Looking to bounce back

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Pioneers young-gun Tenielle Human will need to be at her best as her team hosts a double-header for Round 13. Picture: JAMES MURPHY

James Murphy

A DOUBLE-header at home awaits the Mount Gambier Pioneers women this weekend.

It kicks off on Friday night against ladder-leader Knox Raiders, which is sure to present a challenge for the hosts.

The Pioneers were on the road last round and lost both outings to drop from fourth to fifth position.

However, in front of a home crowd and with the return of Zitina Aokuso from Opals duties, they will back themselves to perform.

Talent is not an issue for Mount Gambier, nor is determination.

However, accuracy has been a problem in recent rounds, with plenty of scoring shots generated only to not make it into the basket.

Up against the top team, who enter off a nine-game winning streak, there will be little room for error.

The Pioneers will take confidence from being the last team to defeat the Raiders, dealing them an 18-point defeat back in Round 7.

On that occasion Sherrie Calleia and Haliegh Reinoehl led the scoring for Mount Gambier, while a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds from Aokuso also went a long way towards the end result.

The starting five, which also includes captain Isabella Brancatisano and Samantha Fatkin will all need to be at their best, while the likes of Zoe Hurley and youngster Tenielle Human coming off the bench will also look make an impact.

A quick turnaround will have the Pioneers back up on Saturday night against Melbourne Tigers.

While the Tigers sit down in 14th position, that says nothing for their strength in a competition where any team can win on the day.

They pushed reigning champion Bendigo to the line last round with a narrow four-point loss, while went down to the Ballarat Miners by a larger 25-point margin.

The Pioneers had a close three-point win over the Miners back in Round 2, so expect another good battle on Saturday.

Both matches tip off at 6pm and will be followed by the respective men’s clashes.