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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Round 7 Game 1 Match Report 18th May

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Hobart Chargers Match Report Friday 18 May 2018
The Pioneers’ early season woes continued on Friday night when they were narrowly defeated by a tough Hobart opponent by just two points. Tim Coenraad did his best to haul his side over the line but even his 39 points were not enough to stop the Pioneers from sliding below .500 on the season.

With so much to play for, the Pioneers came out and took it right up to the Chargers from the opening tip, as defence was the name of the game with the first field goal taking almost two minutes to drop. The Chargers fought back to go on an 8-0 run as their front court began to overwhelm their undersized opponents with a series of layups and inside jump shots accented by a Zac White dunk! The Pioneers relied solely on Lewis Thomas and Tim Coenraad on the offensive end as the dynamic duo scored all of the Pioneers 19 points to open the contest. A 10-5 run by the Pioneers to close out the first term put the game back on a knife’s edge at 20-19 in favour of the home side.

The Pioneers needed a fast start to the second term but it would not be forthcoming as a Kane de Wit foul on Zac White outside the arc afforded the Charger’s enforcer three free throw attempts of which he nailed all three. The Pioneers did their best to maintain pace with their more highly fancied opponents and despite the Chargers lead blowing out to eight points at several stages in the second term, the Pioneers continued to fight thanks largely to the exploits of Coenraad and Thomas, the latter proving his worth against his former side with a dominant display at both ends of the hardwood. The Pioneers rallied late in the term with several successful three-point attempts and against all the odds would go in to half time with a slender one-point advantage. The Chargers were being led by their big three of Tre Nichols (11 points, 2 rebounds), Mathiang Muo (10 points) and Craig Moller (8 points, 7 rebounds) whilst for the Pioneers it was the Tim Coenraad Show as he compiled 26 points or 55% of his team’s scoring to half time.

Despite being undermanned yet again, the Pioneers continued to fight tooth and nail as they sparked a 7-3 run which saw their lead stretch out to five points. Tre Nichols was causing all kinds of headaches for the Pioneers as he had his way inside time after time and when he missed, Moller and White were there to clean up on the glass. Luke Jamieson fought his way into the contest in the third term and gave the Pioneers some extra firepower inside the paint whilst Erik Burdon was making it rain for the visitors from beyond the arc with two telling triples for the term. The Pioneers would extend their half time lead by one point and head into the final stanza with the score at 77-75.

There was no doubt this contest would go down to the wire and the final term produced a see-sawing score line that kept those present on the edge of their seats. The Pioneers continued to feed their front court with Jamieson, Thomas and Coenraad heaping all the pressure on the highly favoured home side as time began to expire. Tre Nichols had all the answers though and would put on a masterclass in the final term adding 16 points to finish with 36 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds. The back and forth nature of the final term produced an epic finish as Kyle Tipene was given the opportunity to win the game for the Pioneers with just five seconds remaining, however his three-point attempt did not fall and the Pioneers succumbed to yet another loss, this one hurting more than most with just one basket separating the two sides, 108-106.

Despite the loss, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was upbeat believing that his side’s performance “was first class and being led by Tim Coenraad we were one possession away from perhaps our best road win in my time as coach of the Pioneers”. However, the game still goes down as another defeat and the Pioneers will be looking to right their ship when they face off against North West Tasmania in a must win Saturday night encounter.

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Round 5 Game 2

Mount Gambier Pioneers vs Kilsyth Cobras Match Review Report Sunday 6 May 2018

The Pioneers fought tooth and nail against Kilsyth on Sunday afternoon but failed to come away with the chocolates as they succumbed to their opponents by 11 points. The gruelling back to back set took its toll on an undermanned Pioneers outfit, with Kilsyth making the most of home court advantage and a one match weekend.

Kyle Tipene got the Pioneers going with the first points of the afternoon but any Pioneers momentum was short lived as the Cobras piled on a 10-3 run to kick out to an early advantage. The visitors shot just 33% from the field in the opening term and although Kilsyth’s field goal percentage of 37% wasn’t much of an improvement it was the Cobras ability to get to the charity stripe with regularity and convert 8/9 attempts (89%) for the quarter that provided the 22-14 differential in their favour at quarter time.

Felix von Hofe came off the bench to spark the Cobras start to the second term, putting up a devastating three which stretched the Kilsyth lead to double digits. Not to be outdone, Tim Coenraad fired back immediately with a triple of his own for the Pioneers and would add another just moments later to cut the Cobras lead to just three points. Coenraad was putting on an offensive masterclass as he wowed his new teammates with a second quarter burst of 15 points which fuelled a 15-3 run that gave the Pioneers the lead momentarily. To their credit, Kilsyth closed out the first half strongly and headed in to the main break with a slender three-point lead. Tim Coenraad exploded in the second term to lead all scorers with 16 points and 3 rebounds whilst Luke Jamieson provided solid support with 10 points and 3 rebounds. The Cobras were led by Felix von Hofe who provided a huge X-factor from the bench with 13 points whilst Isaac Turner was the only other player in double digits with 11 points.

Luke Jamieson gave the Pioneers the start they were looking for when he stole the ball from Cobras captain, Chris Patton and nailed a three-point bomb at the other end. The Pioneers enjoyed a stellar first half of the third term as they stretched out to their largest lead of the contest of four points courtesy of a Luke Jamieson free throw. However, all their good work was undone as they allowed easy baskets for Daly, Patton and von Hofe, fuelling a 16-7 run that put the Pioneers on the back foot, down five points at the final change. Tim Coenraad continued to lead the Pioneers charge with 23 points and 5 rebounds, with Luke Jamieson adding support with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Felix von Hofe was proving unstoppable with 19 points and 2 rebounds whilst Isaac Turner (13 points) and Sam Daly (11 points and 7 rebounds) were getting the job done for the home side.

Despite their heavy weekend schedule and their loss of players to injury, the Pioneers fought bravely throughout the final term but were unable to bridge the gap against a fresh Cobras outfit. When Erik Burdon hit a jump shot with 6:46 minutes remaining in the final term, the Pioneers trailed by just three points but the Cobras kept the reigning premiers at an arm’s length, with their captain Chris Patton adding 9 points in the final term to lead his side to victory. Discipline cost the Pioneers dearly down the stretch as they allowed the Cobras to make 12 trips to the charity stripe where they converted 19/24 attempts (79%). Fittingly, it was two free throws from von Hofe that sealed the deal for the Cobras as they ran out victors 84-73.

The Pioneers were once again led by Tim Coenraad who compiled 30 points and 8 rebounds, with only his front court teammates in Luke Jamieson (14 points and 11 rebounds) and Lewis Thomas (13 points and 7 rebounds) providing any real resistance. For the Cobras, it was Felix von Hofe who led the way from the pine with 21 points and 2 rebounds whilst Chris Patton had 18 points and 8 rebounds.

In reviewing the match, Pioneers Coach Richard Hill was proud of his side’s efforts despite the loss, stating that “Kilsyth presented a much tougher challenge than Frankston, we were slow to get started but were able to fight back and take the lead in the third quarter”. “We weren’t able to sustain our effort, finding it very difficult to put points on the board in the last quarter”. “Once again Tim Coenraad proved his worth with 30 points as Luke Jamieson and Lewis Thomas battled very hard against a very big Kilsyth front line and Kyle Tipene was solid in place of Tom Daly at the point”. “Kilsyth at home will prove a difficult obstacle for all teams this season” added the Pioneers leader.

The Cobras now improve to 5-1 and go top of the table whilst the Pioneers are left in the middle of the pack in eighth position with a 3-3 record. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Pioneers who must now face Nunawading next Friday night at home in a rematch of last year’s East Conference Final whilst Kilsyth will look to continue their strong start to the season when they face the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence in Canberra on Friday night.


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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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