The GMHBA Ballarat Miners took on a new-look Sandringham Sabres Sunday at the MARS® MINERDOME and unfortunately fell short in what was a hard-fought battle, losing 91-104.
An uncharacteristically slow start for the Miners would see them trail the Sabres for the majority of the first half, going into the main break down by 11. Additionally, the Sabres were able to uphold an impressive 60% field goal average for the first half, while the Miners were well below them at 38%; a large contributor to the Miners inability to gain control of the match.
The tables turned coming out of halftime, as the Miners lifted their game and shot 60% for the third quarter. Their defence picked up as well, holding the Sabres to a 40% shooting average for the term. The Miners took advantage of the Sabres’ poor shooting, going on a 33-20 run, and would head into the fourth quarter with a two-point lead. Roy Booker, Ken Horton, Nathan Sobey, and Anthony Fisher were standouts for the Miners in the third; Booker hitting three huge three-pointers to lessen the Sabres lead, Horton hitting clutch shots and grabbing any rebound that came his way, Sobey making clutch defensive plays, and Fisher distributing the ball well, efficiently directing the offence.
The Sabres’ third quarter poor shooting would subside in the fourth, as they went on a 15-3 run in the first three minutes of the term. Although the Miners fought hard to remain competitive and recapture the lead, the Sabres would shoot an outstanding 70% from the field for the quarter, a feat from which the Miners could not recover, and would eventually go down by 13.
It was only Junior Hairston’s second game for Sandringham, and after going 4/18 the night before at Kilsyth, he seemed to have found his legs, as he caused multiple problems for Ballarat. Hairston ended the game with 25 points and 17 rebounds (eight offensive). Contribution in the Sandringham win came from across the board, as all of the starters were able to score in double figures. Rayshawn Goins and Nathan Crosswell finished with 20 points apiece, Goins with seven rebounds and Crosswell with nine assists, providing key support for Hairston down the stretch.
Although the Miners seemed to struggle offensively, it wasn’t from lack of putting shots up. Four Miners were able to score in double figures, despite less than ideal percentages. Booker totalled 27 points and 10 assists, while Horton continued his remarkable effort on the boards, grabbing 16, and also pitching in 17 points. Sobey continued to positively assert himself into the Miners’ offence, with 21 points, including three massive dunks throughout the contest to awaken the crowd and inspire a sense of fight within his teammates. Fisher was outstanding as well, shooting 55% from the field for 18 points and five assists.
This loss has dropped the Miners to fourth on the ladder, but the Ballarat side are still comfortably in contention for finals. Come support the Miners this Saturday evening as they go against the top-ranked Geelong Supercats in a match that is sure to excite. Tip-off starts at 8pm, right after the Integra Ballarat Rush, also taking on the Geelong Supercats, from 6pm.