Miners find thrilling finish to rollercoaster match

Ballarat Miner Roy Booker takes a shot at goal at the MARS Minerdome on Saturday night.

Ballarat Miner Roy Booker takes a shot at goal at the MARS Minerdome on Saturday night.

A BOOMING alley-oop had Ballarat Miners fans on their feet roaring in overtime.

Roy Booker setting up Ken Horton at the post to take the game to a whole new level to secure a three-point win against Albury-Wodonga at the MARS Minerdome on Saturday night.

The finish was thrilling but it probably should not have reached that point in this South East Australian Basketball League clash.

GMHBA Miners had built a 17-point lead about four minutes into the fourth quarter – and the Bandits clawed back.

It was how the whole rollercoaster match had played out.

The Miners made a powerful start to sit 22-5 up midway through the first term only for the Bandits to make a late push in the three minutes to the break to be within nine points at quarter-time.

Little lapses – defensively and polishing off offensively – allowed the Bandits to keep working their way in.

Booker and Horton’s entertaining plays were supreme.

Drawing on crowd energy, Booker scored 41 points (eight in the overtime period and 19 to half-time), including nine three-pointers, and six assists.

Horton was just as influential with 30 points (seven in overtime) and 17 rebounds (12 in defence).

They found their match in Bandits’ star Jamar Briscoe leading the charge for the rivals with 32 points, 19 to half-time, but only four in the extra period.

Miners captain Liam Gibcus pulled in 11 rebounds while guard Ash Constable made a strong impact in the opening quarter and Anthony Fisher, running the point, was relentless.

But the Miners had forced themselves into a corner – all coming down to huge plays with less than a second on the clock to full time.

Booker sank a massive three-pointer clear of the arc with 0.06 seconds left, which Bandit Alex Opacic matched 0.03 seconds later to level scores on the buzzer.

A controversial foul called on Anthony Fisher in the dying second of overtime let the Bandits move within one point from the free throw line.

Booker, given a free throw chance a split second later, sealed the win making the Minerdome the Miners’ fortress once more.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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