ALBURY-Wodonga Bandits coach Brad Chalmers has conceded the SEABL playoffs are almost certainly out of reach after the Bandits suffered a 107-91 defeat to the Ballarat Miners at the Lauren Jackson Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The 16-point loss leaves the Border club with a 3-9 win-loss record, four games behind the fourth-placed Dandenong Rangers with a tough run of games to come after this week’s bye.
The Bandits face Geelong, Nunawading, Dandenong and Mount Gambier in the next month and Chalmers said inconsistency was taking its toll on the Bandits.
“We’re still a mathematical chance (of playoffs),” Chalmers said.
“But it’s about getting back to the things that make us competitive.
“We had a good couple of weeks but the second half of last week’s loss to Knox bled into this game.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do defensively, trying to figure out how to turn this around.
“The guys are trying hard, there’s no doubt of that.
“Is there some frustration that things aren’t going to plan? Yes, but we’ll stay strong and try to find another gear after the break.”
An even scoring spread from the Miners was spearheaded by imports Roy Booker and Ken Horton, with Booker, the league’s leading scorer, dropping 27 points, despite some stellar defence from Bandits veteran Nick Payne.
Horton scored 22 points and hauled down 12 rebounds while Nathan Sobey (21 points), Anthony Fisher (15) and Liam Gibcus (15) all notched double-digit totals.
Albury-Wodonga was led by Payne’s 27 points while Alex Bogart-King continued his good form with 21 points at an excellent 10-13 shooting clip.
Playmaker Deuce Briscoe and forward Alex Opacic added a quiet 15 and 14 points.
Chalmers said the early fast pace of the game had played into the Miners’ hands and the Bandits — Payne and Bogart-King aside — didn’t have enough meaningful offensive contributions.
“Pretty frustrating overall,” Chalmers said.
“I really didn’t like the first-quarter tempo, far too free-flowing, too much on their terms.
“Payney did a fantastic job on Booker but their role-players probably got off the leash a bit too much.
“To claw back a little bit was really good but we didn’t have enough contributors on the night.
“Our efficiency rates were pretty poor and I’m really not sure what to do about it.
“Defensively, the whole group — outside of Nick — wasn’t great.”