With only two rounds left to play before finals, a raft of Ballan Brumbies sides were playing for their finals berths over the weekend.
Chief amongst them was the Under 16 Boys G (Blue) side, sitting in 4th place and facing a must win against 3rd placed Wildcats. This would be a genuine ‘styles makes fights’ contest, pitting Ballan’s speed and shooting against Wildcats bigs Angus and Hudson Le Marshall.
The match was slow to ignite as both teams seemed to be feeling each other out, neither seeming too keen on attacking the basket. Eventually Hudson Le Marshall got the opening basket, his brother scoring shortly after for Wildcats before Lachlan Prosser replied with a fast break pay up for Ballan.
It was the Brumbies that eventually found their groove about 10 minutes into the contest as Prosser, Jack Clark and Cruze Miller all connected from deep within a four minute span to put Ballan in the ascendancy. Wildcats were understandably focusing their attacks through the huge Hudson Le Marshall. Whilst he was able to connect inside on occasion, Ballan did a great job in stifling his usual efficiency. Between Miller, Prosser and Tom Machin, returning from a shoulder injury, harassing his dribble, Max Dickinson and Tom Koros also doing their best to match his physicality.
At the half, Ballan held a slender 15-12 lead.
Wildcats came out with an increased intensity after the break. They started to push out hard to Ballan’s shooters and though they conceded driving lanes, were content with letting the Brumbies contend with their size at the basket. Athletic Brumbies swingman Alex Bourke did his best to take advantage of the extra space inside, snaring a series of tough offensive boards against the bigger Wildcats, though his finishing left something to be desired.
The Wildcats fought back and they suddenly had the lead. Prosser and Miller for Ballan hit back to back three pointers that saw them take what looked an unassailable lead late in a low scoring game.
Once again, though, Wildcats made a push, with Ballan’s lead cut to two with under a minute to play.
A quick timeout from Brumbies coach Ryan Pearce saw his chargers refocus their defensive efforts. Despite Ballan turning the ball over, Bourke and Dickinson held firm inside to stop Wildcats from getting the tying bucket, as the Brumbies secured their finals ticket with a 27-25 win.
Under 10 Boys
Ballan E 2 lost Wildcats 60
Ballan B 16 lost Phoenix Tigers 18
Under 12 Boys
Ballan F 17 lost Saints Cavaliers 33
Ballan B 74 def Saints Clippers 38
Under 12 Girls
Ballan 24 def Drummo Dragons 15
Under 14 Boys
Ballan F 33 def Saints Hawks 20
Ballan E def Drummo Dragons
Ballan D 22 lost Saints Bulls 28
Ballan B 34 lost Saints Pacers 48
Under 14 Girls
Ballan E 20 def Excies Acmy 12
Ballan B 47 def Wildcats 36
Under 16 Boys
Ballan G White 43 def Drummo Dragons 18
Ballan G Blue 27 def Wildcats 25
Ballan D 29 def Phoenix Slingers 26
Ballan C 74 def Phoenix Warriors 41
Under 19 Boys
Ballan G 30 lost Wildcats 79
Ballan E 54 def Drummo Dragons 37
Ballan C 27 lost Saints Eagles 36
Under 19 Girls
Ballan 31 def Sovereign Knights 19