SITTING in fourth at the halfway point of the Basketball NSW Division Two Youth Men’s season is a solid position for the Bathurst Goldminers, but now it is time to build on that.
This Saturday night the Bathurst outfit will be playing for third place on the ladder when hosting the Moss Vale Magic.
Magic has only lost once in seven games so far this season to sit second, while the Andrew Osborn coached Goldminers has a seven and two record to be fourth.
With the two other sides in the top four – Saint George and Sydney Comets – meeting at the same evening at Alexandria, and the fifth placed Newcastle Hunters expected to account for the struggling Hills, this round could see a big reshuffle of the ladder.
Hence the importance of a Bathurst victory.
“From our perspective, this is a must win game for us. We really need to know now where we stand in relation to these better sides, Moss Vale being one of those,” Osborn said.
Of the two losses Bathurst has suffered, one came at the hands of Moss Vale as the Goldminers went down 82-77 away from home.
But foul trouble saw the Goldminers outfit – which was already below full strength - reduced to just three players in the final moments of the last quarter. Had that not happened, the result could have been different.
“I did not have my full strength side because there was a round of the Western Junior League on, therefore I was missing guys like Will [Cranston-Lown] and Kobe [Mansell] and they hurt because they’re quality players who are two of the starting guards,” Osborn said.
“But by the same token, the side that was there did a good job, we only lost by five. When you finish the game with three players on the court in the last minute, there’s the five points.
“There were 73 fouls in that game – it was just insane. They had four guys foul out, we had five, it was the sort of game where the referees were the focus, not the players.”
This Saturday Zac Simmons will be missing from the Goldminers line up due to an under 16s state camp, but Blake Schaefer will return from an ankle complaint and Cranston-Lown has recovered from a groin injury.
Osborn is happy to have that pair back as his Goldminers face a stern challenge against a “very well skilled and physical side.”
“Now, having played them once, we know they certainly have three, if not four, outstanding players. If we give them the slightest look, then we are going to be in trouble,” he said.
“Our focus has to be on ensuring we do all that we’ve been doing in the past few games a little bit better. If we can do that, then I’m confident I’ve got the side on Saturday to beat Moss Vale.
“Their heads are in the right place, they all want revenge for what happened and if we can win that game, then we know that we can match it with the top sides.”
Saturday’s match will tip-off at 6pm at the Bathurst Indoor Stadium.