Miners dig into top four with upset win

THE Ballarat Miners have taken a big step in their journey towards a top four spot in the Victorian Junior Basketball League (VJBL) Under 18 Boys competition after taking down the Nunawading Spectres at Nunawading Basketball Centre on Friday night.

The Miners came into the game needing an upset win over the in-form Spectres to keep in touch with fourth spot, given Sandringham also has claims to that position come season’s end. Nunawading had lost just the one game in the VC Championship portion of the season, and was looking tough to stop. However, Ballarat delivered one of its best offensive showings of 2022, and managed to sneak past the opposition to claim a 72-66 win that was set up by a blistering start from the visiting side.

The game was essentially decided by the fast-starting performance from the Miners in the opening quarter of play. Ballarat outscored the opposition 27-15 in the first 10 minutes of play and took a commanding lead into the first break of play. The Spectres bounced back in the second term to reduce the margin to six points in the second term, and looked in danger of overwhelming the Miners, as they had done to so many sides throughout the year.

However, the final two quarters of play saw the two sides unable to be split, and Nunawading could not make up the required ground. In the end, the teams both produced 32 points apiece, and the half time margin remained unaffected as the Miners fought their way to one of their most impressive results of the season.

Ballarat’s win was set up by the efforts of duo Nicholas Robinson and Ned Renfree, with the pair hitting the scoreboard in a big way. It was one of Robinson’s strongest outings of season 2022, as he worked his way to a game-high points total of 25 and kept the offence rolling throughout the game for the Miners. Renfree has been Ballarat’s best offensive player all season, and showed no signs of slowing down on the eve of finals with yet another 20-point showing as he played a crucial role in the triumph.

Tiernan Stynes was at the forefront for the Spectres, with his 17 points the most of anyone on his side. Teammate Lucas Koch was well held for much of the contest, and found himself restricted to just nine points, which is well down on his season average of just under 16 points per game.

The result sees the Miners keep their placing in fourth spot, and with finals just one week away, are set up nicely to maintain this position, especially with a favourable matchup in the final round of the home and away fixture. On the other hand, Friday’s loss means the Spectres are now in danger of dropping to third spot on the eve of the postseason.

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