BATHURST Goldminers’ Waratah Youth League team took almost two minutes to switch into game mode against the Shoalhaven Tigers on Saturday.
That lapse in concentration would prove the difference as the Goldminers went down 97-85 to the still undefeated Tigers.
Goldminers were down 10-0 in little time against the hosts and the Bathurst men would spend the rest of the match playing catch up.
Little could separate the clubs in the quality of their basketball but the sluggish start came back to bite Andrew Osborn’s team.
“They came out and hit us with everything they had. That unsettled us. A couple of mistakes, turnovers and fouls and we were suddenly down 10-0,” the Goldminers coach said.
“I called the timeout and from then on in the game just see-sawed. We’d get back within five or six, they’d pull away then we’d hit back again.
“We knew we could expect a lot of pressure from the word go. Against a side like Shoalhaven you can’t play catch up basketball for the rest of the game, and that’s what we ended up doing.”
The score was 24-13 to the Tigers at the end of the first quarter but in a strong run to start the second period Goldminers scored the first nine points.
Tigers regained their composure to extend their lead back out to 50-38 at the main break.
For every run of baskets the Goldminers produced their opponents were able to respond in kind.
Matt Gray finished with a game-high 33 points for the Goldminers. He knows more than 100 points for the season just four games into Bathurst’s campaign.
Tigers’ Riley O’Shannessy ended his match with 29 points to lead the way for the hosts.
Tigers maintained their lead to go six from six and stay on top of the table. Goldminers have now moved to a 2-2 record to start their year.
“They showed that they're a quality basketball side. They’re coached by a very experienced and highly qualified guy who knows his stuff. He’s coached teams at the Australian Championships,” Osborn said.
“Overall they were probably more skilled and better prepared than what we were. However, it was their sixth game and only our fourth so there’s lots of improvement we can make in several areas.
“I know what we need to work on in order to be prepared for our double header next weekend.”
Goldminers will get an opportunity to move back above a .500 record when they play the Hills Hornets and Moss Vale Magic.
Hornets are expected to be a tough test, boasting a 5-2 record, and the Magic are right on Bathurst’s tail with a 2-3 record.
It won’t be until the weekend after that the Goldminers finally return to their home court.