The GMHBA Ballarat Miners kept playoffs hopes alive with an effortless 17 point win over Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence (BACoE) at the MARS MINERDOME on Saturday night (101 – 84).
The Miners played a sleek brand of basketball, shooting 55.1% from the field and making full use of their 10-man roster.
Co-captain Roy Booker lead the team with an impressive 34 points and 6 assists. Guard Anthony Fisher ended the game with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Along with 19 points from Gregg Thondique who also took 7 rebounds and an outstanding 5 steals.
The game began with Booker scoring all of the first 13 points for the Miners. Good offensive work from Fisher and co captain, Kris Blicavs early, contributed to the early 21 – 6 lead at the first time out.
At the first break, Booker lead the scoring with 17 points and the Miners were shooting at a high 77%, as compared to BACoE 18.2%. The effective scoring continued into the second period with Gregg Thondique getting into the action, and being strong under the basket defensively.
Half time saw the Miners shooting percentage drop slightly to 69%, still ahead of BACoE on 25.6%.
Fisher, Booker and Thondique continued to put points on the board in the third and the Miners turned up the intensity a notch, despite being constantly double teamed. But it was when Tristan Fisher stepped on to the court, did the crowd really turn up their support and the entire Miners side looked to get Fisher involved in the game. Despite the Miners loosing focus very late in the third, they went into the fourth with a 23 point lead (83 – 60).
The Miners physicality increased during the final term with Blicavs cool under pressure and under the basket. Dyson King-Hawea forced BACoE’s turnovers and penetrated their defence. Centres Liam Gibcus and Chris Smith were also instrumental in the key, with 8 and 6 rebounds respectively, they also managed to keep BACoE’s points in the paint under 40.
Entering some serious foul trouble, with 3 players finishing the game with 4 fouls and Chris Smith and Liam Gibcus totaling 5 fouls apiece. The Miners still looked polished, cohesive and smart and this should definitely assist them into their game against Dandenong on Sunday 2nd of August.
Head Coach Eric Hayes noted that over the last few weeks the team has become more cohesive and playing well as a team. He feels its like a burden has been lifted from the players, and now “well its just basketball!”
It was great to be able to give the guys a little bit more rest than they would normally get to prepare for the Sunday game, having that larger lead assists this of course and Hayes was glad he was able to do that, with the double header this weekend.
Offensively the team is working well, taking and making the good shots, Hayes thinks this is down to the guys being more comfortable in the offences, and therefore everyone is putting up more shots.
Hayes thinks that his guards will be able to turn on the shooting again on Sunday, “They just get into the rhythm of being able to put points on the board, and feel positive about a shot when they shoot it.” He thinks that having 54 points between them on Saturday night, will only encourage them to put more points on the board on Sunday.
Hayes was pleased that he could get all of his bench onto the Court, as early as the third term. The team and the crowd reacted well to having Tristan Fisher, Daniel Skaer and Dane Sisic all get over 5 minutes of game time. Hayes was grateful that the team looked for these guys and tried to get them a shot and get them to play together.
“We will certainly adjust a few things to try and counter what Dandenong do… but we’ll still play our game and take advantage where there is one.” Hayes.
The Miners now turn their attention to the tough Dandenong side, on Sunday. Knowing that now Nunawading have dropped one game, playoffs are a real possibility and every game must be a win, on the run home.
The Miners return home on 8 August 2015 to play the Nunawading Spectres, for their last home game of the season. This firms as a vital game with both teams facing off for the final playoff spot. Tip off is at 8:00pm, with the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush tipping off at 6:00pm.