The Youth League Ballarat Miners, still looking for their first win of the season, took on the Nunawading Spectres at the MARS® MINERDOME on Sunday afternoon.
The Miners came out of the gates aggressive and eager to open their 2014 season win account. Ash Constable got the ball rolling for the home squad, connecting on a contested pull-up three-pointer shortly after tip-off.
The opening period was a contrast of styles – the Spectres worked hard to get the ball inside and draw fouls, while the Miners made field goal after field goal.
Guard Sean Massey checked into the contest midway through the first and had an immediate impact – nailing a tough pull-up in semi transition on his first offensive possession.
The chemistry between Massey and Constable was a pleasure to watch, as the pair linked up countless times throughout the first quarter.
After holding onto a slight lead at the end of one, the Miners continued their stellar play and went on a 7-0 run to start the second term.
This momentum was quickly quelled when the Spectres’ Michael West banked in a deep three-pointer and ignited the visitors’ own 11-0 run as they reclaimed the lead.
The Miners’ Jack Sullivan led the way on defense, providing an anchor down low and not allowing any easy looks for the visitors. Sullivan also had is way on the offensive glass, ripping down a multitude of tough rebounds and giving Ballarat second and third shot opportunities.
A hard fought first half saw Nunawading with carry a two-point lead to the main break.
The second half was a completely different story, as Miners’ big men Josh Mallett and Sam Byron were both in foul trouble.
The Spectres took advantage, getting good post position and either converting inside or forcing help and kicking it out on point to one of their many perimeter shooters.
A well-rounded offensive effort saw Nunawading open up a 14-point buffer at three quarter time, with four players in double digits for scoring.
While the Spectres carried this double digit lead throughout the final period, the game always looked within the Miners’ reach.
Brady Neill began stepping up offensively, scoring well and creating shots for others.
However it wasn’t enough as Nunawading capped off a good team performance by connecting on a three-quarter-court heave at the final buzzer to take victory, 85-71.
Sean Massey had a good all round game with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, while Ash Constable dropped 16 points and 4 assists. Jack Sullivan recorded an impressive 15 rebounds in the loss.