The Border Watch : January 8th 2015
sPORt NeWs tIPs firstname.lastname@example.org Mount Gambier 08 8723 8989 basketball 33 ROOFING • PATIOS • SHEDS • FENCING • HARDWARE 659162 Pioneers ready for title defence Minimal change puts Mount Gambier in the box seat in the SEABL JACKSON REVOR A email@example.com Mount Gambier 08 8723 8989 basketball 33 ROOFING • PATIOS • SHEDS • FENCING • HARDWARE 659162 Pioneers ready for title defence Minimal change puts Mount Gambier in the box seat in the SEABL JACKSON REVOR A firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com WITH plenty of movement in the Australian Basketball League off-season, there appears to be one virtually constant force – Mount Gambier’s Pioneers, with the side seemingly on track for a title defence. While many other teams are changing rosters to be competitive in the up-coming season, minimal change has seen the Pioneers ready to defend the national title gained last season. With only Ben Allen and Jan Warbout missing from the championship-winning side, the roster is looking as strong as ever. Allen’s place has been filled by North West Tasmania’s Tyrone Lee, which should make for an interesting first game at the Icehouse. Lee felt the wrath of the passionate home crowd after an on-court scuffle last season with Erik Burdon, but that appears to be the last thing on his mind as he prepares to line up alongside his former foes. His passion for the game can only be matched by that of the Pioneers’ fans, which makes for a perfect fit this season. Lee finished last season with double-double figures – 18.8 points-per-game and 10.4 rebounds. When you compare those figures with the returning Damian Johnson’s – 14.4 and 8.9 – it gives the Pioneers a strong presence around the hoop at both ends of the floor. It appears last season’s grand final MVP Brad Hill will return after another season in the National Basketball League, this time with the Woolongong Hawks, with just a few loose ends to be tied up. And of course, star point guard Tom Daly will also have a season of NBL up his sleeve with the Adelaide 36ers and should return stronger than ever. It all adds up to another successful bid at the championship, with the opportunity of a threepeat for the South Conference and back-to-back national titles. But of course all other teams will be aiming for a shot at the title and will have Mount Gambier firmly in their sights. The opposition AFTER a national title in 2012, Albury Wodonga has struggled, but three new signings to the league, plus the explosive Deba George from Hobart have helped its cause. Ballarat sees the return of the exciting Kodi Augustus after a broken arm early in the 2012 season cut his journey short. BACK FOR MORE: The final piece of the puzzle is in place with 2014 grand final MVP and Pioneers star Brad Hill returning for 2015. Allen of course leaves Mount Gambier and heads to Bendigo to help bolster its roster while Brisbane has been fortunate to sign a new coach in CJ Bruton. Bruton has been charged with the job of turning the Spartans’ fortunes around, as well as the development of the Southern Districts Basketball Association. GET THE POWER OF BIG BRANDS AT LOWER PRICES 660621 With many years of NBL experience he is sure to add some spark to the 2015 season. Meanwhile the Thunder, which lost Lee to the Pioneers, has The Pioneers WHILE some players this season, not unlike any other season, will be an unknown quantity, for the Pioneers it appears business as usual. ON TRACK: Despite a couple of notable names missing from the championship-winning side, the Pioneers are on track to have a serious tilt at back-to-back national titles in the South East Australian Basketball League in season 2015. The only incoming player has more than proven himself in the SEABL competition and those outgoing can be well covered by his signing, plus the continued development of the young stars in the roster. Just last season a crop of youngsters held on for an impressive first-game win against Ballarat at the Icehouse – with some notable big names missing – to prove their worth in the competition. It could be said it was early in the season and Ballarat had not fully developed, but the same was quite clearly on display for the Pioneers. Either way it was the first of an undefeated run at home for Mount Gambier and set up what would become a stellar season – the best result in the club’s history. While not a lot of court time was handed out to the youngsters from there on, the experience gained throughout the season, at training, and slotting into the roster when required, was invaluable to the future of the individual players and the team. The SEABL is known as the premier winter league in the country and second only to the NBL. It is a big ask to put young players on the floor on a regular basis and expect them to remain focused and, more importantly, not lose confidence, which has the capacity to turn back any progress made. Development takes time and hopefully that time has been spent wisely. While the season start is still some time off, all teams would be looking seriously at the pre-season phase of their development. The Pioneers will hold a preseason camp from January 15-17, followed by another from January 29-31. Johnson and Lee should be on the floor at training in March, providing a month of work before the season kicks off. However, late last year Pioneers coach Richard Hill said his players were already doing whatever they needed to stay fit and ready for the season opener. As the defending national champions, and with a target placed firmly on their backs, that work will be well needed. 218 Commercial St East, Mt Gambier Phone 08 8725 0855 Bucik Tyrepower www.buciktyrepower.com.au The Border Watch, Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 33 signed two new imports in Fred Hunter and Monzaigo Williams to replace both outgoing Americans. Knox will not compete in the competition this season, pushing the start back to April, which will only aid the Pioneers, with the NBL players able to return for Round 1.
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January 9th 2015