Monday, June 19, 2017

Defeating Hobart in a top of the table clash and backing up with a win over Sandringham in Round 11, the Ballarat Miners now sit on top of the South Conference with a 10-5 record.

Craig Moller was outstanding in the two victories, averaging 24 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and a block and getting back to his early season form that saw him clinch the Round 3 Player of the Week award.

On Saturday night against the Chargers, Ballarat extended a two-point lead at three-quarter time to win by five and Moller had six points in that last quarter as well as an assist and a block.

Controlling the paint, the forward shot 7-10 under the rim for the game and also knocked down a three-pointer to finish with 26 points along with ten rebounds, two assists and two rejections.

He helped contain Hobart’s and the league’s leading scorer, Mathiang Muo, to just 15 points while the Miners also out-rebounded their opponents by 15 and out-scored them 15-7 in second chance points.

The following day, Ballarat hit the road to take on Sandringham and a blistering start from Moller saw him score the first ten points for his side, including two three-point plays.

The Miners took a nine-point lead into the first break which they extended to a game-high 14 points by half-time but the Sabres would not go away.

Cutting the margin to three points inside the final moments of the third term, Moller then fed Davon Usher for a basket, grabbed a rebound at the other end of the floor and sunk two free-throws to help wrestle back the momentum in the space of a minute.

The forward capped off the quarter with a dunk to push their advantage back to nine and while they routinely trimmed the deficit to a one-possession game in the last, Ballarat had the answers for them every time.

Moller’s clutch free-throw shooting came in handy again as he knocked down two more inside the final minute and his seven offensive boards (compared to Sandringham’s total of eight) gave the Miners another 15 second chance points as he recorded 22 points, 14 rebounds and two assists in the 92-86 victory.

Now on top of the South Conference, the Miners will aim to consolidate their position in the second half of the season and reach the playoffs after missing out last year.

Craig Moller Round 11 Stats: 24 points on 16-33 shooting (48%) including 15-18 free-throw shooting (83%), 12 rebounds (4.5 offensive), two assists, one block per game.