SPIRIT FIRES

BENDIGO Spirit achieved a significant victory in Sunday's basketball match on Townsville's court.

Just eight days after being overwhelmed at home by Fire, Bendigo headed north to a stadium where  it has had little success.

After a red-hot start, Spirit led 25-12 at quarter-time.

Townsville fought back to be within three points at the long break, but Bendigo had all the answers as it won the third quarter by 13 points and the last by five.

At the final buzzer, Bendigo led 78-57.

Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said the win was one of the club's best of the 18 it now has this season.

"We put in a poor performance last week, so this match was always going to be character-building," Harrower said of bouncing back from an 11-point loss the previous round to Fire.

"The defence was back to the intensity we need it to be. Townsville embarassed us last week, so it was really important to stand up and be counted.

"A confident start was what we focused on, as well as our defence."

Spirit had five players score in double figures, while Fire had just two.

Despite Townsville's fightback in the second term, Harrower said there was no panic in the Spirit camp.

"We just kept on attacking when we had the ball, and were really strong in defence when Fire had possession."

Rising star Sara Blicavs scored a team-high 25 points and won seven rebounds for Spirit.

An in-sync attack was led by Kristi Harrower, 12 points and six assists; Chelsea Aubry, 12 points; Kelly Wilson, 12 points and nine rebounds; and Kelsey Griffin, 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Townsville's stars were Suzy Batkovic, 27 points and 17 rebounds; and Rachael McCully, 13 points and seven rebounds.

Stephanie Cumming, Kayla Standish and Micaela Cocks were kept to a combined tally of seven points.

After a cortiosone injection to a knee midweek, Gabe Richards did not play for Spirit this weekend.

The Bendigo Bank Spirit beat Logan Thunder by 14 points in Friday night's home game.

The ladder-leading Spirit is on the road again this Saturday to play Sydney Flames.

Bendigo achieves superb 21-point victory on Townsville's court

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