By Kasey Cornwell
The Miners took down Hobart in an exhilarating home game Saturday night, 93 – 85. Earnest Ross was phenomenal with 19 points, 19 rebounds and 8 assists. The impressive Roy Booker had 23 points, while Ollie Bailey made his 20 points and 24 boards look easy. Jarrod Weeks was the Charger’s top-scorer on 28 points and was assisted by Shane Southwell on 18 points.
Ollie Bailey began the game dominant under the basket defensively and offensively. Ballarat’s ability to pass the ball around well in the first term contributed to their 15 point lead at the first break.
The second term saw Earnest Ross and Roy Booker hit some big shots early and also notch up 2 personal fouls. Coach Eric Hayes erred on the side of caution and limited their minutes for the remainder of the half. Young local Sam Short got some well-deserved court time and hit the long range shots, as well as backing it up on the defensive end. On the back of a strong first half from Ash Constable, at the main break he and Earnest Ross were the Miners leading scorers on 10 points.
The third quarter saw new addition James Hunter really come into the game, he looked solid under the basket despite claiming 4 personal fouls mid way through the period. At the final break Ballarat were shooting the ball at 75% from the field as opposed to 39% for Hobart.
Within the final term, the Miners were strong and composed despite a resurgence from Hobart. The Miners defense was easily broken down in the fourth. Jarrod Weeks’ long range shot brought the Miners lead back to 3, in the last 4 minutes. It was basket for basket in the last minutes of the quarter, however the Miners managed to hold on, and Earnest Ross sealed the deal with a massive dunk, to the delight of the home crowd.
Head Coach Eric Hayes was impressed that so much of what he has been asking from his side has delivered. Offensively there was more of a spread, and more guys were involved. Hayes is happy that he has a team that is ready to step up. He noted that by having his whole team involved offensively, that it is harder for the opposition to guard them, which was definitely the case against Hobart on Saturday night.
The flexibility of the Miners to play both inside and behind the arc offensively is paramount. Hayes mentioned that while having some great shooters, the Miners also have some big guys that can play inside well. Once the Miners are able to utilise all of these players they will be increasingly hard to guard. Hayes said he saw glimpses of this from his team Saturday night and is looking forward to seeing more of this versatility.
Hayes noted that toward the end of the game, his side did not cope well with the press imposed upon them. He blamed this as the reason that his side rushed and committed turnovers. He and the side will continue to work on maintaining composure and looking after the ball in these circumstances.
James Hunter is a great addition to the team and Hayes is excited to have a new dimension to the team that he hasn’t had before. He and the team are going to get good value out of his size and game style and it is just a matter of getting used to playing with him within the current structures.
A well earned win for the Miners, before they hit the road to play Dandenong tomorrow.