Mixed fortunes for Pioneers on the road

July 5, 2024 BY

Pioneers v Frankston Mens & Womens Basketball

Mixed fortunes for the Pioneers teams at the weekend with the OneFortyOne Mount Gambier Pioneers women returning home from the road double empty-handed while the Castec Rural Supplies Mount Gambier Pioneers Men cemented their position on top of the NBL1 South standings with two victories.

The girls shock losses saw them drop out of the top four – the absence of Zitina Aokuso certainly a contributing factor.

The Pioneers started the weekend taking on bottom ranked Nunawading but their shooting deserted the visitors and the Spectres were able to unexpectedly end their nine game losing streak.

The home side started strongly with a 22-9 opening quarter and they remained in control of the contest the rest of the way too with the lead continuing to grow and getting out to as much as 17 points in the second frame, 20 in the third and 27 in the fourth.

The Pioneers attempted to mount a fightback, but the deficit was too much and the Spectres went on to score the 18-point victory.

The girls finished the night shooting just 34.3 per cent from the field as a team and 2/30 from three-point territory including Sherrie Calleia going 1/12 despite finishing with 22 points, nine rebound and seven assists.

Isa Brancatisano had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Pioneers, Haliegh Reinoehl 10 points and eight boards, and Samantha Fatkin eight points and five rebounds.

And things did not get any better when the girls backed up against the Dandenong Rangers, going down 88-52.

Right from the outset on Sunday it was a domination from the Rangers as they looked to consolidate their top four position and they opened up a 10-point lead already by quarter-time.

The home side then put up another 23 points to 14 in the second term and remained in control leading 46-27 at the half-time break.

The lead continued to grow in the second half and got out to 37 points in the third quarter and 41 in the fourth before the Rangers scored the eventual 36-point victory to improve to a 13-6 record with three straight wins.

The double loss weekend for the Pioneers saw them slip to a 12-7 record and into fifth position.

Reinoehl finishing with 13 points and four rebounds, Fatkin added 11 points and three rebounds, and Calleia eight points, four boards, two assists and two steals.

It was a vastly different weekend for the men, who started the road double with a 97-80 victory with Akech Aliir producing a dominant performance with 28 points and 15 rebounds, easily covering the absence of Nick Marshall.

Nunawading started impressively too with 28 points to 23 in the first quarter and to still hold a seven-point lead in the second term, but then the Pioneers began to take control, outscoring the Spectres 27 points to 14 in the second period to go into the half-time break leading 50-42.

That lead for Mount Gambier grew to 16 points in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth before they secured the 17-point victory to retain top spot with five straight wins and a 14-4 record.

Aliir was the standout in the win with 28 points, 15 rebounds and two blocked shots while going 13/14 at the free-throw line.

Christian Peevy added 21 points, five rebounds and two blocks, Dylan Marshall 18 points, five boards and three assists, Titus Robinson 16 points, three rebounds, three blocks and two steals, and Austin Shelley seven points and four assists.

Dandenong challenged the Pioneers early in the Sunday game but eventually the visitors started to take control, leading be seven at half time.

From there the Pioneers lead got out to as much as 18 points in the second half and they would end up winning by 14 to make it six wins in succession to improve to a 15-4 record and take a step closer to securing the regular season championship.

Titus Robinson delivered 24 points, four rebounds and three assists in the win for Mount Gambier on 9/15 shooting from the floor but what was most impressive once again was the amount of contributors.

Aliir provided another 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists with Dylan Marshall contributing 15 points and seven boards, Shelley 14 points, three rebounds and two blocks, and Vincent Monaghan eight points and two boards.

The Pioneers are now home for their final three games of the regular season, starting with hosting the Knox Raiders at Wulanda this Friday night.


Nunawading Spectres 84 (Brewster 18, Zempare 17, Antoniadou 16) d Mount Gambier Pioneers 66 (Calleia 22, Brancatisano 14, Reinoehl 10)

Dandenong Rangers 88 (Loughridge 15, N Puoch 13, Rock 13) d Mount Gambier Pioneers 52 (Reinoehl 13, Fatkin 11, Calleia 8)

Mount Gambier Pioneers 97 (Aliir 28, Peevy 21, D Marshall 18) d Nunawading Spectres 80 (Johnson 19, Hankerson 15, Box 12)

Mount Gambier Pioneers 86 (Robinson 24, Aliir 17, D Marshall 15) d Dandenong Rangers 72 (Dufelmeier 27, Puoch 15, Peatling 12)