The Pioneers put together back to back victories on Saturday night when they dispatched of the Southern Tigers in a hard-fought contest by nine points.
Adelaide 36er Anthony Drmic got the scoring started in this one with a successful long-range effort giving the visitors the start they were after. Erik Burdon offered a quick reply with his classy Euro Step effort getting the Pioneers on the board. Tom Daly was in the thick of the action at both ends in the opening term and compiled 11 of the Pioneers 24 opening term points. An early highlight play came courtesy of both Pioneers imports as Kentrell Barkley fed DayJar Dickson for the emphatic slam that activated the raucous home crowd. Unfortunately, early foul trouble saw Barkley exit with still 6:27 left to play in the first term. Despite the Pioneers having their best two-way player riding the pine for the majority of the first term, the Tigers were unable to make them pay on the scoreboard. Considering the Pioneers were over the foul limit with 5:23 to play, the Tigers poor 1/5 free throw shooting to close out the term let the Pioneers off the hook. During the same period of time, the Pioneers on the other hand, shot a perfect 7/7 from the line and opened up a five-point lead at quarter time 24-19.
Tom Daly picked up in the second term from where he left off in the first, as he received a quality dime from Barkley and laid it in with relative ease. The Tigers’ Max Calligeros was proving a tough matchup for the Pioneers as he continued to find his way to the basket and keep the Tigers in the game. But the Tigers had no answer for the one-two punch of Tom and Sam Daly with the brothers putting on a classy display at both ends of the court to combine for 33 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the opening half. Barkley continued to get into foul trouble and while it allowed Lachie Hunter some valuable game time, the Tigers were beginning to take full advantage and a CJ Turnage triple gave them a three-point lead. When Jordan Dodman sunk two free throws, the Tigers had shot out to a five-point break, but a hot run of scoring from the Daly brothers allowed the Pioneers to close out the term on a 9-4 run and head into half time with the scores locked away at 46 apiece. Tom Daly was on another level with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, Sam Daly had 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists off the bench and DayJar Dickson had 6 points and 7 rebounds. For the Tigers, CJ Turnage led the way with 15 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds, Max Calligeros had 14 points and 3 rebounds and Anthony Drmic had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
With the game on the line and an over capacity crowd watching on in earnest, the Pioneers rewarded the crowd with a stellar third term, outscoring the Tigers 32-15. The Daly brothers continued to dominate as they combined for the first 13 of the Pioneers points in the third term and 21 (66%) of the Pioneers 32 points for the quarter. The game was starting to lose its intensity as the Pioneers took full control and it appeared an easy victory was forthcoming. CJ Turnage continued to try and force the issue on both ends of the court and Drmic was doing his utmost to support him but the rest of the side was providing little resistance. When Burdon connected on a trademark triple, the Pioneers had shot out to a 19-point lead before a late Samuel Johns basket trimmed the deficit to 78-61 at the final break.
An unsportsmanlike foul on Calligeros brought the ire of the Tigers coaching staff who were hoping for a hot start to the final term but instead it allowed the Pioneers to settle as Lachie Hunter converted both free throws. The Pioneers lead hovered around the 20-point mark for the majority of the final term before the Tigers made one last ditch effort to save the game by going on a 14-2 run that brought them within nine points. Turnage and Drmic were sensational in the final term as they continued to score at will but it would not be enough to spoil the Pioneers welcome home party as Dickson put the icing on the cake with a monster slam and late free throws to Burdon and Brad Rathjen saw the Pioneers home by nine points, 108-99. Tom Daly played the game of his life as he put up 40 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals, Sam Daly contributed 23 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds from the bench and DayJar Dickson put up 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals for the home side. The Tigers were led by CJ Turnage who finished with 34 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, Anthony Drmic put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals and Max Calligeros compiled 18 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Pioneers now have a week’s rest before taking on Norwood at home on Saturday March 30 whilst the Tigers will seek redemption next Saturday night when they take on Central Districts Lions at home.