The Border Watch : May 15th 2014
32 SPORT VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Pioneers face toughest test Brad Hill set to miss important clash with Ballarat Miners JACKSON REVOR A ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Pioneers face toughest test Brad Hill set to miss important clash with Ballarat Miners JACKSON REVOR A email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org WITH a 10-0 win loss record the Castec Rural Pioneers are looking good in the first half of the South East Australian Basketball League season. The team has been taking all before it, resisting hard charges and dealing out dominant victories, but that could all change Saturday night when it heads to Ballarat to take on the Miners. A very different Pioneers line up kicked off its 2014 season campaign with a win over Ballarat. The young members of the squad - Brad Rathjen, Kane de Wit, Dellon Brown and Sam Stafford - filled the gaps left by NBL stars Brad Hill, Ben Allen and Erik Burdon and did a mighty job without Tom Daly calling the shots from the point to take the win. But the Miners were also suffering early in the season and Pioneers coach Richard Hill is under no illusion the game will be any easier now. Brad Hill will be unavailable for the match with other commitments and will leave a big hole in the team's offensive plays. Hill is averaging 19.8 points per game for the season and in recent weeks has topped the score sheets. The Pioneers do however have Allen back in the line up as well as Daly, but are still missing Burdon. Daly has been impressive in recent weeks, hitting his pre-injury form and lighting up the score sheets. Allen has been just as impressive at both ends of the floor, scoring and pulling down rebounds to give his team mates first use of the ball off the glass. But coach Hill is not taking anything for granted and expects a much more polished Miners line up than the first-round clash. "Ballarat had two wins on the road in Tasmania on the weekend and that's as good a form as you can get," he said. "They have the leading scorer in the competition and their second import is in the top 10 so they are a good team and they are starting to hit some form." Hill said he would be looking for other players to step up and fill the void. "We are going to need one of the young players to step up and play some serious minutes," he said. "Brad plays a significant role in the team but it would be the same if it was Tom Daly or Ben Allen or whoever. "It does leave a fair hole but basketball is a bit like that. "What it does do is provides opportunities for somebody else to step up. "Lukass Blicavs has been playing really well and has been getting around 15-18 minutes a game, so he has an opportunity to play significantly more minutes, maybe 25-30 and have a chance to do some more out on the floor. "Kane de Wit will get to play more minutes and maybe even Sam Stafford might get an opportunity to play a bit more, so that is the silver lining you find." Hill said covering the depleted OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: Kane de Wit could find many more minutes on the floor in this weekend’s clash against Ballarat. RESPONSIBILITY: Lukass Blicavs has been in good form recently and could be called upon to shoulder a bigger load this weekend against Ballarat. Pictures: TREVOR JACKSON line up early in the season was a different proposition than now, with all teams in better form. With Brad Hill out this weekend and Burdon yet to return to the roster this season, the match could provide a hard crash back to earth for the undefeated side. "I think covering things at the start of the season is a lot easier because the standard has increased in intensity each time you come out," Hill said. "I don't put a lot of weight on the fact we beat Ballarat in the first game - they were disorganised and weren't very well prepared while we were pretty well organised an the young guys were ready to go. 32 - The Border Watch, Thursday, May 15, 2014 "I think this is going to be one of our toughest tests for some time. "At 10-0 we are in a good position but we have a bullseye on our forehead, so every game is going to be pretty tough. "At some stage we are going to have to deal with losing some games. "This weekend we have two of our major players out and we have been able to cover one player most of the way through. "Can we cover two? “I'd like to think we can but it will be a hell of a test." The Pioneers face the Miners in Ballarat Saturday night with tip off at 8pm. STRENGTH: The Pioneers will be looking to the strength of Ben Allen to score and pull down rebounds against Ballarat on Saturday night.
May 14th 2014
May 16th 2014