Pioneers vs Kilsyth Cobras – Match Report Friday 15 June 2018

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Kilsyth Cobras Match Report Friday 15 June 2018

The Pioneers were cruelly denied their fifth victory of season 2018 on Friday night when they fell to the Kilsyth Cobras by three points in an overtime thriller. Despite trailing for most of the match, the home side dug deep in the final term as they fought back from a nine-point deficit at the last change to force overtime against their ladder leading opponents. A parochial home crowd did their best to lift their team to an unlikely victory but were left broken hearted as their side fell agonisingly short 100-103.

The Pioneers were looking to put a rough few months of basketball behind them and with the new faces of Sam McDaniel and Alex Marzette filling some gaping holes on the Pioneers roster it appeared they would be a new team after the bye long weekend. A McDaniel triple was the perfect start to the Pioneers night, but the home side would not have it all their own way as the Cobras made them sweat on every possession. The height of the Cobras was stretching an undersized Pioneers line up, led by Dane Pineau who was wreaking all kinds of havoc on the interior. Tom Daly was the one man wrecking crew for the Pioneers in the opening term as he fought valiantly to the basket time and again to register 13 points in one quarter of basketball. Despite their problems in the paint, the Pioneers found themselves in front at quarter time by two points courtesy of an Alex Marzette buzzer beating trey. 

Cobras captain Chris Patton set the tone for his side to commence the second term with his opening basket fuelling a 13-4 run that saw the visiting side take control of the match. Alex Marzette was doing his best to keep his new side in the contest with his energy, effort and commitment at both ends of the floor exemplary. Marzette was keeping the Pioneers in the contest as Daly was kept to just three second term points and when he hit 2/2 from the line the game was all knotted up at 47 apiece. However, the Cobras would go on a 7-0 run to finish the term, a tear that would include a third three-pointer from Felix von Hofe for the quarter. It would be those nine points from von Hofe that would prove the difference between the two sides in the second term as the Cobras outscored the Pioneers by 25-16 to set up a seven-point half time lead. Tom Daly led the way for the home side with 16 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds whilst he was ably supported by Alex Marzette who compiled 14 points and 2 rebounds to half time. For the visiting Cobras it was Chris Patton leading the way with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists whilst Dane Pineau had 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. 

The Pioneers started the third term in the same way they started the match with another customary Sam McDaniel triple bringing hope to the cause of the home side. When Tom Daly sunk a sensational jump shot, the Pioneers appeared to be back in the contest and trailed by just two points. The Pioneers maintained pace with their more highly fancied opponents for the majority of the quarter but despite their best efforts they could not draw within an arm’s length of the Cobras. When Sam McDaniel hit his fourth triple from five attempts, the Pioneers were once again within two points of the lead but what happened next can only be described as disastrous for the home side. A combination of poor shooting, turnovers, ill-discipline and second chance points hindered the Pioneers cause as they allowed their opponents to close out the third term in the same way they closed the second term with a 7-0 run. 

With their season at the crossroads, the Pioneers needed to find something in the final term to inject hope back into their 2018 campaign and an immediate 8-3 run was the perfect antidote for their ailing cause. Suddenly, the Cobras were on the back foot and were making numerous skill errors as the Pioneers defence rose to the occasion. Marzette was putting on a block party whilst McDaniel was at his pick pocketing best as he racked up five steals for the contest. Back to back triples from Sam McDaniel gave the Pioneers a surprising lead and they would continue to maintain the advantage throughout the closing stages of the contest. When Tom Daly hit the second of two free throws, the Pioneers held a three-point advantage with just 33 seconds to play. However, there would be a twist in the plot as Lewis Thomas interfered with Sam Daly’s second free throw and would be called for goal tending which gifted the Cobras a three-point play and locked the game up at 95-95. Both sides attempted to sink game winning baskets, but neither were successful and the game was headed to overtime.

Despite having all the momentum and the home crowd as the sixth man, the Pioneers found themselves struggling to begin the overtime period as they missed their opening three shots. Fortunately, the Cobras only managed one basket in this time and when Sam McDaniel found the bottom of the net for his seventh trey of the evening the Pioneers held a one-point lead. Baskets to Sam Daly and Isaac Turner put the Cobras up by three points with just 24 seconds on the clock. All eyes were on three-point king McDaniel to bridge the gap, but the Pioneers had to settle for a Tom Daly two-point jump shot and the home side trailed by one. A late foul on Turner resulted in two converted free throws and the Cobras lead was back out to three points. Sam McDaniel tried to get off a last-ditch effort from beyond the arc but it was blocked and the Pioneers sunk to the most heartbreaking of defeats 100-103. Tom Daly led the way for the Pioneers with 29 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, Sam McDaniel put up 28 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals and Alex Marzette impressed with 18 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. For the visitors it was Isaac Turner who top scored with 21 points to go with 2 assists and 2 steals, Sam Daly had 19 points and 9 rebounds, Chris Patton had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and Dane Pineau had 14 points, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks and 5 steals. 

In reviewing the game, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill believed it was “a game we felt we had done enough to win but unfortunately a couple of mental errors inside the last minute proved crucial”. The turning point came at the end of the third term where “unfortunately in less than two minutes immediately before three quarter time we saw a two-point deficit blow out to nine points”. “We showed a lot of courage to keep coming back to give ourselves a chance to win”. 

The Pioneers now face a gruelling schedule with four games inside eight days with an upcoming road double header against Bendigo and Ballarat to kick off the hectic period. The Cobras will be looking to maintain top position on the SEABL ladder when they meet Geelong next Sunday at home.  


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Pioneers vs Dandenong Rangers Match Report Friday 1 June 2018

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Dandenong Rangers Match Review Report Friday 1 June 2018

The Pioneers season took another turn for the worse on Friday night when they were once again humbled at home, this time by arch-rivals Dandenong in a rematch of last year’s championship final with the visitors prevailing by 16 points. 

The Pioneers came out all guns blazing in the opening term, scoring the first five points of the contest and taking the game right up to their more favoured opponents. Luke Jamieson was providing a focal point inside the paint and the Pioneers continued their excellent ball movement from last week as they shared the rock and found the open man. The Pioneers defence was solid to start the game and forced the Rangers into taking ill-advised shots, with the Rangers taking 2:18 minutes to register a score. But it didn’t take long for the Rangers to find their feet on offence with Rhys Vague and Lucas Barker causing serious headaches for Pioneers Coach Richard Hill. Vague was connecting on just about all of his shot attempts including a nasty sky hook whilst Barker was unstoppable from all angles, bombing a three, converting at 100% from the line and driving to the hoop. The offence of Sam McDaniel was keeping the Pioneers in the contest, with his eight opening term points ensuring the Pioneers went to the break within a bucket of the Rangers at 18-20. 

The Pioneers needed a spark and it would come in the form of a highlight alley-oop play as Kane de Wit found Lewis Thomas to kick start the Pioneers cause in the second quarter. However, the highlights would be few and far between for the Pioneers in the second stanza as the Rangers dominated on the glass and made the most of the second chance points that were served up to them on a silver platter. The Pioneers simply could not score with everyone bar Sam McDaniel struggling to get their shot going. Tom Daly struggled to overcome a constant double teaming, Erik Burdon was throwing up bricks and Lewis Thomas was unable to continue his recent offensive dominance. Meanwhile, Lucas Barker was running the floor like clockwork for the Rangers with Rhys Vague and Tim Lang combining to maul the Pioneers in the paint. With time expiring in the first half, it was a sore and sorry tale for the Pioneers who could only manage 11 second term points as they fell adrift by double digits, 29-39 at the long break. Sam McDaniel led all scorers to half time with 13 points and 5 rebounds for the Pioneers whilst Luke Jamieson provided the only other resistance on offence with 7 points and 4 rebounds. For the Rangers it was Lucas Barker leading the way with 11 points and Rhys Vague added 9 points and 6 rebounds in the first half. 

The Pioneers first half showing was a far cry from their stellar performance against Canberra only one week ago and Coach Richard Hill put it on his players to come out and show some grit and determination to commence the second half. The Pioneers heeded these words and flew out of the gate in the third term as they went on a 7-2 run which cut their double-digit deficit in half. But the Rangers would not go away as Vague and Lang continued to prove unstoppable on the inside with the Pioneers bigs brigade unable to dent their impact on the scoreboard. The Pioneers were starting to click on offence and found several avenues to the basket but they could do very little to halt the Rangers momentum as the visiting side extended their lead to 14 points at the final change.

If the Pioneers had any hope of getting back into this contest, their hopes were soon dashed by Keli Leaupepe whose long-range effort to commence the final term broke the hearts of the Pioneers fans. Rhys Vague was simply unstoppable from start to finish as his 20 points and 16 rebounds paved the way for a Rangers victory. Sam McDaniel continued to have the hot hand from deep for the Pioneers as he shot 6-7 (85%) from long range for the match but there was little he could do to stop the Rangers onslaught. The only other highlight for the Pioneers was the play of Kane de Wit who continues to show more poise under pressure with every passing contest. De Wit’s 12 points were a season high for the young Pioneer and many of his teammates could take a leaf out of his book as he shot 62% from the field. It is not often that offensive boards are the decisive statistic in a game of basketball but that was surely the case in this contest as Dandenong maintained a telling edge on the glass with a 15-0 differential in second chance points and a 62-33 edge in rebounds. As time wound down in the final term it would be the Rangers who would prevail by 16 points as they subjected the Pioneers to a 4-6 record and 11th place on the ladder. Sam McDaniel led the way for the Pioneers with 26 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists whilst Luke Jamieson put up 14 points and 9 rebounds. Rhys Vague starred for the Rangers with 20 points and 16 rebounds, Lucas Barker had 17 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds and Tim Lang had 15 points and 6 rebounds. 

In reviewing the game, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill credited the Rangers approach, stating that “Dandenong had a great game plan and whilst we were able to create good scoring opportunities, our inability to convert enabled them to sit in their zone for the entire game”. “Their size proved too much for us to handle as they smashed us on the boards” he said. Hill once again praised the work of new addition Sam McDaniel, stating that “McDaniel was a shining light for us at the offensive end” but unfortunately for the Pioneers there would be no supporting cast to carry them to a winning total. 

The Pioneers now have a 14 day break in which to find some resolve that will carry them to the playoffs for the sixth straight season. The Rangers will have to back up on Sunday when they face Diamond Valley and will be keen to climb into the top four on the ladder. 

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10Key Castec rural Supplies Pioneers veteran Brad Hill has succumbed to a chronic ankle injury, forcing him out for the remainder of the 2018 season.

Brad has been battling for the past couple of seasons with a degenerative condition in his ankle. He and the club had hoped that off season surgery had arrested the problem and all early Indications were that he would be able to return to his best. Two pre-season mishaps set Brad back and a recent visit to his surgeon confirmed further damage to the ankle.

After discussions with the Surgeon, his wife Julie, the club and his coach the decision was clear that he was not going to be able to contribute to the team at an acceptable level and without doing irreparable damage.

Brad a veteran of 277 NBL games, 139 of those with the 36ers and 191 SEABL games, 138 of those with the Pioneers where he has found a home and been a key member of the Pioneers incredible run of 5 National finals and 3 National Championships.

Brad has been an all SEABL team member on 3 occasions, Alan Scott medallist twice (runner up twice) and was Grand Final MVP in the Pioneers first Championship win.

Brad started as a Sturt Junior graduated to the AIS, was a Australian representative as a Junior and Senior.

“Brad has been a huge part of our unprecedented Championship run” Pioneers Coach Richard Hill said. “Brad along with his team mates have all sacrificed individually to achieve team success”.

“Brad will be missed but the strength of our program has been the collective unit and the Pioneers will continue to thrive” Coach Hill concluded.

The Pioneers are set to announce a replacement who may be in uniform for the team on Friday night in their grand final re-match with the Dandenong Rangers.


Pioneers V Canberra Match Report

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Canberra Gunners Match Report Friday 25 May 2018

The Mount Gambier Pioneers returned to form in devastating fashion on Friday night when they accounted for the visiting Canberra Gunners by a jaw dropping 45 points. With the return of team captain Tom Daly to the floor and the fresh ink still drying on Sam McDaniel’s contract, the Pioneers team chemistry did not take long to gel as they exploded on offence and battled hard all night on defence. The victory was a welcome return to form for the Pioneers after a tumultuous start to their title defence.

The Pioneers came into the contest with a 3-5 record, staring down the barrel of the possibility of missing the post-season for the first time since 2012 and were desperate to right their ship against a cellar dwelling Canberra opponent. The recent rust in the Pioneers’ game showed early as they kept the home crowd on their feet for the best part of two minutes until Tom Daly dropped a three-point bomb to get the Pioneers going. Ben Allen returned to the familiar surrounds of the Ice House once more and was proving a handful for his former side as he continued to maul his opponents inside the paint. Luke Jamieson was also playing against his former side, the Gunners and his battle with Allen was one to savour with both players not giving an inch in the low post. It was a case of Jamieson by name, jam by nature when number six threw down a thunderous dunk that fuelled a 10-0 Pioneers run and required a timeout for the Gunners. The run from the Pioneers gave them all the momentum and heading into the first change, the Pioneers had stretched out to a double-digit lead 23-13.

Sam McDaniel gave his side the best possible start to the second term when he nailed a tough jump shot before filling the box score with a block, rebound and assist in the space of 26 seconds. Tom Daly was relishing his return to the floor with his direct dime dropping and driving runs to the hoop breaking down the Gunners defence time and again. The Pioneers ball movement was a highlight of their first half play as they began to move the ball more quickly and find the open shot with such frequency you could have been mistaken that you were watching the San Antonio Spurs in full flight. The second term produced another double-digit differential and the game was as good as over at half time with the Pioneers up by 21 points. Whilst Allen was getting some help from Daniel Joyce and Eric Gaff it wasn’t anywhere near enough to thwart a Pioneers team effort that was firing on all cylinders. To half time, Tom Daly led all scorers with 14 points and 6 assists whilst Sam McDaniel had 10 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Ben Allen led the scoring for the Gunners with 9 points and 2 rebounds and Eric Gaff had 8 points and 5 rebounds.

The Pioneers continued their good work in the third term as they outscored their opponents by 38-21 as points in the paint became all too easy for the home side. Dunks and driving layups were the order of the third term for the Pioneers with the front court of Thomas, Jamieson and McDaniel feasting on a relatively inexperienced Gunners forward setup. The biggest thorn in the Gunners side was proving to be new signing Sam McDaniel who despite coming off the bench in his debut appearance for the Pioneers was lighting it up from three. McDaniel hit four three-pointers in the third term alone, including three in less than two minutes to set up a monstrous 38-point lead for the Pioneers heading into the final term.

The Pioneers could have cruised to the finish line but they wanted to send a statement to the critics who have written off their season and finished in top gear right to the very end with a 27-20 final term providing them with a percentage boosting win. Ben Allen was doing his best to save face for his side but just like Michael Jordan against the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980’s, Allen needed help but none was forthcoming. As Coach Richard Hill emptied his bench, the young talent of the Pioneers did not let up with the likes of Chol Luk, Lachie Hunter, Dellon Brown and Josh Murphy all holding their own late in the game. A rare dunk by Dellon Brown sent the crowd into raptures before Lachie Hunter put the icing on the cake for the Pioneers with the final shot of the night as the home side prevailed by a commanding 45 points. Five Pioneers players scored in double digits with Lewis Thomas leading the way with 24 points and 12 rebounds, Sam McDaniel had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Erik Burdon had 20 points and 7 assists and Tom Daly had 19 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. For the Gunners, Ben Allen had 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds and Daniel Joyce had 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

In his post-match review, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was relieved stating that “it was great to be back in the winner’s circle after a difficult few weeks. We jumped out of the blocks pretty well with Tom Daly back on court, attacking the rim and setting the tone for his teammates”. “Lewis Thomas continued his great form and he was a huge factor at both ends of the floor”. “Our solid defence and speed of play eventually became too much for the Gunners”. “Sam McDaniel made a great debut for us slotting into his role, defending very well and shooting the ball at a high level”.

The Pioneers will look to continue their good form when they face off against Dandenong next Friday night at home, a game that Coach Hill expects to be “a much tougher challenge”. The Gunners will be looking to salvage their season when they meet Diamond Valley tomorrow night.



Round 7 Game 2 Match Report 19th May

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs NW Tasmania Thunder Match Report Saturday 19 May 2018
The Pioneers season is slowly slipping away after yet another defeat, this time at the hands of a rampant North West Tasmanian opponent who dominated the Pioneers for three quarters en route to a 10-point victory.

With just eight players making the trip across Bass Strait, the Pioneers were always going to struggle on the second night of a back-to-back and were completely outplayed for the first three quarters of this contest with the Thunder’s lead blowing out to as much as 23 points early in the final term. To their credit, the Pioneers fought to the finish and a 15-0 run provided some consolation for a Pioneers side that would eventually fall by 10 points.

The Thunder roared from the beginning in this one as they piled on the first seven points of the contest, all courtesy of the Jeremiah Ingram hot hand. Tim Coenraad answered with seven points of his own as the Pioneers maintained pace with their opponents for the majority of the quarter. However, a late 12-0 run ignited the home side who would head into the first change, leading by those 12 points. Mason Bragg was drawing on all of his NBL experience with the Perth Wildcats as he led the Thunder strongly. Thankfully, the Pioneers also had NBL experience in their corner and Tim Coenraad’s time with the Illawarra Hawks was paying dividends for the defending champions once again.

Heading into the second stanza down double digits, the Pioneers needed to catch fire but all they could do was maintain pace with the Thunder as the home side sustained their quarter time advantage. Bragg was fast becoming a one man wrecking crew as he kept the Pioneers defenders guessing with slashing drives to the hoop followed by spot up threes from way downtown. The match was fast becoming a nightmare for Pioneers Coach Richard Hill but he could do little to halt the Thunder’s momentum without the services of Tom Daly, Majok Deng and Brad Hill. When Ben Richmond knocked down a trey the Thunder’s lead was 18 points and the game was as good as gone for the visiting side. Mason Bragg ended the half with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists for the Thunder whilst Jeremiah Ingram compiled 11 points and 5 rebounds. For the Pioneers, Lewis Thomas had 9 points and 6 rebounds and Tim Coenraad had 9 points and 4 rebounds to half time with the home side leading by 13 points.

The Pioneers needed to salvage something from their Tasmanian trip and winning the second half would have featured prominently in the half time address of Coach Richard Hill. However, the Pioneers came out cooked in the second half and could only watch as the Thunder grew their lead through the dynamic play of Ingram and Bragg who made a mockery of the Pioneers defence. Coenraad and Thomas did what they could to keep the Pioneers afloat but they could not draw close to the Thunder whose 12-point quarter time advantage was proving a mountain to overcome. A late drive to the basket by Ben Richmond saw the Thunder’s lead stretch to 19 points and with one quarter to play it would take a miracle to get the Pioneers back in the contest.

As he had done all night, Mason Bragg provided the spark to the Thunder’s cause to open the final term, scoring the first four points of the quarter as the Thunder lead ballooned to 23 points. The Pioneers could have easily thrown in the towel but they flexed their championship muscle and fought the match out to the end. When Erik Burdon nailed another customary three-point bomb, the Pioneers were on a 15-0 run and had every chance of pulling off a massive upset. With just 1:04 minutes on the clock, Tim Coenraad sunk a layup and the Pioneers were within four points of the lead. But it would be all North West Tasmania in the final minute as they scored six unanswered points to run out victors by 10 points.

The Thunder were led by Mason Bragg who finished with 35 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists whilst Jeremiah Ingram finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Tim Coenraad finished with 21 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists for the Pioneers and was well supported by Lewis Thomas with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was scathing in his post-game assessment stating that “we came out flat against the Thunder and could not deal with their intense defence”. “Down by 23 points, we made a late change to get within four points with about 40 seconds to play. Unfortunately, a couple of silly mistakes put paid to our chances down the stretch”. “Lewis Thomas had another great game for us and Kane de Wit in his 100th game gave us great spark off the bench”. “We simply had no answer for Mason Bragg who dominated the game on both sides of the ball”.

The Pioneers now return home with an unsavoury 3 wins and 5 losses on the season and must win against Canberra next Friday night at the Ice House to keep their playoff chances alive. The Thunder will be looking to continue their good form when they face off against Ballarat next Saturday night.

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