The Bathurst Goldminers have a home men’s Youth League finals appearance in their sights after a nail-biting one-point win over the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Spiders on Saturday night.
The Goldminers rallied late at the Bathurst Indoor Sports Stadium to claim a 63-62 win in the dying seconds.
Orange’s Kobe Mansell showed he’s got ice in his veins as he sunk three straight free throws to complete the come-from-behind victory.
Bathurst returned to the court on Sunday to take on competition leaders Newcastle, but the ’Miners were outclassed in a 95-69 result.
The Goldminers were without some of their strongest players, including Will Cranston-Lown and Orange guns Matt Gray and Zak Simons, but the group had their share of moments, despite the loss.
The mixed bag of results still leaves the Goldminers in an encouraging position.
The side can secure a home court advantage for week one of finals against Moss Vale Magic if it wins its last regular season game over the Sydney Uni Lions.
“We hit the opening basket of the game then we didn’t lead until the very end. We didn’t play well. We turned the ball over, struggled on defence but the guys kept at it,” he said.
“Even with 30 seconds to go I still felt that we could win the game.
“This was the game that we had to win, and now because Moss Vale lost to Manly on the weekend we only have to win our last game to get that home match.”
Goldminers were as much as 10 points down late in the third quarter but improved rapidly to see off the Spiders.
However, the depleted Goldminers side were no match for the competition leaders in the second leg of their home double header.
Hunters’ combination of size and skill were too much for the hosts from the opening minutes.
“They were too big, too strong and too good. To our guys’ credit they stuck with them, but when they ran out to a 17-0 lead at the start the game was effectively already over,” he said.
“We wanted to finish our season with an undefeated record at home, but … they just murdered us on the ball. Every time they got inside they scored. They had one seven foot player and another back from college in the US, but they didn’t have a bad player on that team.
“They’re the form team of the competition and will go into the finals as clear favourites, but when a team has all their players back and it’s finals time then it’s a completely different game.”
If the Goldminers win in the last round they will finish the season with a 13-6 record.
The Magic will also finish with the same record should they win their last two matches, but Bathurst will have a home court advantage due to the better head-to-head record.