A DRAMATIC 21-point turnaround after half time has seen Skin Ski & Surf crowned the Ballarat Basketball Association premier league’s first champion.
Trailing by 10 points at the main change, Skin Ski & Surf scored 22 points to minor premier NAB Knights’ one in the third quarter, on the way to a remarkable 57-51 victory in last night’s Integra premier league grand final at the Minerdome.
That mirrored Skin Ski & Surf’s season, the victors having been bottom two in the five team competition just weeks before.
It was Ballarat Miner Shaun Bruce and veteran Eric Hayes who set Skin Ski & Surf alight in an extraordinary 10 minute blitz that stunned Knights.
“I guess it was a game of two different halves,” Bruce said.
“It (the third quarter revival) was about looking after the ball, maintaining possession and not giving it up. In the first half it was very sloppy.”
Skin Ski & Surf was first to score in the match, with an Eric Hayes three-pointer but Knights’ Daniel Joyce and Ryan Barnes had the better of the first quarter.
Knights stretched the margin into double figures in the second quarter, with Joyce scoring for 14 points in the first half. Phil Benn and Corey Collier dominated under the basket for a combined 12 first half points, while Ryan Erkamps hit two shots from long range.
The third term was one-way traffic as Brett Downey and co shut down almost every Knights attempt to score, and Bruce and Hayes bamboozled their opponents.
Benn and Ryan Barnes led the Knights as they attempted a comeback, but even two Daniel Joyce dunks weren’t enough to bring them back into the game. Bruce, who won the premier league’s inaugural MVP award, led all scorers with 20 points while Joyce followed with 18. Hayes was also outstanding with 17.
“We’ve had an up and down season and we’ve had to have a number of fill-ins,” Downey said. “Our games revolved around Shaun Bruce who has lit it up in the last few weeks.”
Skin Ski & Surf 16 27 49 (57) d NAB Knights 20 37 38 (51)