SEABL: Miners suffer overtime heartbreak

KEN HORTON kept his Miners in this early, amid a Geelong opening blitz.

Ken Horton linked up with teammates to create key plays for Ballarat Miners to surge back in the second quarter, to stay on par right through  overtime.

Ultimately, it was Ken Horton left to try and pull off the GMHBA Miners' final clutch three-pointer and, just like his team all night, it was brave but cruelly shy of beating the South East Australian Basketball League powerhouse.

Geelong Supercats snatched a two-point win in the extra period at the Minerdome on Saturday night. 

This extends the Supercats' winning streak to nine games with just the one blemish on their record from 15 starts this season.

There was plenty of pre-game hype after the Miners' dominant May. The contest lived up to expectations and has fans keenly awaiting a rematch in the final home-and-away round on the Cats' court on August 16.

This match had everything and players gave everything - key Supercat Mike Mercer left the playing arena in a wheelchair while, more worrying for Miners' fans, Roy Booker's night was finished with an ankle injury with less than three minutes to play in the fourth term.

It was a big blow for the Miners with Booker their highest scorer (29 points, five assists) and a magical playmaker in decisive final moments.

There was more to the Miners' game than Horton too - he was the most consistent and the key stand-out until the Miners' found their rhythm late in the first quarter.

The Supercats piled on 14 points straight, including two three-pointers from captain Nathan Herbert, before the Miners made a dent on the scoreboard.

Horton was strong at the post, often winning rebounds against two Supercats' talls, and kept a steadying influence while the Miners scrambled to fight back from a 22-point deficit, six minutes into the opening quarter.

They worked their way back as Booker and Fisher started to work their way into the game more.

The Miners captured a two-point lead by half-time in a 28-10 second term and maintained a good buffer through the second half.

Supercat Nick Owusu struck first in overtime and the Miners had their scoring chances, only to fall tantalisingly close each time.

Statistically, the Miners matched this super team across the board, including time spent with the lead, but the only difference was tellingly in second chance points - the Supercats' more even rebounding spread suggests this is where they made their impact in 22 points to the Miners' eight.

Supercats fans were spruiking the game of their big man Eric Gaff, who had a 23-point and 13-rebound double-double.

Horton's was better with 25 points and 17 rebounds.

The Miners' big assignments keep coming with east conference finals contender Nunawading on the road Saturday night before returning to host Knox at the Minerdome on Sunday.


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