The Gunners celebrate after a tough win against Sandringham.
It’s been a season full of high-fives and heartbreakers for the Canberra Gunners, packed with single digit results. All seven of the team’s wins have been by nine points or less, while four of their 11 losses have come by one or two baskets.
A game winning shot beat Brisbane two weeks ago, and a red hot third quarter held off Sandringham last Friday. Two straight wins have given the Gunners reason to smile this week at training, home for a third week in a row this Saturday, July 18, and looking to add another one.
“Momentum is a pretty big thing in this competition,” says Gunners assistant coach, Andrew Coulter. “Even though we’ve still got more losses than wins, it’s still a pretty close competition. We’re definitely not out of it, but we’re going to have to keep winning.”
With SEABL’s top scorer visiting the capital Saturday night, stretching the streak to three is far from guaranteed. When Canberra played the Ballarat Miners in early May, Roy Booker had 35-points, hitting nine of 11 threes. Ballarat took an early lead that night at the Minerdome and held off a fourth quarter Gunners barrage to seal the win.
Booker leads the league in scoring with 24.6-points per game and is fifth in assists, averaging five. The stocky 191-centimeter American has hit 68 three-pointers in 17 matches this year – 14 more than anyone else in SEABL. He hoists them off the dribble, sometimes from NBA-range, and loves punishing poor ball screen defence three points at a time. While he has a multitude of offensive weapons, Booker shoots the deep ball at 42-percent, which is lights out for someone taking almost ten per contest.
To make matters worse, Booker’s Ballarat Miners are desperate for a win. The team lost to Geelong last weekend, Hobart the weekend before, and now risks dropping below Canberra on the ladder should they lose at Belconnen.