THE KNIGHTS have charged to the top of the Ballarat Basketball Association men’s premier league ladder with victory by the narrowest of margins over Skin Ski & Surf last night.
In a tight match, where the margin was rarely more than two shots, NAB Knights held on to win 53-52 in a thriller at the Minerdome.
The Knights now have two wins from two matches, joining GJ Gardner Homes as the only undefeated teams on the Integra premier league ladder.
Shaun Bruce and Jared Scoines displayed excellent chemistry to give Skin Ski & Surf a good start and take an 8-6 lead into quarter time.
Bruce continued to make good passes for Skin Ski & Surf but his team’s conversion rate dropped. Knights were quick to pounce, and a Ryan Erkamps three-pointer stretched the lead to five. As soon as momentum was gained, however, Aaron Bartram gave up two quick fouls. Skin Ski & Surf fill-in player Billy Feben found a way into the game with a 10-foot jump shot.
Jarryd Watene threaded the needle to Phil Benn to put Knights up by two with just seconds left in the half, but Bruce put a mid-air around-the-back pass in Scoines’ hands, who finished truly to lock scores at 20 apiece at half time.
Knights showed improved chemistry in the third quarter to grab back the lead at three-quarter time, 35-34, thanks to eight Ryan Barnes points.
Knights dragged the margin out by six early in the final quarter. Scoines pulled Skin Ski & Surf to within two points with a pull-up jumper and a layup, but Knights kept finding answers.
Bruce took the reins for Skin Ski & Surf, nailing a three-pointer to get within three points in the final minute. His team was in foul trouble, though, and Chris Boadle was sent to the line three times late. Missing his first three attempts gave Skin Ski & Surf some hope but a missed Bruce three-point attempt allowed Knights to hold on.
Bruce led all scorers with 16 points for the game, and Joyce finished strongly in the last quarter to end up with 11 points for NAB.
In last night’s later match, GJ Gardner Homes 58 defeated Interline Wildcats 58-35. Nathan Cavanagh top-scored for Gardner with 20, while Cam McCallum was the Wildcats’ best with 13.
NAB Knights 53 (Dan Joyce 11) d Skin Ski Surf (Bruce 16)
GJ Gardner Homes 58 (Cavanagh 20) d Interline Wildcats (McCallum 13)
Wednesday, May 2
888 Poker League v GJ Gardner Homes, 7pm
Interline Roofing Wildcats v NAB Knights, 8.10pm