The scoreboard didn't provide much in the way of excitement, but if Friday's NBL preseason clash proved anything other than Melbourne's championship credentials, it was that Ballarat is capable of hosting marquee sporting events.
A near sell-out crowd turned out to watch Melbourne United take-on the Illawarra Hawks at the new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre on Friday evening. And despite the 41-point scoreline, the game didn't disappoint.
Melbourne United enjoyed the city's $29-million addition by christening centre court with 111 points.
The new rings weren't as kind to the Hawks, who only managed 70 points for the contest, but their star attraction LaMelo Ball impressed all the same.
The teenage sensation had fans out of their seats before the game, with an aerial display of breathtaking dunks during warm-ups.
He showcased his range from beyond the three-point arc once the match begun, further delighting fans who stood with cameras at the ready.
WATCH: LAMELO BALL SCORES 14 POINTS AGAINST MELBOURNE UNITED IN BALLARAT
Chants of 'We want Ball' could be heard from the stands, but he alone wasn't enough to rescue the Hawks from the second-half demolition that befell Illawarra.
Luckily the other main attraction - Ballarat's own Sam Short - provided plenty to cheer about at the Melbourne end of the court.
The Ballarat Miner tallied eleven points, including three made three-pointers in 17 minutes of action. He was one of six Melbourne players to record double figures. The game-high came from three-time NBL champion Casey Prather with 32.
Short expressed his excitement after the match, praising the new facility.
"It was a great atmosphere in here, it was the first time a professional team has played in the new centre and we pretty much sold it out," he said.
"Every time a shot went in it felt like there was a lot of energy, so it was really exciting.
"A few of the guys said it was really nice, which is a testament from the council and Ballarat to put something together that professional guys from all over the world can recognise as a great stadium."
After missing his first shot on a drive, Short went on to make three of his next four and had a hand in a thunderous first-half dunk from Prather.
He said it was great to put on a show in his hometown.
"I was feeling good, I was focusing on being aggressive when it was my time to shoot, I've got to do that. It was nice to see a few go down tonight," he said.
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