 run fuelled by the offence of Coenraad and Thomas allowed the Pioneers to close out the first half with a 50-40 lead and head into the main break with all the momentum.

Lewis Thomas once again led the way for the Pioneers with a massive 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in the first half. Unlike last week, Thomas had help in the front court with new signing Tim Coenraad clicking immediately with his new teammates as he added 14 first half points for the Pioneers. Bennie Lewis was causing the Pioneers all sorts of problems offensively as he put up 20 first half points and he was finding quality support at both ends of the hardwood from Aaron Ross who compiled 12 points and 7 rebounds to half time.

Despite starting the second half with a rare eight second violation, the Pioneers continued their hot finish to the first half by adding the first six points of the third quarter. A 15-6 run by the visitors stretched the Pioneers lead out to 19 points and the game looked as good as over with Coenraad’s blistering 11-point third term putting the Blues on the canvas. Despite putting up 26 points in three quarters, Bennie Lewis could do very little to halt the Pioneers momentum as they maintained a 19-point advantage at the last change. Adding to the Blues’ woes was the foul trouble surrounding Aaron Ross whose court time was limited in the third term with four fouls to his name. Despite having just three days to gel with his teammates, Tim Coenraad led the Pioneers charge with 25 points and 5 rebounds whilst Lewis Thomas once again doubled up with 24 points and 10 rebounds in three quarters of play.

Despite having somewhat of a quiet night, Luke Jamieson fuelled the Pioneers offence in the final term as he scored the first seven points in the quarter for the visitors. Frankston tried valiantly to reduce the margin but were stopped at every attempt by a dominating Pioneers offensive display. When Ross fouled out halfway through the term, the Blues lost their key two-way enforcer and the Pioneers made the most of his absence nailing back to back triples via Erik Burdon and Kyle Tipene to put the result beyond doubt with a 28-point advantage. A final triple for Chol Luk iced the game for the Pioneers as they ran out victors, 100-75.

The Pioneers bounced back strongly in this contest thanks largely to Lewis Thomas who compiled 26 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. The addition of Tim Coenraad was also timely as he showed his NBL credentials to finish with 25 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. For the home side, Bennie Lewis put up 26 points and 5 rebounds whilst Aaron Ross put up 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Pioneers coach Richard Hill hailed the win as a great victory for the club, stating that “we were down on numbers but big on effort and commitment”. “The victory was one of our best road wins in the last few years, Lewis Thomas was great as was our eleventh-hour addition, Tim Coenraad and we had contributions from every member of our group”.

The Pioneers will face Kilsyth on Sunday afternoon whilst the Blues will hit the road next Friday night to face North West Tasmania.

 

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Round 4 Report

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Bendigo Braves Report Friday 27 April 2018

The stage was set for an epic encounter on Friday night at the Icehouse when an undermanned Pioneers line-up faced off against a dangerous Bendigo opponent. The Braves entered hostile territory with a clean sheet to start the season and the added incentive of the match being the 400th time Braves’ stalwart, Chris Hogan suited up in the SEABL. The Pioneers were coming off an impressive pair of home victories but entered the match significantly undermanned due to injuries to Brad Hill, Tom Daly and new signing Majok Deng.

Despite heading into the match underdone due to illness during the week, Lewis Thomas got the Pioneers off to a flying start sinking the first triple of the contest on the first shot of the night. Ray Turner provided the swift reply for the visitors and was wreaking havoc in the paint in the early going as he made the most of an undersized Pioneers line-up. The game descended into a dogfight as both sides looked to gain early momentum with the quarter time score line of 19-17 in favour of the Braves proof of the tight tussle that ensued early.

Milestone man, Chris Hogan gave his side the best possible start to the second quarter when he drained a long-range effort and he would go on to dominate the term putting up 9 of his 12 points for the night in the second stanza. Lewis Thomas was providing the most resistance on the offensive end for the Pioneers but he needed support and unfortunately the most likely scoring option, Erik Burdon struggled with his shot and could only muster three points on 1/8 (12.5%) shooting to half time. Mount Gambier’s Chol Luk sent the crowd into raptures when he pulled off a stunning “Euro Step” layup but there was little else to cheer about for the home fans as the Pioneers remained locked into a scrap, trailing by two points at the half.

The Pioneers were clearly struggling to contain the Braves big men and it showed in the box score with Ray Turner dominating the contest with a first half double double of 10 points and 12 rebounds. Lewis Thomas was doing his best to contain Turner and keep the Pioneers in the game with an impressive 14 points and 6 rebounds at the half. The Pioneers did well to contain 2016 MVP Jeremy Kendle to just 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in the first half thanks largely to the work of Kane DeWit with Pioneers Coach Richard Hill stating that “DeWit’s continued evolvement and his efforts in containing Kendle was the individual highlight for us”. However, Ray Turner was more than making up for Kendle’s off night with Coach Hill frustrated that his side “had no answer for Turner with his size and athleticism at both ends of the floor being huge for the Braves”.

Kane DeWit gave the Pioneers the best possible start to the second half when he levelled proceedings with a driving layup.  However, the Braves appeared to have all the answers and continued to make their presence felt inside. The Pioneers continued to give up offensive rebounds and in turn second chance points, a statistic that would prove to be their achilles heel in the end with a final differential of 23-10 in Bendigo’s favour. Just when the Pioneers thought they had Kendle and Turner under wraps, up popped Daniel Hansen whose back to back three-point daggers sunk the home side’s spirit. Just as the Braves looked like they would head in to the final quarter with a handy seven-point advantage, Brad Rathjen ran the inbounds play with just 4.7 seconds left on the clock and managed to beat the buzzer with his long-range effort cutting Bendigo’s lead to four points and giving the home side much needed momentum.

Despite holding sway for the majority of the night it was going to take a miracle for the Pioneers to hold the Braves out but when Erik Burdon sunk a step back jump shot, the Pioneers hopes lifted. However, the Braves would then go on a 16-2 run and blow the game wide open as they took what appeared to be an unassailable 16-point advantage. The Pioneers countered with a 9-4 run of their own but they could not bridge the deficit thanks largely due to the efforts of Ray Turner who piled on the Pioneers pain with an 11 point and 10 rebound final term, taking his final tally to an astonishing 25 points and 25 rebounds on the night. Despite coming into the clash under the weather, Lewis Thomas managed to keep his side in the contest for the majority of the night with 22 points and 11 rebounds but the lack of support from his teammates was telling in the end. The Braves coasted to victory in the end with the final margin 89-75 a rare loss for the Pioneers at home. In review, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill “was very happy with the effort levels of our players but our inability to execute under pressure from Bendigo let us down”. “I felt we took some ill – advised threes in the first quarter and never found a rhythm shooting the ball from then on” stated Hill.

Bendigo will be looking to keep their perfect start to the 2018 season alive when they host Albury-Wodonga on Sunday whilst the Pioneers will look to make amends against Frankston next Saturday night.

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Glue guy Del commits again

“Glue guy Del commits again”

The Castec Rural Supply Pioneers are excited to confirm that their ultimate “glue guy” Dellon Brown has committed to the reigning SEABL champions for his fifth season.

Dellon continues to improve his game as evidenced by his performances for the Lakers in the CBL this season where he is averaging an impressive 16.5 points per game.

Whilst Dellon’s playing time has been limited his contribution to the teams success should not be underestimated. “Del has been a very important to us over the last 4 years, his commitment and team first  attitude should not be underestimated”  Pioneers Head Coach Richard Hill said.

“He continues to work on his game and always provides us with a spark whether it’s his all-out hustle or knocking down threes at training or just being the ultimate team mate on game night”. Dellon will jump straight from his commitments with Lakers into the Pioneers’ pre-season as it ramps up with the return to town of Brad Hill and  Luke Jamieson and the much anticipated arrival recruits Lewis Thomas and Majok Deng.

The Pioneers first pre-season hit outs will be in the annual Millicent Tournament on the 2nd 3rd and 4th of March.

Brad Hill to return for 6th season.

Brad Hill to return for 6th season.

The Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers most experienced player has committed to return for the 2018 season.

Brad Hill a veteran of 276 NBL games and 5 national SEABL finals resulting in 3 championships is gearing up to return in pursuit of more success.

End of season ankle surgery and a move to Cairns to be with his wife Julie signalled a likely end to the 2 time Alan Scott medallist’s tenure with club.

Numerous discussion’s with new Pioneers president Tom Kosch, successful surgery and the all clear from wife Julie has led to Brad back to Mount Gambier.

Brad contributed 15.7 points 6.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season as his versatility continued to be a key component in the teams championship run.

“Having Brad recommit to the team is huge for us”  “He is a do it all type player, who like his team mates has always put the team first” Pioneers coach Richard Hill commented.

Being able to return 4 starters from last year’s team gives the Pioneers a solid base to defend their SEABL title.

“ I really like our team, the addition of Majok, Lewis and Kyle will give us a new and exciting look without causing much disruption”  “Brad together with Tom and Eze have been part of 5 consecutive conference championships and provide great leadership and stability to compliment their obvious talent” “This is a very good league that continues to grow and improve as we must if we wish to contend again” Hill concluded.

The Pioneers squad have been working individually and in small groups during December and January and will continue with this until the whole group comes together on the 22nd of February.

The team will play an extensive pre-season schedule, commencing with the annual Millicent tournament the first week in March followed by a tournament in Geelong on March 17th and 18th and games the following week against Kilsyth and Dandenong in Melbourne.

 

HILL

Majok’s our Man!

Majok’s our Man!

The Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers are pleased and excited to announce the signing of Adelaide 36er big man Majok Deng.

Majok is currently playing his second season with the 36ers after an impressive college career at La-Monroe University in Louisiana where he was named all Sun Belt first and all tournament team in 2016. Majok’s  18.7 points 7 rebounds 2 assists and 1.2 blocks per game were enough to earn him an invitation to join the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Summer league team.

NBL devotees would have been impressed by Majok’s recent form with Adelaide where he has started to find his groove and has played a huge roll in a number of their recent wins.

Pioneers Head coach Richard Hill is very pleased to have Majok join the Pioneers program. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work Majok out a couple of times and more importantly get to know him”  “He will be a great fit for our team and the community of Mount Gambier”

Majok has a scorers mentality and is a unique athlete possessing great length and a competitive spirit that will fit well with his like minded team mates.

A South Australian who played his junior basketball with the Forestville Eagles and has worked tirelessly with his mentor ex NBL star Rashad Tucker and 36ers coach Joey Wright to continue to grow his game Majok is a perfect fit for the Pioneers.

“Having another quality South Australian player join our team  is very important to our club and fits our plan for ongoing success”  coach Hill concluded.

With the recent announcement of captain Tom Daly’s commitment for two years the Castec Rural Supplies Pioneers’ roster is almost complete.

Majok Deng