The basketball season continued with Ballan Brumbies Under 19 Boys D taking on Phoenix Ninjas, both teams sitting just outside the top four. Ballan would have to watch for Phoenix star Jack Sherman who had been a singular offensive force for his team.
Despite James Burton scoring directly from the tip off, the game got off to a slow start as neither team could really find a rhythm. Phoenix was unable to figure out Ballan’s zone defense, forced into settling for errant long jumpshots whilst Ballan were getting into the key but struggling to finish over Phoenix’s phalanx of athletes. Ballan eventually started to find their way to buckets through Barney Batiste’s offensive rebounding and the ability of James Prosser and Will Lewis to push the pace in the open floor. Defensively Ballan were excellent through the first half, Albie Eskdale a wall in the middle of the paint, Prosser and Batiste cleaning up well on the backline.
It wasn’t pretty, by any means, but Ballan led 14-8 at the half.
Phoenix had to drag the side back into the contest and took the game by the scruff of the neck early in the second half, scoring a quick six points to open the half and get Phoenix back on level terms. Ballan, though, poked and prodded the Phoenix defense through the patient play of point guard Rhys Mitchell.
When Archie Wilson hit a corner three for Phoenix, they took their first lead of the game as Ballan started to struggle with Phoenix’s speed across the floor. The boys, though, increased their defensive efforts as Burton and Lewis both picked up steals and Prosser blocked Sherman at the rim. Lewis hit a driving basket and Mitchell connected with a three coming off a Prosser screen to get Ballan back into it.
Phoenix, though, still led by a point with just under two minutes to play. Mitchell drove to the hoop and got fouled by Gus Prenc. His first free throw wasn’t the prettiest, but banking in still counts. The second was pure and gave Ballan a one-point lead that they would hold onto with tough, disciplined defense in the final stages; the Brumbies coming through with a tense 28-27 win.
Under 10 Boys
Ballan D 10 lost Sovereign Knights 34
Ballan C 12 lost Celtic Tigers 14
Under 12 Boys
Ballan G 34 def Phoenix Bishops 20
Ballan D 22 def Drummo Dragons 12
Ballan B 31 lost Sains Clippers 54
Under 12 Girls
Ballan 9 lost Phoenix Quartz 23
Under 14 Boys
Ballan F 23 def Phoenix Buffalos 10
Ballan E 51 def Celtic Tigers 8
Ballan B 44 def Saints Bucks 25
Under 14 Girls
Ballan E 31 def Saints Capitols 11
Ballan C 48 def Phoenix Spirit 5
Under 16 Boys
Ballan F White 14 lost Drummo Dragons 38
Ballan F Blue 37 lost Celtic Tigers 48
Ballan D 35 def Excies Acmy 27
Ballan B 54 def Excies Acmy 31
Under 16 Girls
Ballan 33 def Phoenix Fawns 30
Under 19 Boys
Ballan F 25 lost Sovereign Knights 52
Ballan D 28 def Phoenix Ninjas 27
Ballan B 44 lost Sovereign Knights 57
Under 19 Girls
Ballan 42 def Celtic Tigers 26