With finals not far away, the GMHBA Ballarat Miners are looking to continue their exceptional form this weekend as they take on the Canberra Gunners, Saturday night from 8pm at the MARS® MINERDOME.
The two teams first met in in Canberra in Round 9—a match that saw Roy Booker put up a sensational 40 points, as well as dish out nine assists and get to the foul line 13 times, connecting on twelve free throws. Despite Booker’s heroics, however, the game would be tied going into the final term. Not only did Ballarat turn up their aggression on offence, getting to the foul line eight times in the fourth quarter alone, they also unleashed a defensive pressure that led them to five massive blocks and holding the Gunners to 15% shooting for the quarter to help the Miners to an 89-62 victory.
This weekend’s game should be a different story, as both teams have improved immensely since Round 9, but also, the Miners will not have Booker’s proficient shooting to help them over the line this time.
With that said, the Miners have hit their stride as the regular season is nearing its close, and have had multiple players step up on multiple occasions since Booker’s exit. Most recently has been Nathan Sobey, who just received Player of the Week Honours for his Round 18 performances against Knox and Kilsyth. In both games, Sobey racked up 28 rebounds and 10 rebounds to lead his team to two victories. A similar performance from Sobey will be crucial in putting the Miners in position to come out with a win.
Dyricus Edwards has also become a valuable asset for the Miners in the past few weeks. Averaging 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for Round 18, Edwards has become another offensive threat for the Miners’ opposition to worry about. The Miners will again be playing this weekend without star import Ken Horton, but with Anthony Fisher, captain Liam Gibcus, and Chris Smith contributing solid numbers each week, the Miners have more than enough firepower to be successful against the Gunners.
The Gunners boast their fair share of talent as well. The trio of Garlon Green, Matt Staff, and former Miner Daniel Joyce has been a powerful force for the Gunners. Green leads the charge, averaging 23.5 points and seven rebounds a game. In the Round 9 match-up, Green scored 23 points shooting at 47% and grabbed seven rebounds, and was heavily supported by Matt Staff who chipped in for 22 points and 12 rebounds. Daniel Joyce was quiet in the contest, but has had big games since then including 29-point game two weeks ago and a buzzer-beater for the win in their last game.
A win for the Miners is important this weekend, as strong form heading into the end of the season is essential in gearing up for a strong run in finals. With the South Conference in a tight race for finals positions, the Canberra Gunners have a lot riding on this game and will be hungry to get a win. Get in to support your Miners in what will be their last home game of the season. Tip-off is Saturday night at the MARS® MINERDOME from 8pm, following the Ballarat Integra Rush taking on the Canberra Capitals Academy from 6pm.