THIS is a final chance for Ballarat Miners and Rush to build on momentum at home.
For Integra Rush, facing Canberra is about testing and setting benchmarks for where to pick up next season in the South East Australian Basketball League.
Rush is vying to close the season as the best team outside finals, possibly by one game, in the league’s east conference and that means it needs a win on Saturday night at the MARS Minerdome.
For the GMHBA Miners, facing Canberra is about finals.
They are two games out of the play-offs and will not budge from fourth spot in the SEABL east ranks.
There is still an assignment against Geelong but this game against the Gunners is Miners’ last chance to draw on home-crowd support.
They will step out again without star import Ken Horton - he is sidelined with a thumb injury and Ballarat Basketball Club elite teams manager Jimmy Hunt says Horton remains a 50-50 chance to play Geelong next week.
But the Miners have proven they are more than a one-man show. They did so post-Roy Booker, and when Horton was missing last week all Miners stepped up to secure an important double-header victory.
Nathan Sobey was the stand-out, earning SEABL player of the week honours with 28 points, 10 rebounds against both Knox and Kilsyth.
American Dyricus Edwards is valuable in the offence. Edwards averaged 21.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the two games last week.
Miners’ big man Chris Smith stepped up and helped shoulder Horton’s load near the post in his absence.
Guard Anthony Fisher steps out this week as a newly signed Perth Wildcats development player and will join the National Basketball League club for training from Sunday.
The Gunners will sport a familiar face in former Miner Daniel Joyce who, while quiet in a round-nine meeting against his old team, has become a key player.
Joyce had a 29-point game against Sandringham last month and arrives at the Minerdome off a match-winning buzzer beater last week.