SEABL: Miners send clear message for finals

THEIR message was clear - Ballarat Miners are ready for finals. More than ready.

Miner Dyricus Edwards is in stellar form leading into SEABL finals. Photo: Justin Whitelock

Miner Dyricus Edwards is in stellar form leading into SEABL finals. Photo: Justin Whitelock

The GMHBA Miners pulled apart Canberra by 30 points in a final home game at the MARS Minerdome in South East Australian Basketball League competition on Saturday night.

They did so without star import Ken Horton and handy bench guard Sean Massey and the starting five, plus guard Ash Constable, all shot in double figures.

But the Miners have one more test.

Geelong Supercats in Geelong.

The Miners will finish fourth in the SEABL east conference. That was a guarantee they locked in a couple of weeks ago.

Conference rival Geelong's ranking for finals is still uncertain and there is the very real chance the Miners could face another road trip down the Midland Highway for the first week of play-offs.

It has almost been two months since their last meeting, a season-changing night for both clubs with Miner Roy Booker and Supercat Mike Mercer each sustaining Achilles injuries late in a game that went to an extra period.

Horton has since became the Miners headline act and is a chance to return to the floor next week.

He has been sidelined with a fractured thumb the past three games and the Miners adaptation has been remarkable.

Nathan Sobey picked up SEABL player of the week last round but, like on Saturday night, it has been a well-rounded team effort that claimed the win against Canberra.

American Dyricus Edwards was the Miners' top-scorer with 25 points, followed closely by newly-signed Perth Wildcat Anthony Fisher with 24 points, Sobey (21) and captain Liam Gibcus (19).

There were moments when the Miners could and should have been tighter. Canberra made a couple of scoring runs at the Miners - the third quarter was 24 points apiece - or the Miners would make a couple of unforced errors. The Gunners even had the Miners locked in a tight contest for the opening five minutes of play before the Miners stormed ahead.

But the Miners always looked in control and would quickly regroup to pull away.

The Miners' shooting accuracy was a stark contrast to the wayward Gunners, who really only had the one main scoring avenue in Garlon Green (35 points).

Even Garlon was nullified when the Miners piled on 28 points to 15 in the final term.

Gibcus (10 rebounds) and fellow tall Chris Smith (10 points, 12 rebounds) dominated the boards in a team collective 49 to the Gunners 28, leaving Miners fans excited at the prospect at just how Horton might bolster this rampant line-up for finals.