FORCED into a chase from the outset, Ballarat Miners failed to catch Sandringham.
A 13-point loss to the Sabres is the GMHBA Miners second consecutive defeat – a run they must turnaround, and soon, with four matches in three weeks’ to play before South East Australian Basketball League finals.
The Sabres built a 10-point lead by quarter-time and proved a buffer the Miners could not break, despite twice reeling the margin back to six points early in the second term.
Miners’ star Ken Horton reliably chalked up another double-double – Miners fans now expect nothing less – with 24 points and 15 rebounds against the Sabres.
Sabres’ big man Rayshawn Goins and import Junior Hairston hurt the Miners with their sharp shooting last month and made sure they created a solid impact again.
Goins put up 21 points, 11 rebounds while Hairston made 16 points, 16 rebounds while teammate Ben Kelly scored 20 points off the bench.
Miner Nathan Sobey offered Horton sound scoring support with 19 points and while the Miners matched the Sabres in close quarters after the opening term, that early Sabres break made the difference.
The Miners must prepare for a tough double-header next weekend, travelling to meet east conference rival Knox on Saturday night before hosting south finals contender Kilsyth at the MARS Minerdome on Sunday.
Knox beat Sandringham by 15 points on the back of the Sabres’ clash with the Miners, while Kilsyth finished the weekend with a win against the traditionally tough Geelong.
Ballarat Rush had a bye and will return to action against Knox and Kilsyth.