By Trevor Jackson
THE Mount Gambier Pioneers women’s roster has taken shape, with two solid hitouts over the weekend in Adelaide.
Friday night the Pioneers defeated Forestville 74-66, while Saturday they defeated North 74-51.
Much of the focus was on WNBL players Sherrie Calleia and Shakera Reilly who have singed on for the upcoming NBL1 season.
Both were prominent in the victories, with Calleia finishing with 20 points in the opening clash, while Reilly contributed 12.
Calleia was again on the boards in the second clash with 15 points, while Reilly finished with eight.
Reilly comes off WNBL success with the Canberra Capitals in 2019, where the side won the championship, while Calleia suited up for the Sydney Uni Flames in 2020.
Millicent’s Jasmin Howe – a former college basketballer and development player for Townsville in the WNBL – was impressive on Friday with 25 points and another 13 on Saturday.
Those three will be joined by Hannah Young, another WNBL player, along with many regular faces, including Olivia and Maddy Wormald, Claire Hunter and Keryl Ousey, along with Lacey Haines, Stella Mobbs, Sarah Ritter and Johanna Jones.
It was the first time on the floor as Pioneers for Ritter, Haines, Mobbs and Jones over the weekend.
For coach Matt Sutton the roster is shaping up well, with some good cohesion shown in a game scenario.
“I was happy with the weekend,” he said.
“Moreso than the fact we won both games, was how quickly the chemistry is forming and how quickly the effort for each other has developed in a short period of time, which is really pleasing.”
Sutton was pleased with the effort of Howe, who showed plenty of class, especially in the opening game on Friday.
“The first game on the weekend Jasmin lit it up,” he said.
“She is a really good shooter – you can’t give her space to shoot the ball and she showed what she can do on the weekend.”
Likewise Sutton was pleased with Calleia and Reilly, who he said he expects big things from.
“Sherrie will be a tough, competitive point guard for us,” he said.
“She has the ability to control the game as well as lock down players on the other end and she plays with a real physicality.
“Shakera is a really smooth mover.
“She will play on the wing and a bit inside.
“She is a real threat from the perimeter.”
Sutton also expects Young to be a threat on offence, both inside and outside, with her size and athleticism sure to have an impact around the basket.
The younger Limestone Coast players should develop well with the experience in the roster but Sutton said he could use a bit more depth in the squad, simply due to the strength of the competition.
“We want the young girls to develop as much as we can but will look to add some depth, because we know the league we are going into, all the teams have outstanding WNBL content, as well as a potential Opals players.
“It will be a whole other world.
“We have Bendigo coming in for Round 1 and their back court are two solid WNBL players, as well as having an Opal squad member in their team, so we are going to be up against it in Round 1.”
The girls have a break this weekend before heading back to Adelaide for another hitout.