In September 1987 the Mount Gambier Amateur Basketball Association, supported by the vision of Mr. AA Scott OAM, made one of the most ambitious decisions in its history. The decision to apply to enter the 1988 South Eastern Basketball League (now South East Australian Basketball League) season as the Scott-Mobil Pioneers set the team as Mount Gambier’s only sporting team competing in a truly national competition.
There is no doubt that the vision of Mr. A.A. Scott OAM together with many other business people in Mount Gambier to promote and fund a national sporting team enabled the Pioneers to be set up and flourish over the years. In National Basketball competition South Australia boasts only 2 teams, while clearly competing in different leagues and competition standards, Pioneers Basketball Club and the Adelaide 36’ers are unique in what they bring back to the State.
The establishment of the Pioneers and the Icehouse have elevated the game of basketball and given elite sport greater exposure in the region providing much needed family entertainment for people of all ages. It also continues to give the future of local basketball talent a competition beyond the domestic scene for each to aspire to. The level and magnitude of support given the Pioneers by the business-houses and the supporters of the region was well beyond the wildest dreams of the Administration Committee.
The overwhelming response necessitated two extensions to the seating of the Icehouse, the venue for home games. Despite very few on-court successes in the early years of the Pioneers, capacity crowds and parochial support become their trademarks. As the seating of the stadium increased so did the support and full houses for home games become commonplace. The Icehouse crowd is the envy and nemesis of all visiting teams. During its proud history the Mount Gambier Pioneers have built respect and a strong reputation throughout the Nation, as a tough opponent. The Pioneers have achieved great success over the years, which peaked in 2003 when the Mount Gambier Pioneers captured the SEABL and National ABA Championships. Whilst recent seasons have not given fans great results on the court, the club has consolidated and laid a strong structure and foundation for the future off the court. The future focus will include recruiting and developing local stocks.
Not since the 1990’s have so many local players been identified by the coaching panel as having the potential to contribute in the national competition. The last time the squad retained a high local player content was the halcyon days of the 1990’s, combining local talent and enthusiasm together with intelligent recruiting for key roles will be the hall marks of Pioneers success into the future.