WHEN it all became about pride, Ballarat Miners turned on a sharp, fast, exciting performance with flair.
Making play-offs was always going to be a tough equation but the Miners did everything right to keep their chances alive.
In the end, they were ranked fifth, losing out in a five-way tie for spots two to six in the South East Australian Basketball League’s south conference.
The Ballarat Holden Miners won seven out of the past eight matches and knocked off three of the league’s top clubs in the past fortnight.
They finish the season with 16 wins, 12 losses and outweigh the south’s second-placed Albury-Wodonga in percentage.
But rankings in the five-way tie came down to head-to-heads and that is where the Miners just miss out.
SEABL notified them of this on Saturday night, moments after their 14-point win against east conference heavy Dandenong on the road.
Sitting court-side at the Minerdome after yesterday’s 14-point win against Frankston, Miners coach Guy Molloy said he could not be any prouder of his players this season.
“Our strength is the fantastic end to the year, beating four finals teams,” Molloy said.
“It’s a shame there was a five-way tie for second spot but we’re playing good enough to be the second best team in the competition right now.
“I’m also led to understand this is the Miners’ best winning season in six years.
“We’ve got a lot of work to rebuild.”
The Miners had an interrupted season start with two imports walking and a string of major injuries. Amid it all, they poured more minutes into youngsters Anthony Fisher and Lindsay Cole and Molloy will continue to look to blood more Ballarat youngsters next season to keep re-engaging the city’s juniors and the wider community.
The weekend’s double wins emphasised the basis of the Miners’ game: strong defence, holding Frankston to 55 points and Dandenong to 59; and, a good scoring spread in a running offence with three players scoring in double-figures on Saturday night and another four on Sunday.
• BALLARAT Rush failed to fire in its season finale at the Minerdome yesterday.
Auslec Rush, ruled out of finals contention last week, fell four points short to bottom-ranked east conference team Frankston.
This follows a one-point loss to east leader Dandenong on the road Saturday night, in which Rush scored just two points in the final term.
Nat Taylor and captain Kate Willey again carried the Rush campaign across the weekend.
Taylor was hard for Dandenong to contain and made a double-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, but was relatively quieter yesterday with 12 points.
Willey, with 16 rebounds against the Rangers, topped Rush scoring against Frankston with 16 points, six rebounds.
Basic errors, turnovers and frustration got the better of Rush before home crowds yesterday.
Field goal accuracy dropped to 25 per cent and Rush struggled to find momentum as the Lady Blues seized their chances.
Lady Blues’ centre Heather Bowman was the most imposing with 19 points, 12 rebounds.