THE Ballarat Miners were pipped at the post in the dying seconds against the Albury Wodonga Bandits on Saturday night in their third consecutive loss, going down 88-87.
Coming off the back of a humbling defeat at the Geelong Supercats last Saturday, the Miners were looking to make amends. Neither side was able to create a buffer in the opening term, heading into the first break tied at 25 a piece.
The Miners came out firing in the second quarter, with big man Ollie Bailey getting busy in the paint en route to 25 points for the match. However the Bandits refused to go away, with Greg Mays landing two consecutive dunks to put the visitors within one point of the Miners at the change of ends.
Albury Wodonga hit the ground running after the break, with Claybin McMath leading the charge as the Bandits wrestled back the lead in the opening minutes.
However it was crowd favourite Roy Booker who came to the rescue for the Miners, hitting eight points in a row including two from three point range to put Ballarat back on top. Some fancy passing from the point guard helped to free up the likes of Bailey and James Hunter as the Miners took a healthy seven point lead into the final quarter.
After going down by one point to Mount Gambier on Friday night, the Bandits looked determined to not let another tight match slip. Clutch efforts from the likes of Deba George allowed the Bandits to hit the front with five minutes remaining.
Again it was Booker and Bailey forcing the issue for the hosts in the final minutes, as the slender lead switched between the two sides. With the Miners up by a single point in the last 10 seconds of the match, the Bandits managed to make one last charge, with a tip-in enough to put the visitors over the line.
The loss could potentially see the Miners fall out of the east conference top four. They will be hoping to take the points on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Frankston to face the Blues.
Meanwhile, the Ballarat Rush powered past Albury Wodonga 108-67 to register their third win on the trot in co-captain Kristy Rinaldi’s 250th outing for the club.
The visitors were no match for the in-form Ballarat outfit, as the Rush stormed to a 21 point lead at quarter time, which was extended by eight points going into the change of ends.
Kerryn Harrington was virtually unstoppable for the hosts, scoring 31 points including five three-pointers in just 26 minutes.
Joy Burke was again pivotal for the Rush, scoring 24 points while amassing six rebounds.
The Rush will have the chance to make it four in a row when they take on the Lady Blues on Sunday.
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