Pioneers suffer narrow home losses

May 31, 2024 BY

Pioneers v Frankston Mens & Womens Basketball

The OneFortyOne Mount Gambier Pioneers women made a late run after a lacklustre first half but fell just short of chasing down the Eltham Wildcats.

Both teams entered the clash off a loss

It was in the second quarter where Eltham took charge of the contest outscoring the Pioneers on their home floor at Wulanda, 20 points to nine, to open up a lead by as much as 12 points, and to still be on top 34-24 by the half-time break.

The lead for Eltham grew to 14 points in the third quarter as well but the job wasn’t done and the Pioneers weren’t about to accept suffering consecutive defeats for the first time this season.


Pioneers v Frankston Mens & Womens Basketball


The Pioneers had only scored 43 points the entire first three quarters, but they did make a charge in the last term and a triple from Cara Nulty had the home team back within a point and with the momentum.

Zitina Aokuso then scored inside to put Mount Gambier back in front but it wouldn’t last long with Erin Riley restoring the lead for the Wildcats.

She then hit a triple to push the lead for Eltham back out to four points and eventually the visitors would go on to score the four-point victory to improve to a 5-6 record on the season.

The Pioneers women now sit at 9-3 on the season with back-to-back defeats with Sherrie Calleia (below right) top-scoring with 20 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals with 4/10 three-point shooting.

Isa Brancatisano (below left) added 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals, Haliegh Reinoehl 11 points and seven boards, and Zitina Aokuso nine points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Castec Rural Supplies Mount Gambier Pioneers men also suffered a narrow loss after the Eltham Wildcats produced a huge final minute to overrun the boys on the Wulanda pine and claim the dramatic 91-89 victory on the road.

The league-leading Pioneers were back home at Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre to play host to the Wildcats and it would prove an eventful and tightly contested evening with nothing more than eight points ever separating the sides.

It was Eltham leading by a point at quarter-time while maintaining that advantage at half-time going into the break leading 48-47.

It was the Pioneers who made the biggest break of the game to move out to an eight-point advantage early in the third quarter, but the Wildcats weren’t going away and stayed in touch.

But still, with just over a minute to play it was the Pioneers leading by five points following a dunk from Christian Peevy.

Eltham had to dig deep to get a win to keep them in touch with the playoff positions and they cut that deficit to three thanks to a three-pointer from Ralph Bissainthe.

The Pioneers scored in response with a dunk to Akech Aliir thanks to the on-point pass from the baseline by Kane de Wit (right), but that would be the last score of the night from the Pioneers.

Sam Whelan knocked down the three for Eltham to cut it back to a one-point game and then Owen Foxwell made one foul shot to tie things up.

Mount Gambier had the chance to regain the lead, but Foxwell stole the ball from Nick Marshall and went up to score and give the Wildcats the 91-89 lead.

That’s where the score would stay despite Peevy grabbing an offensive board for the home team but his put back bounced out. Time expired for Eltham to cling to the thrilling two-point win after the video review.

The men also now have a 9-3 record with their five-game winning streak coming to an end despite Nick Marshall delivering 30 points and eight rebounds.

Austin Shelley added 16 points and three rebounds, Akech Aliir 15 points and five boards, and Titus Robinson 12 points, four rebounds and two steals.

The Pioneers teams are hosting Geelong United this Friday night.


Eltham Wildcats 65 (Leidel 27, Riley 20, Pizzey 9) d Mount Gambier Pioneers 61 (Calleia 20, Brancatisano 12, Reinoehl 11)

Eltham Wildcats 91(Bissainthe 33, Foxwell 27, Glover 10) d Mount Gambier Pioneers 89 (N Marshall 30, Shelley 16, Aliir 15)