The Youth League Ballarat Miners returned to the MARS ® MINERDOME after the Easter break in front of a bolstered crowd due to the SEABL double-header on Saturday night. The Miners looked to notch their first win of season 2014 against the fourth-placed Frankston Blues.
Offensively, the game began very slowly, with both squads locking down on defense. The Blues struck first blood, eventually getting the lid off their basket after ripping down a number of offensive rebounds and going up for second and third shot opportunities.
Frankston closed out a tight first period by connecting on back-to-back triples, and taking a six-point advantage into the second term.
Ballarat young gun Sam Short provided an immediate impact off the bench late in the first and throughout the second quarter. Short delivered quick offense while shooting a high clip, and alongside Brady Neill, led a Miners’ resurgence.
Neill began consistently scoring inside and outside, while Ballarat’s Josh Peters also chimed in with six quick points and good hustle off the bench in limited first half minutes.
The large Minerdome crowd were ecstatic, as the Miners went on to close out the first half with a six-point buffer. Brady Neill was outstanding in the first half, tallying 14 points.
The visitors bounced back with a 4-0 run after the main change, however the Miners’ Sam Short again hit back as the game began to get more physical.
The third period saw numerous lead changes and ties, as the Ballarat crowd was treated to an outstanding spectacle of basketball.
Brady Neill capped off an outstanding quarter and game, by knocking down a cold-blooded three-pointer at the three quarter time buzzer and breaking the deadlock to give the home squad the lead headed into the fourth.
The fourth quarter was tight again, however as time began to run short, the game began slipping away from Ballarat despite grasping momentum at the end of the third term.
Frankston’s Nathaniel Abeyaratne led the charge for the visitors, scoring well in the final minutes. The Miners’ Tyler Constable continued to control the tempo of the game with his ball handling and playmaking. Despite Constable pouring in an impressive 13 points, the Miners’ first victory continued to elude them as they fall short, 79-73.