Pioneers bite back

REAL FORCE: Pioneers’ captain Tom Daly led his side to another win against Sandringham on Friday night with a perfect shooting percentage.

THE Sandringham Sabres bite was not enough to tame the Mount Gambier Pioneers in Round 10 of the South East Australian Basketball League competition at the Icehouse on Friday night.

Despite the Sabres keeping with the Pioneers for much of the game, the latter was too good in the end and claimed the match by comfortable 15 points.

Sandringham started strong, drawing first blood.

However, Erik Burdon soon chipped in with a couple of signature three-pointers to keep the Pioneers in touch.

Luke Jamieson had the crowd on their feet shortly after with a dunk to put Mount Gambier in front at the six minute mark of the opening quarter.

Daniel Alexander and Brad Hill then hit the scoreboard and the Pioneers led by five at the first break.

Sandringham’s Ethan O’Day – on his way to a 22-point match – opened the scoring for in the third with a three-pointer, which kept the visitors in with a chance.

Tom Daly soon replied with one from downtown of his own.

Accuracy at the foul line only extended the Pioneers’ lead, which was polished off with another shot from outside the three-point arc, this time from Jamieson.

As a result Mount Gambier went into the break with a 10-point lead.

Sandringham would minimise the margin before the Pioneers would bounce back and draw it back out.

With solid defence and accurate shooting the host’s were able to hold a lead of nine points coming into the final stanza.

Matt Sutton popped up in the opening seconds of the quarter to contribute three points and the Pioneers were looking dangerous.

However, the Sabres soon replied to bring the deficit back.

But in the end the Pioneers’ defensive intensity was too much for the visitors and Mount Gambier took the game by 15.

Pioneers’ coach Richard Hill said despite the solid final margin, the match was well fought over the full four quarters.

“It wasn’t really until the final four minutes that we got ourselves in a position of real authority I thought,” he said.

“It was a pretty tough game.”

With an improvement on an offensive front needed, Hill said he was happy with the efforts of his team against the Sabres.

“We shot the ball extremely well I thought,” he said.

“Our offence did click much better.

“But I think from a defensive point of view we were solid without being brilliant.”

Hill said there was no player in particular who stood up over the full four quarters on Friday night, but Alexander still managed a double-double.

“They were all patchy,” he said.

“Brad (Hill) had an outstanding third quarter and Daniel (Alexander) started and finished the game strong, but was quiet in the middle.

“Tom Daly was pretty impressive from an offensive point of view, he made six shots and only took as many.

“That is a rare contribution and an outstanding effort.”

Luke Jamieson also stepped up to the plate at both ends of the court, while Burdon made a couple of three-pointers early in the match to put the game in the Pioneers’ favour.

Hill said it was a “spread the load” type of effort on Friday night with Alexander, Hill, Daly and Jamieson all making double figures.

Sandringham O’Day was a focal point for the visitor and Hill believed his influence on the game was hard to stop.

“He played a really good game, he was clearly their best player,” he said.

“He troubles us last time we played them and again on Friday night.”

With a break the upcoming weekend, Hill said the Pioneers are in good stead for the remainder of the season with 11 wins and just one loss to their name far.

“Yes we do need to improve, but we also should be pleased with where we are,” he said.

“We are in pretty good shape, but we have four tough games coming up.”