Miners pull off the near-impossible to claim Tasmanian double

Career best: Ballarat Miner Anthony Fisher scored a personal best 26 points against NW Tasmania during the Miners’ road-trip. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

Career best: Ballarat Miner Anthony Fisher scored a personal best 26 points against NW Tasmania during the Miners’ road-trip. PICTURE: KATE HEALY

CLUTCH shot star Roy Booker converted a massive three-point shot with 0.6 of a second on the clock to snatch victory for the Ballarat Miners.

The one-point win against North-West Tasmania capped off a stunning weekend for the GMHBA Miners in Tasmania, who twice fought back in big fourth-quarter comebacks to win.

It has sent alarm bells ringing in the South East Australian Basketball League.

The Tasmanian road-trip is formidable – the Miners started in Hobart on Friday night then drove to Ulverstone on Saturday – and visitors leaving the Apple Isle with the double is rare.

Let alone, how the Miners did so.

In a rollercoaster match, the Miners were 18-points down to NW Tasmania with fewer than six minutes to play and scored 24 points in the last five minutes to pull off the upset.

They had been 15 points down against Hobart a night earlier and clawed their way back with big shooting.

Miners coach David Flint, back in Victoria on Sunday, said the whole trip had been “unbelievable, seriously”.

“Our first game was good. Saturday night was better than that,” Flint said.

“It’s a shame our home fans couldn’t have seen both, they would have loved it.

“...We knew we had to at least split it this weekend, we had to win at least one of the two. Few teams win both.”

Fan favourite Booker shot 36 points against Thunder – 20 points in the first half, 14 in the fourth quarter.

He is the man you want to make the big play in the dying seconds, but the Miners’ super charge came via young gun Brady Neill, whose three-pointer sliced the late 18-point deficit to 15 and sparked up the team.

The Miners called time out with three minutes, 13 seconds to play, still 14 points down, and it was Ash Constable who hit two important shots (a three and a two) and point guard Anthony Fisher made a three-point play from a Ken Horton steal.

It was a big weekend for Fisher, who made a career-high 26 points against Thunder, including four three-pointers, to follow 20 points with five shots made from beyond the arc in Hobart.

Sean Massey made a huge play after half-time as control continued to see-saw and Ken Horton was rock solid against Thunder with 16 points and 12 rebounds, having battled the flu all week leading into the trip.

This is just the beginning.

The Miners have won their first three of eight games in May.

They host Mt Gambier at home on Saturday night and back it up on the road against Dandenong on Sunday – both league powerhouses.  They then play out the next four matches on the road.

It will be tough but the Miners welcome Nathan Sobey to the roster, fresh off a strong college campaign in the United States, and after Tasmania, have proven they can pull off the near-impossible.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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