An electric Peter Hooley put his stamp on the Ballarat Miners’ round six clash in the opening 10 minutes, with the captain’s 10 points and two assists a key part of an outstanding offensive effort.
But the Ballarat GMHBA Miners fired on both sides of the ball in the first quarter of Saturday night’s South East Australian Basketball League game against Sandringham, with a disciplined defence.
Yet the Sabres refused to be put to the sword, winning the second and fourth quarters at the Minerdome to cut back the Miners’ percentage-boosting 19-point lead to a closer 11-point victory.
Miners coach Nathan Cooper-Brown said the first quarter had set the standard of how the team wanted to play, but the focus was now on being able to maintain that level of basketball.
“Once we break out of our process and stop sharing the ball and start gambling on defence, that’s getting away from the way we get 29-15 quarters,” he said.
“Our poise game continues to be something we have to recognise and recognise it earlier and be more efficient.
“For us that is our half-court offence, so when our pace game isn’t working, it is how we are efficient and productive in the half court and that’s ball movement and player movement.”
While Cooper-Brown was disappointed the Miners had given up 22 offensive rebounds, he praised Hooley (eight assists and one turnover) and Sam Short (eight assists and two turnovers) on their offensive efficiency.
“Those guys are responsible for 16 or more points just by getting other people involved,” he said.
Cooper-Brown also noted the Miners’ youngest players’ performances in helping to fill in for the absence of Cam McCallum, with Ross Weightman playing hard, Tristan Fisher hitting the scoreboard and Amos Brooks holding his own.
“I love when those guys can contribute,” he said. “(Brooks) he has a big body, he loves his basketball and he loves our program, so any time we can reward him by getting him on the floor I think is fantastic and really great for our pathway.”