By Kasey Cornwell
The Ballarat Miners got a convincing win over last place Frankston on Sunday at the Minerdome, 99 – 76. Roy Booker was dominant with 25 points and Earnest Ross remarkable with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Ollie Bailey also worked hard finishing the game with 21 points and 5 boards. The Frankston Blues were lead by Bennie Lewis who shot 22 points.
Frankston opened the scoring for the game, and maintained the lead for the first 2 minutes of the quarter. The Miners however were strong under the basket and their reliable defence caused Frankston to turn the ball over. Offensively Ballarat were able to move the ball well and took great shots early. 7 from the squad scored in the first term, with Ollie Bailey leading the way with 8 points.
The second term saw Ballarat keep their intensity high on the court, and at the 6 minute mark saw James Hunter take his first steps on the Minerdome court. He had an immediate impact, setting strong screens and allowing Roy Booker the open shot. Booker then repaid the favour with a party trick pass behind his head, straight to Hunter under the basket for the easy 2. At the main break, the Miners had a 29 point lead, 59 – 30, with Roy Booker on a high 18 points. The first half had the Miners shooting the ball at 58% compared to Frankston’s 26%.
Within the third term, Frankston were able to adjust their defence to limit Ballarat’s outside scoring. However the Miners showed their flexibility by changing their game style seamlessly and moved their offences inside, to maintain a decent 22 point lead at the last break.
The fourth term saw the Miners unrelenting with their lead, keeping the pressure, and staying strong in the key. Ballarat continually pushed Frankston to the last few seconds of their shot clock and were able to keep them to a final score of 76.
Coach Eric Hayes can see that his team is getting used to each other and can understand each individual’s role within the team, and this is evident in how well the team can run their offences.
His side played really smart defence in the first half and Eric was impressed in how his team were able to make Frankston take the tough shots early. In the second half, Hayes thought his side’s defence was not as good and allowed Frankston some good looks to the basket. Something he wants to work on, is for the team to stay merciless and focused when they have a sizeable lead. Hayes noted that the Miners, despite having a 29 point lead at the half, lost the third quarter and narrowly won the last term. Hayes said that this is not how he wants his team to finish off matches, and that’s something he is going to work on with the team.
It is obvious that Eric Hayes is going to miss the athletic skills of Craig Moller, but is impressed with the inclusion of James Hunter. Despite arriving the day before the game, Hunter fitted into the lineup well and Hayes thought he looked pretty good out there on the court and is happy with his ability to run the floor, play above the rim and his physicality in the key.
The Ballarat Miners return to the Minerdome next Saturday night, 4 June 2016 to take on Hobart. Tip off at 8pm.