THEY took a while to find their groove but once the Bathurst Goldminers began to click there was no way the St George Saints were stopping them in Sunday’s meeting.
Goldminers secured a spot in the upcoming Waratah League finals weekend thanks to a dominant third quarter of basketball, running out 100-79 winners at home over the Saints.
After a shaky start from both sides the Goldminers started to pull clear late in the second quarter to take a 49-38 lead into half-time.
When the Goldminers returned to the court they put the Saints to the sword.
A mix of offensive boards, smooth passing and superior defence all allowed the Bathurst squad to run away with the match and book a semi-final meeting this Saturday against the Illawarra Hawks.
“The second and third quarters were the good ones. The first quarter the nerves really set in, even though they said they feeling confident and relaxed. You don’t in games like this. It takes a while to settle in and get a feel for the flow of the game,” Goldminers coach Andrew Osborn said.
“Once we got that the second and third quarters were where we started to stamp our authority on the game, and they had no answer to that.
“Offensively and defensively we were very good. A score like that is certainly going to send a message out. When you score 100 in an elimination semi-final other teams look at that and think ‘they must be doing something right’.”
Nerves were evident across both squads during a messy opening quarter.
Neither club were having any troubles driving the ball to the basket but they often couldn’t find the finish.
Baskets started to land for the Goldminers during the next quarter and the turnovers began to pile up for the visitors.
Goldminers were often able to find teammates in support during their drives to the basket, and their strong rebounding also went a long way towards ramping up the lead in the third term.
Zak Simons made a statement in his return to the Bathurst Goldminers after completing his duties with NSW Country.
Will Cranston-Lown threw up a pass towards the hoop and Simons was on hand to lay down an alley-oop slam.
From that point on any remaining signs of Goldminers nerves were gone, and the hosts shot out to a 76-52 lead at the final break.
The Saints clawed some of that margin back over the last quarter but the damage was already done.
Goldminers, like their women’s clubmates, will now travel to Maitland for the finals weekend.