THRIFTY ROAD GAME PREVIEW
The GMHBA Ballarat Miners travel to the Geelong Arena to take on the Geelong Supercats this Saturday night from 8pm, and with a lot at stake for both teams, this contest has the potential to be one of the most thrilling of the season. Having the momentum at this stage of the season is important, and in what is potentially a preview of the East Conference first round finals match-up, a win for either team could do well to establish who has the upper hand heading into finals.
The first meeting between the Miners and the Supercats was an all-out battle that resulted in a two-point overtime loss for the Miners, 95-97. Despite fighting back from a 16-point deficit in the first quarter to head into halftime up by two, a subpar fourth quarter followed by the early exit of Roy Booker with an Achilles injury contributed to the Miners’ downfall.
Since the Round 12 loss to the Supercats, the Miners have been playing extraordinary basketball, receiving numerous awards and accolades along the way. With Ken Horton receiving back-to-back Player of the Week honours—as well as a Player of the Month award—Nathan Sobey receiving recognition as Player of the Week, and the squad as a whole proving themselves as a powerhouse within the league, the Miners are starting to peak at the best time. As strong form is important heading into the postseason, the Miners will be eager to get over the line against the Supercats this Saturday night.
Geelong, sitting third on the ladder with an impressive 18-7 record, could move up as high as second place with a win against the Miners Saturday night. The Supercats also lost a key player in Mike Mercer when they came to Ballarat in Round 12, and although have lost a bit of form since his exit, they still prove week in and week out why they deserve to be considered top-contenders in the East Conference.
With Anthony Fisher out for this week’s contest due to NBL commitments, and Ken Horton out due to a fractured thumb, role players for the Miners will have to step up if the Miners have any chance at victory on Saturday. Sobey, coming off a recent Player of the Week award for his performance in Round 18, will most likely lead the charge. Averaging 17 points and five rebounds a game, he will be expected to be the forefront of the Miners’ offence. Dyricus Edwards will also be heavily relied upon this weekend, as his average of 17 points and four assists a game has also been crucial in getting the Miners over the line on numerous occasions.
With big men Chris Smith and captain Liam Gibcus coming off of huge Round 19 games against Canberra (Smith with 10 points, 12 rebounds; Gibcus with 19 points, 10 rebounds), their dominance and physicality in the post will be essential in containing Geelong centre Eric Gaff, who is averaging a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds each game. Ash Constable has really stepped his game for the Miners as well, coming off a fantastic performance against Canberra where he racked up 10 points and three assists in 20 minutes of play.
It will be an intense match and a fight to the finish, but the Ballarat Miners have what it takes to come out on top. Support your Miners by getting down to the Geelong Arena Saturday evening, or following them live from 8pm at seabl.com.au/livestats.
Thank you to Thrifty Ballarat for supplying all our travel needs.