A WOUNDED and battered Bathurst Goldminers couldn’t defy the odds in their last round of men’s Waratah Youth League division two action as their season came to a disappointing end over the weekend.
Crucial missed baskets in the final quarter cost the Goldminers in Saturday’s home game against Illawarra Hawks Red, leading to a heartbreaking 75-73 defeat that ended the Bathurst team’s finals hopes with one match still to play.
Goldminers were able to match it with the Hawks all game but with Illawarra’s defence taking Will Cranston-Lown out of the contest and a returning Matt Gray still carrying jet lag it was always going to be a tough ask.
Only five fully-fit ’Miners players made the trip to Sunday’s game against the St George Saints at Minto.
The Saints – still playing for a finals spot of their own – crushed the Goldminers 106-55 as Liam Angelis channelled his inner Steph Curry to rain 13 three pointers on the Bathurst men.
“We threw everything at them but missing Kobe [Mansell], Zak [Simons] and Ben [Matthews] really hurt us,” Goldminers coach Andrew Osborn said of the Hawks game, referencing the Country Championship League finals which coincided with the round.
“Illawarra was the game we had to win. Unfortunately we missed those crucial shots at the end.”
Goldminers held a 38-34 lead at half-time but Hawks took control of the game in the next quarter.
The game levelled out midway through the last quarter but Hawks held their nerve when it mattered most.
Against the Saints on Sunday, with no fit reserves, the Goldminers were never in the contest.
“With the five we had and with the way they were feeling it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that St George were going to win,”
“[Angelis] shot the lights out and the coach said to me afterwards that’s the best his entire side have shot all season.
“You could see from the time they were warming up that they had turned up ready to play.
“It’s disappointing that our season ended that way. If I could have fielded the side that I had against Shoalhaven all season then we would have been in the playoffs.
“In this season we’ve beaten teams like Shoalhaven and Comets, who have made playoffs. We knew Matt was leaving and that Will was going to be out across July. Those two things, coupled with the CCL, just made things that much harder for us.”