By Kasey Cornwell

The Ballarat Miners capped off their eventful season with a triumphant win over Canberra at the MARS Minerdome on Sunday. The Miners were 19 point victors, with final scores of 105 – 86.

The big man James Hunter was unstoppable, charging his way to 36 points, including 5 dunks and 10 rebounds. Backed up by Ollie Bailey whom had 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.

Craig Moller was exciting, amassing 16 boards as well as 9 points and 8 assists.

Earnest Ross reminded the home crowd why he is so enjoyable to watch scoring 8 points, with 6 assists and 12 rebounds.

Canberra relied upon Indiana Faithfull to score 21 points for the team and Daniel Joyce was pivotal with 15 points and 9 assists.

Ballarat and Canberra started off the game, both playing inside well. Craig Moller was instantaneously grabbing the tough boards in defence, ending the term on 6 rebounds, 5 of those defensive. Offensively the Miners got off to a great start, with Ollie Bailey shooting the ball at 75% and James Hunter at 71.43% from the field. Ballarat ended the term, shooting 71.4% from the field. At the first break the Miners had a handy lead over Canberra, 36 – 21.

The second term saw Canberra get back in the game somewhat, and match Ballarat on the inside. Canberra were able to narrow the Miners lead to only 3 points at the main break, 48 – 45.

During the third the Miners saw Ash Constable and Sam Short making the most of their offensive opportunities, and their passing around the perimeter was excellent and resulted in some great baskets. The pressure was increased during the third quarter, with the lead changing a number of times, however the Miners managed to not let Canberra run away with it. Very late in the third, Ollie Bailey was able to push Ballarat out to a 6 point lead, after Indiana Faithfull committed an unsportsmanlike foul, upon Bailey as he made his way to the basket. At the final break for the season, the Miners held their lead, 73 – 68.

The final quarter was opened with Hunter knocking down a long 2 and the Miners combining well on offense to quickly extend their lead to 10 points. Short and Constable again combined well to extend the Miners lead and assisted by the intensity on the defensive end from Moller, Ballarat were able to finish the season off with a win. The Miners defeated Canberra by 19, 105 – 86.

Head Coach Eric Hayes was thrilled with a win to end their season, such a hard fought win, he was very proud of his side’s effort. He noted that they played smart basketball and implemented a lot of things that they work on off the court.

Hayes saw the advantage the Miners had with their big players, and that was evident during the game, with Ballarat having 62 of their points in the paint, Hayes thought that Ballarat’s talls were just too big and strong for Canberra on the day.

Using size to the Miners advantage was evident with the rebounding, Craig Moller had 16 boards, and there were 3 other players in the double figures, Hayes thought that with the Miners height advantage they should have killed it on the boards, and so he was impressed that this came to fruition.

Over the last few weeks of the season Hayes has noticed that the team has been playing better together, and trusting in each other more on the court and he was excited that the Miners were able to finish off the season making good use of the talented players that they have on their list.

While disappointing to finish the season off without the return of Roy Booker, Chris Smith or Dyson King-Hawea, Hayes was happy that he was able to give the likes of Ross Weightman and Tristan Fisher a run, and especially happy that Fisher was able to convert, and get a big score on the board.

Ollie Bailey was able to finish off his impressive season for the GMHBA Ballarat Miners as MVP, being awarded the Ray Borner Miners MVP award by Coach Hayes at the Basketball Ballarat Presentation night Sunday, Ollie was humbled by the award, and thanked his team, the coaching staff and the staff of Basketball Ballarat. Co-captain Ash Constable was rewarded with the Brian Goorjian Miners Coach’s Award, as a result of the effort and sportsmanship Constable conveys on and off the court.