The Youth League Ballarat Miners, coming off a loss to Bulleen at home last Saturday Night, took on the Eltham
Wildcats at the MARS® MINERDOME on Sunday.
A physical opening few minutes resulted in a low scoring first period. Both teams played stellar defense in the early
going, forcing turnovers and tough shots.
Miners star Sean Massey capped off the opening term by nailing a fading deep two-pointer to give Ballarat momentum and bring them within two at the break.
The second term was a showcase of offensive talent as both teams began consistently connecting on field goals most
trips down the floor.
Eltham began the second quarter well, but a 9-3 Wildcats run was halted by an acrobatic three-point play from Massey.
This brought the bench and the crowd into action and sparked the Miners’ offense as they snatched the lead late in the half.
Brady Neill got going as the first half neared conclusion, while the Miners were also bolstered by the hustle and defense off the bench from Jarrod Parsons.
Eltham carried a narrow one-point lead into the start of the second half. However this narrow buffer ballooned into a
double-digit margin on the back of four third quarter three-pointers from Wildcats’ captain Brayden Lewis.
Shell-shocked by the sudden barrage of shooting, the Miners’ looked to regroup and address the eleven-point deficit
they faced heading into the final period.
Back-to-back Miners three-pointers from Sean Massey and Brady Neill to start the fourth gave the home side some signs of life.
Eltham continued to hold their slight edge as time began running short. However swiftly after re-inserting Ash
Constable into the ball game, Ballarat looked to take it up a gear.
Constable came up with a huge steal down the stretch and fed Massey for a layup to bring the Miners back within two
As he had done so throughout the second half, Eltham’s Brayden Lewis stepped up to the occasion and connected on a steadying three-pointer for the Wildcats.
After calmly netting their free-throws under pressure, the Wildcats looked to be home. However, Sean Massey had
other ideas – knocking down a deep, off balanced three pointer to make it a one-possession ball game.
Following an intentional foul and Lewis going 1 for 2 at the line, Ash Constable stepped up and connected on a coldblooded three pointer to cut the lead to one.
After again fouling intentionally, the Miners had 3.1 seconds to get a shot off after Eltham’s free throws. Missing the
first, and after having the second one clank off back iron, Brady Neill was the first to the loose ball. Seemingly clotheslined, Neill lay motionless on the floor as the game concluded with no foul call.
Neill was stretchered to hospital with a suspected concussion, as the Eltham Wildcats claim victory, 73-72.
Sean Massey was instrumental for Ballarat in defeat, notching a near triple-double with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 8
assists. Brady Neil and Ash Constable were next best with 18 and 15 points apiece. Jack Sullivan also impressed,
tallying 12 points and ripping down 9 rebounds.
Brayden Lewis notched a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds for the visitors in their win.
Neill has since been cleared of any serious injury, suffering a slight concussion and soft tissue damage. He is not expected to miss any games.