The Youth League Ballarat Miners faced off against a tough Melbourne Tigers line-up on the big stage – Saturday night at the MARS® MINERDOME.
Desperately needing a win to open their account for this season, the Miners were hoping for a strong performance. The Tigers, however, had other ideas as they quickly went on a 10-0 run after the tip.
Returning from a hamstring injury, Ballarat star Jack Sullivan showed no ill-effects in the early going, connecting on the Miners’ first basket.
Young gun Sam Short was prolific in the first term, Scoring 8 of Ballarat’s first 10 points and keeping the home side in it.
Melbourne were unrelenting on defense, playing a physical full-court press. Despite seemingly getting away with numerous hand-checks, the Tigers suffocated the Miners’ offense.
Ballarat looked most dangerous when pushing the ball in transition after forcing misses and turnovers on the defensive end.
Sam Byron set the tone for the Miners on D, providing an anchor down low. He recorded 2 emphatic blocks in the space of a few seconds in the second period, bringing the bench to their feet.
A 14-2 offensive rebound disparity in favour of Melbourne at halftime told the story, as Ballarat struggled to stop the visitors from getting second and third shot opportunities.
The third stanza was a disaster for the Miners, as Melbourne oustcored them 30-1 in the term and the visitors’ lead ballooned.
Josh Peters was a shining light for Ballarat, providing excellent hustle on the boards and defense in the fourth quarter.
The final buzzer mercifully sounded and the Miners fell short again, 46-93.
Sam Short led Ballarat with 18 points, Jack Sullivan notched 12 points, while Josh Peters tallied 9 rebounds.