An undermanned Youth League Ballarat Miners side attempted to do the impossible against the undefeated Kilsyth Cobras on Sunday afternoon at the MARS® MINERDOME.
The Miners, without four regular starters; Sean Massey, Ash Constable, Jack Sullivan and Brady Neill due to SEABL commitments in Brisbane, faced an incredibly difficult task of keeping up with the tall and athletic league pace-setters, Kilsyth.
From the opening tip, the Cobras stamped their authority on the game with suffocating defense and spectacular offense. Kilsyth developed momentum, and a big lead in the early going until Miners point guard Daniel Skaer responded with an emphatic deep three-pointer, and three-point play conversation on back-to-back possessions.
The Cobras, after taking a timeout to try and reverse momentum in their favour, then went on a devastating run which we would become accustomed to seeing by the end of the contest, to close out the quarter with a double digit lead.
The second period was a forgettable one for the home side, with Skaer resting on the bench for the majority of the term, the young Miners looked rattled by the intensity and ferocity of the Cobras defense.
Giving up just four points in the second quarter, Kilsyth’s suffocating defense also kicked-started their fast break offense, as they turned Ballarat turnovers into swift layups and crowd-igniting dunks.
Despite the game looking all but over at the start of the second half, the Miners went back to basics and looked for positives to not only gain experience going forward, but give some respectability to the scoreboard.
Ever-energetic big man Sam Byron was an anchor for the Miners’ defense in the second half. Playing with four fouls, Byron played fundamentally-sound defense without fouling, and offered up great post play throughout the half.
Daniel Skaer proved to be the shining light for Ballarat as he again caught fire midway through the third quarter. Drilling cold-blooded three-pointers and netting seemingly impossible acrobatic layups, Skaer showed the confidence and poise that puts him in good stead for a breakout 2014 season.
The Miners began moving the ball freely in the final term, however the Cobras were too well-drilled as they went on to close the game out comfortably, 101-41.
Skaer notched an impressive 16 points for Ballarat in defeat, while Kilsyth boasted six players scoring in double figures, led by Adrian Tomada with a game-high 17.