BALLARAT Miners is gearing up for a make or break three weeks of basketball as it looks to work its way into the top four of the east conference.
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We just have to win, that’s what it comes down too.- Ballarat Miners coach Eric Hayes
The east conference has a logjam of teams from third to sixth with three clubs on 10 wins and the Miners sitting sixth with a healthy percentage and nine wins.
It will face Mount Gambier, sitting second in the south conference, twice for the remainder of the season with the first of the two clashes coming this Friday as it travels to Bern Bruning Basketball Stadium before returning home to take on Melbourne on Sunday.
Ballarat play just one of the fellow clubs vying for the top-four spot in its last four matches – Canberra in round 19.
Making the equation a simple one according to coach Eric Hayes - all it can do is win its games and hope the other results fall their way.
“At the moment the important thing for us is just to win. We played poorly on the weekend, but we’re fortunate that all the teams we were competing against, they lost too,” Hayes said.
“So we’re still in the pack. But if we’re going to give ourselves a chance we’ve got to win some games.
“We just have to win, that’s what it comes down too. We play one team that’s in that pack, but the other teams are playing each other along the way so they’ll be knocking each other off. So if we win we’ll be in a pretty good position.”
Ballarat defeated Melbourne by 21 points earlier in the season but Hayes believes Sunday’s clash is far from an assured result given Melbourne has brought three quality players into its side since the round six meeting. While the Miners will be eager to find their form at the pointy end of the season, having lost four of the past five games.
The Miners have been dealt a blow with Roy Booker and Chris Smith unavailable for selection. Booker continues to struggle with a hip complaint and hasn’t been training. While Chris Smith hurt his ankle at training.
Ballarat Miners take on Mount Gambier at the Ice House at 8.00 on Friday. And host Melbourne at MARS Minerdrome at 2.00 on Sunday.
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