By Kasey Cornwell
The GMHBA Ballarat Miners take on the Canberra Gunners this Saturday night with both teams coming in to the game looking to improve their 3 and 3 win loss record.
Canberra has bounced back, after beginning the season with a thrashing, to winning their last two games in the dying seconds. While the Miners have turned their 3 consecutive losses around with a big win against Frankston last week.
Coach Eric Hayes is incredibly impressed with how his team has been playing and believes that teams will now have to adjust to them as opposed to vice versa.
Hayes admits at this stage he is not going to get caught up in what the Gunners are doing or what they might bring to the game. He is optimistic that if the team can stick to their game plan they can come away with the win.
Hayes is going to look through their structures and gain an idea of the Canberra player’s strengths and use this in order to play smart and contain the Gunners on court.
When asked about the Gunners import Nnaebuka Anyaroah, who finished the last two games on 22 points, 7 boards and 26 points and 16 boards Eric was not too concerned, as he thinks the Miners have “guards galore” with some great defence. Eric noted that the Gunners experienced shooting guard Dan Joyce is having a great year and he is also keeping a keen eye on their Centre Ben Allen, who stands at a tall 206cm. Although, Eric is confident that the Miners have the weapons needed to control the Gunners.
Talking about game style, the Miners will continue to play their fast pace brand of basketball, which Eric is comfortable will work against any team they play. The match up is in the Miners favour this weekend, and Eric is pleased that “they may find it difficult to match up with us” and can’t wait to see if they can handle the Miners fast pace.
Defensively, Hayes implemented a half court press against Frankston, which kept the Blues scoring at bay. With different teams, Eric will do different things and he plans to go into the game, doing what they do best and making their adjustments as the game progresses. If that means implementing a half court press or doubling teaming the ball carrier, Eric will do what is necessary to improve their 3 and 3 record.
The Miners will be at full strength for the first time this season, with Sean Massey hopefully making his return to the team and Eric is hopeful that everybody plays well and has to earn their minutes.
The GMHBA Miners and Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush hit the Court this Saturday May 9 at the Mars Minerdome against Canberra. Games commence at 6:00pm and tickets can be purchased at the Mars Minerdome. Wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer and Basketball Ballarat will donate $2 per fan to the Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.