Men’s Match Report- Saturday 13 July 2019
The Castec Rural Pioneers put on a fourth quarter masterclass against Forestville on Saturday night to overcome a nine-point deficit at three quarter time to prevail by a commanding 13 points in front of a packed Ice House. The win ensures the Pioneers hold on to top spot at the end of their regular season and they will head into the post-season with significant momentum after winning their eleventh match in a row.
Kentrell Barkley got the Pioneers off to the perfect start when he made the most of a quality dish from DayJar Dickson to slam home the first points of the night. Dickson and Barkley were in everything in the early going but as the quarter wore on, the Eagles started to assume control of the contest as Majok Deng and Brendan Teys flexed their NBL credentials. The Eagles owned the opening term as they shocked the Pioneers home crowd with a 30-13 start to the match with Majok Deng in full control with 14 points and 4 rebounds in the opening term. The Pioneers were their own worst enemy as they shot 6/22 (27%) from the field for the term and turned the ball over four times.
The Pioneers had a mountain to climb and it only became steeper when Greg Mays scored the first two points of the second term to extend the visitors advantage to 19 points. However, that basket shocked the Pioneers into action and all of a sudden, they started making shots and worked their way back into the match. Kentrell Barkley went into full beast mode in the second term putting up 18 points and 6 rebounds for the quarter to singlehandedly shift the momentum of the match back in favour of the Pioneers. Barkley was ably supported by Tom Daly and DayJar Dickson as the three combined for 33/36 (92%) of the Pioneers’ second term tally. A late three to Erik Burdon saw the Pioneers take an unlikely one-point lead before a late dunk from Greg Mays allowed the Eagles to take a one-point lead into the half-time huddle. Kentrell Barkley led all scorers with 24 points and 7 rebounds for the Pioneers, DayJar Dickson added 12 points and 7 rebounds and Tom Daly contributed 10 points and 2 assists. The Eagles were led by Majok Deng with 21 points and 8 rebounds, Greg Mays had 10 points and 6 rebounds and Brendan Teys put up 9 points and 2 steals.
Stopping Kentrell Barkley was the Eagles’ main objective heading into the second half and they achieved just that in the third term as the Pioneers’ marquee signing was held to just four points for the term. Deng and Barkley had been going head to head all night and the third term was Deng’s chance to dominate as he exploded in similar fashion to the first quarter, piling on 15 points and 5 rebounds within just 10 minutes of basketball. With Mays and Deng living on the boards, it was tough for the Pioneers to gain any form of offensive momentum but they still scrapped to remain within touching distance of their opponents. When Sam Daly converted on a driving layup with 1:52 remaining in the term, the Pioneers were behind by just three points. However, the Eagles would strike with back-to-back triples to Kane De Wit and Jake Rios which saw Forestville’s advantage stretch out to a handy nine points heading into the final term.
With top spot up for grabs, the Eagles were looking to silence the home crowd early in the final term and put the game to bed but the Pioneers had other ideas. Three quick triples to the Pioneers within 1:28 saw the game back on even terms before the Eagles had a chance to catch their breath. Kentrell Barkley gave the Pioneers the lead shortly after when he found space inside for the easy two and it appeared the Pioneers were going to come roaring home. Majok Deng had punished the Pioneers all night and he hit two big threes in 27 seconds and the Eagles led by one point. However, that would be the last the Pioneers would hear from Deng, as the Pioneers got on top of him defensively. The 12-5 run from the Pioneers that followed turned the game on its head and afforded the Pioneers a four-point lead. Brad Rathjen came to life in the final term as he put up 10 points for the period and he had great support from his teammates with Kentrell Barkley adding 10 points and Tom Daly and DayJar Dickson each adding six for the quarter. With 2:20 remaining in the match, the margin was four points and the game was on the line but it would not be a close ending as the Pioneers put on a 9-0 scoring streak to finish the match victors by 13 points, 106-93.
Kentrell Barkley led the Pioneers with 38 points, 14 rebounds and 3 steals, Tom Daly had 22 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists, DayJar Dickson compiled 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks and Brad Rathjen finished strongly with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Majok Deng led all scorers with 42 points, 17 rebounds and 2 assists for the Eagles, Brendan Teys provided 15 points, 4 steals and 2 assists and Greg Mays was key with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks.
The Pioneers will now have a week’s rest as they wait to see who they will play in the first week of the playoffs whilst the Eagles head home for one last regular season encounter when they face the Southern Tigers next Saturday night.