The GMHBA Ballarat Miners and the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush both take convincing wins at home over the Brisbane Spartans.
By Kasey Cornwell
The Harvey Norman Rush looked composed during their 12 point win over the reigning league champions Brisbane Lady Spartans on Saturday night at the MARS Minerdome (66 – 54).
Co-captains Kristy Rinaldi and Abbey Wehrung starred, Rinaldi nabbing 14 points, 10 rebounds and Wehrung contributing 23 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. The entire team aptly assisted the captains, with 6 girls contributing on the scoreboard.
Head Coach Peter Cunningham was incredibly proud of his team’s commitment during the win on Saturday, as they have been playing good basketball for a few weeks now and it is a good reward for the team to get the win at home. Cunningham thought that everyone of his 7 players contributed at some time to the result.
On Kasey Burton, Cunningham thought she played an all round great game, and emphasized that reading the stats, you wont see how often she brought the ball to the ground, nor how well she played her role defensively. Burton finished the game with a stellar 9 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
The team was mature and better than Brisbane, noted Cunningham who was rapt that they managed to keep the opposition to less than 60 points.
Defensively Rush were outstanding, they managed to get between their player and the basket and rotated well. The team plan was to push them high, double the ball carrier and Cunningham was pleased in the way this was pulled off. Early in the game the Rush had 13 rebounds to 3, which set the tone for the home team to play strong defense for the entirety of the game.
Offensively, the team shared the ball a lot around the key in order to get the perfect shot selection.
Cunningham noted, even after Shenae Graeves picked up 3 fouls early, she stood up strong again. He also made honorable mention to Abbey Wehrung, whilst being double teamed, it is evident in her game style that she wants to lead, she’s playing well and shooting well and no one can stop her.
The win for Cunningham is more about how well the team stayed together and not on each other. The team managed to beat Brisbane at their own game, with some physicality. “We are very proud of the win, but its only one win and we want to have some more”, Cunningham.
The GMHBA Ballarat Miners fast paced 24 point win over the Brisbane Spartans (106 – 82) at the Minerdome on Saturday night was an exciting brand of basketball to watch.
The Miners had every member of the squad contribute on the scoreboard, with guard, Everard Bartlett contributing an impressive 22 points, 7 assists and forward Greg Thondique shooting 19 points, and taking 4 steals. Co-captain Roy Booker added 19 points and 5 assists to the teams total. Notable mentions to centre, Liam Gibcus who added 15 points to his name and co-captain Kris Blicavs on 14 points and 2 steals.
Head Coach Eric Hayes was satisfied, the team used their speed and fitness to their advantage on Saturday night, it was a physical game and Hayes was happy that the team got out there and ran and ran, in order to create some good opportunities. He thinks the team put a lot of pressure on them by using their speed.
Hayes believes he has a really good group of guys now, that really enjoy playing with each other and it showed on the court tonight. Each individual, is looking for each other, it’s a nice change to see from the Coach’s point of view. With almost the whole roster together for the first time this season, it’s great to see the dynamics of the team.
The Miners ran great offences, and Hayes noted that these are better than they have been, but he is looking for further improvement with this. “Were using our structure a bit more and finding opportunities out of that”.
Defensively, the team did a great job adapting their style to the variety of options Brisbane had offensively. Hayes thought that his team did this much better in the second half, as he had targets for the guys to make and they made these effectively in the second. There is still work to be done, in order to stop the other team getting through the defense to hit the easy layup. This is something that Hayes does not want to see, and the team will be working on this in the coming training sessions.
The game was tense, and the Miners maintained their composure, especially in the last quarter. This is testament to the team’s togetherness, notes Hayes, because they know that they can depend on each other and do not get caught up in that individual stuff. The team looked seemingly relaxed in the tense times and Hayes knows that this is because there is plenty of support between the team mates.
New addition to the roster, Dyson King-Hawea, gives the team a bit more flexibility, as Hayes is aware that the current roster does not have anyone of that size range and will allow a bit more variety in what the Miners can produce. Dyson has been included to ease the strain, with Casey Marshall out for some time with an injured shoulder and Everard Bartlett’s impending absence to join the New Zealand national squad in preparations for the upcoming FIBA Oceanic Championships. Dyson comes from a large family, with 9 siblings and Everard Bartlett as a cousin.
The GMHBA Ballarat Miners and Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush, are back at the Mars Minerdome on Saturday July 4, 2015 to take on Hobart. Games tip off from 6:00pm and 8:00pm.