The GMHBA Ballarat Miners taste victory with a narrow win over the Geelong Supercats, while the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush went down by 2 points.

The GMHBA Ballarat Miners taste victory with a narrow win over the Geelong Supercats, while the Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush went down by 2 points.

Kasey Cornwell

The GMHBA Ballarat Miners season has continued its impressive start with a an 89 – 87 win over the Geelong Supercats. Co-captain Roy Booker starred with 25 points and 6 assists, supported by Kodi Augustus with 22 points and 5 rebounds. Anthony Fisher and Chris Smith were instrumental with 16 points and 12 points respectively.

Forward Chris Smith is really impressed as to how the team has opened their season. “How we are playing is beyond what I even hoped for” Smith was solid in the second game for the season, adding to his impressive game against Bendigo. Smith commented that “anyone would be lying if they say it doesn’t feel better when your a big part of the win and I felt like I was”. Smith is happy with the teams progress with such a strong start to their season, the team made a pact to play hard and fast and back each other no matter what and it is evident they are following through with this. Smith and the team “dominated Bendigo from the start and then Geelong on their home court”

Smith is incredibly pumped to continue his stellar performances against Brisbane in his home town, Smith wants the team to get another win on the board and hopes the team will continue their physicality against the Brisbane Spartans.

Returning import Kodi Augustus played an exciting game, up and down the court with plenty of 3 point shots and dunks. He feels the team has an advantage playing like this as opposed to a slower tempo game. Kodi admits that while he has always been able to shoot the 3 pointers, it’s about taking his time and making the shot when it is presented, something he clearly did during last nights game. Augustus feels great with 2 out of 2 wins on the board and he wants the team to continue this, he emphasized they have to keep pushing forward and not get too excited about the wins.

Head Coach Eric Hayes thought the team started well, just like the previous game against Bendigo and feels this is the teams identity now, intensity and playing hard. They made a few silly errors according to Hayes but he thinks this helps the team learn and focus on making something good happen from it. He was impressed that the guys managed to do that, especially in the dying seconds of the game.

The Miners shot 50.8% from the field and 45.5% from the 3 point line, which was evidence to the shooting work at training and Hayes was happy its paid off during the game. Hayes admits there is plenty of work to do on rebounding the ball at the defensive end. The team gave up too many in the first half and Eric thought they improved in the second half. But it is still an area of concern and Eric and the team will be working hard on it in preparation for next weeks game against Brisbane. Towards the end of the fourth quarter the team really came in and put their body on the line for the ball and showed plenty of desire in order to get the rebound. Hayes hopes the guys can do this more consistently going forward.

The first two games or the ‘welcome to the league’ as Coach Hayes puts it, was definitely an unknown. Eric noted that he and the team have done the preparation and they just needed to get out on the court. Hayes and the team did a great job, they fought for each other and backed each other to earn a great result on the road. “We handled the pressure well when we needed to which was great”

The Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush went down in a nail bitter to the Geelong Supercats 66 – 64 but showed many positive signs and a vast improvement on the previous nights game. Co-captain Kiristy Rinaldi shot exceptionally with 18 points and was supported by new addition to the team Olivia Thompson on 10 points. 

Olivia Thompson was happy with how the team played together and thought the shots were dropping a lot better against Geelong. Rinaldi believes that the more game time they get together, the more they will continue to improve. While Kristy is disappointed to start the season 0 and 2 she is impressed with the improvement of the side and knows there’s a long way to go in the season. The team used the previous loss as a motivation. Kristy spoke on behalf of the team to express their disappointment with the Bendigo game, and emphasised that that’s not what the Rush are about, “you know we lost by 2 but that’s much better than 32”.

The team managed to implement their offence much better against Geelong and that was testament to the communication and teamwork on the court. Thompson and Rinaldi confirmed there is still more work to do with their offences. While the team was much more aggressive and physical against Geelong, Kristy wants the team to improve defensively.

Coach Peter Cunningham was pleased with the team’s game and expressed his pleasure in their improvement from the previous game.

The GMHBA Ballarat Miners and Harvey Norman Ballarat Rush hit the road for the next match and play the Brisbane Spartans on Saturday 18th April.