By Kasey Cornwell
The Ballarat GMHBA Miners head into the playoffs with the same mentality that earned them their spot on the ladder.
They enter the playoffs with a good record, winning six of the last seven games, and only three weeks ago beating Dandenong by 17 points and Coach Hayes is planning on keeping the game plan the same, “I think what we do well, we’ve done really well over the past few weeks”.
The Miners will be aware of Dandenong’s main scorers, Daequon Montreal (who had 37 points, last week) and former Miner Lucas Walker. The Miners will work hard to ensure Walker has a low shooting percentage and force him to work hard for any points to his name. The Miners have had a focus all season, to recognize the opponent’s strengths and concentrate on shutting them down.
Everard Bartlett, who is returning from a stint with the New Zealand National Team is a welcome inclusion, but he wont start on the court as Head Coach Eric Hayes does not want to rattle the cage too much, “We’ve won five games in a row with this group, I don’t want to disrupt that.” As the game progresses Hayes will utilize Bartlett, as needed.
The Miners will take a full strength squad into the Dandenong game, and hope to take advantage of this by including as many players as possible in the team rotation.
With a large number of the Miner gang heading on the road to Dandenong, Hayes says it will be nice to have some support and create that emotional lift for the team.
The team is upbeat this week, in the lead up to game one of the playoffs. Hayes doesn’t want the team to be too conscious of the weekend’s game being the first final, its just another game he wants his team to play at a higher level and with more intensity. He hopes his team can take opportunities when presented with them, and enjoy the experience, after all the Miners took the final playoff spot, finishing the regular season in 8th position on the ladder, and Hayes thinks they have nothing to loose.
GMHBA Ballarat Miners tip off at 7:30pm in Dandenong, tickets are still available on the door at Dandenong.