The GMHBA Miners cement fourth place on the ladder and a playoffs berth.
An exciting GMHBA Ballarat Miners book a playoffs spot, with an impressive overtime win over the Kilsyth Cobras.
Co-captain Roy Booker starred with 24 points and 3 assists and was aptly assisted by Gregory Thondique with a strong 16 points 11 boards. Guard Anthony Fisher looked in control with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Miners began the first period with a focus on defense and made sure Kilsyth used their entire shot clock. Liam Gibcus was strong under the basket and co-captain Kris Blicavs made some exciting plays, opening the scoring and creating some good opportunities for his teammates. Kilsyth were able to slow the Miners fast paced style a bit, and this forced the Miners to play catch up through the first term. The Miners pulled together late in the first term and capitalized on the scoreboard and ended the term 17 – 20 points up.
During the second term Kilsyth tested the Miners and at times, this showed on the court, with ineffective passes and missed shots. But the Miners only let Kilsyth get a taste of the lead for a short while. Anthony Fisher and Roy Booker made some great shots and passes late in this term and the Miners lead into the main break 3 points up 32 – 35.
Kilsyth opened up the third with their free flowing offences and took the 3 point lead early in the period. The Miners quickly responded, reclaiming the lead, thanks to a Blicavs 3 pointer. The Miners increased their defensive pressure, pushing Kilsyth out past the arc. The Miners ended the third with a 1 point lead, 48 – 49.
The fourth period saw the Miners up the ante on defence and offences and they were able to play their trademark fast paced style, and edged out a 10 point lead early. Toward the end of the term the Miners’ turnovers cost them their comfortable lead and with one second to go, the score was 63 apeice. After a timeout, the Miners could not clinch the score and the final period ended level.
Overtime, saw the Miners able to take the lead and keep it at a nerve wracking few baskets. It was evident that the Miners playoffs hopes for 2015 were on the line and they all looked incredibly focused in defense and offense. Thondique was pivotal in the final term and the team were cohesive. The Miners took the win, for their entry into playoffs, by 6 points over Kilsyth, 69 – 75.
The Ballarat Miners Head Coach Eric Hayes was proud that the team earned their spot in the playoffs, and is looking forward to the next game.
Ball movement was a main focus for Hayes, and he was concerned that the Miners didn’t really play their own game and lacked rhythm. At times, their defence was ineffective allowing Kilsyth to stay in the game. But when it really mattered they managed to move it around, and found the open shot. “When it mattered we did the right thing”, Hayes.
When the Miners were at their best on Saturday night, they were moving the ball fast and scoring off the fast break, “Were pretty tough to guard when we’re doing that” and this has become the Miners trademark this season, and their fast pace clinched them the win on the road this round.
The main element of the game that kept Kilsyth close was the Miners turnovers (21), and Hayes mentioned that this hurt their lead a lot.
The GMHBA Miners were well represented at Kilsyth, by a strong contingent of Ballarat locals and the support from the bench was incredible.
The Miners now hold onto fourth position on the ladder, and are likely to take on Dandenong in the first round of playoffs. Stay tuned for the details.