The Under-18 Ballarat Miners were the second of three VJBL games at the MARS® MINERDOME on Friday night. The home squad faced off against the second-placed, league powerhouse Broadmeadows Broncos.
The two teams were incredibly evenly matched throughout the opening half, with neither squad able to establish a commanding lead.
Sam Short led the way for the Miners in the early going, grabbing rebounds, finishing strong at the rim through contact, and shooting the deep ball efficiently.
Ballarat’s Sam Gray was also a force on both the offensive and defensive boards throughout the contest, consistently ripping down tough rebounds in traffic.
Guard Bailey Guinea connected on a tough three-pointer at the end of the half to give the Miners a slight lead headed into the third term.
Daniel Skaer seemed to be getting going as the second half got underway, promptly nailing a three and orchestrating Ballarat’s offense with precision.
However the Miners’ offense began to struggle under the Broncos intense defensive pressure late in the third period. Ballarat committed some costly turnovers in the dying minutes.
A half court heave dropped right on the three-quarter time buzzer for Broadmeadows, giving the visitors a six-point buffer, and considerable momentum heading to the fourth and final quarter.
The Broncos held onto their advantage throughout the forth, playing unrelenting defense and executing well on offense.
Down 8 with under a minute to play, Skaer looked to get his squad back into the contest, nailing a timely clutch three-pointer to keep the Miners’ hopes alive.
Ballarat were forced to foul intentionally, and the Broncos calmly netted their free throws to ice the victory, 54-45.