Pioneers First Home Win!!!
8 May 2012
Chris Button - Castec Rural Pioneers
The conference leaders in Knox came crashing back to earth at the hands of a fiercely determined Castec Rural Pioneers outfit – racking up their first home win of the season in front of a raucous home crowd.
After blazing away to a 13 point lead at quarter time, the Pioneers never looked like loosening their grasp on victory.
NBL interim recruit Brad Hill was strong early, driving ferociously to the basket regularly and dominating along with Paul Davis under the boards, taking 25 rebounds between them.
Davis turned it on in the second quarter, scoring three consecutive goals from the post, dominating the Knox team lamenting the absence of Lester Strong in the centre position.
Dallas Jeffree showed plenty of finesse, including a pressured lay-up to keep the visitors from gaining ground, en route to his best performance of the season.
Captain Matt Sutton showcased the Pioneers’ defensive play of the year, when he chased down a Sean Carroll fast-break and landed a massive block from behind – bringing the crowd to their feet.
By the half, the margin was reduced to 10, but the Pioneers weren’t showing any signs of faltering any further.
Davis came out firing in the second half, landing a number of spectacular alley-oops, and Hill continued his bullish approach to the basket, causing headaches for the visitors who were heavily relying on CJ Massingale’s 34 points.
The lead increased to 11 at the final break – leaving the home team the challenge of hanging on until the end.
Fears of the Pioneers’ ability to close out games was unfounded, with Davis, Hill and Jeffree combining to clinch the nine point victory over a visibly frustrated Knox outfit – who were smashed in the rebound count 47-29.
The victory was all the more sweeter with young-gun Mitch Mott taking to the court in the final minutes and earning himself a foul after a strong offensive rebound – Mott converted both free throws to the delight of the crowd and his teammates, only to have the court announcer incorrectly credit the points to the absent Nick Morrison.
The win will provide a much-needed boost to the hard-working Pioneers, who take on Frankston next Friday at the Ice House, followed by a day trip to Bendigo.
Tipoff for next Friday is at 8pm, with tickets available at the Commodore on the Park, Redgum Country or at the door.
Pioneers 100: (P Davis 23pts, 16reb; B Hill 22pts, 9reb, 6as; D Jeffree 17pts)
Knox 91: (C Massingale 34pts, 10reb; M Hill 19pts; J Phillip 15pts, 8reb)