THE Bendigo Braves started their SEABL season in perfect fashion, with a thrilling one-point win over Brisbane on Saturday night.
A two-point basket from import Dustin Salisbery in the dying seconds gave the Braves an 88-87 victory at Bendigo Stadium.
After leading by one point going into the final term, the Braves looked in trouble when the Spartans grabbed a four-point lead midway through the quarter.
They still trailed by two points with two minutes remaining, but two key offensive rebounds helped turn the game the Braves' way.
The Braves' Michael Vigor reeled in a Kevin Probert miss and Chris Hogan made a big three-point bucket to give the home side a one-point break.
The Spartans regained the lead through Dan George.
With 70 seconds remaining Hogan missed a jump shot, but import Zach Atkinson came up with a big offensive board and basket to give the Braves the lead.
After a string of misses from both sides, former Knox Raiders star C.J. Massingale connected on a jump shot to give the Spartans a one-point lead with nine seconds remaining.
It was the Braves who had the last laugh, with Salisbery becoming an instant fan favourite with his match-winning basket.
Salisbery finished with a game-high 28 points in his first game with the club.
Vigor and Atkinson also impressed in their Braves' debut.
Vigor had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Atkinson contributed 15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists.
Kevin Probert played all but 30 seconds of the match, scoring 16 points and dishing out seven assists.
Massingale led the Spartans, scoring 27 points.
Meanwhile, the Bendigo Lady Braves proved too strong for Brisbane in their season-opener.
Young centre Alex Bunton proved to be the difference between the two sides in the 66-57 win.
Playing her first game for the Lady Braves, Bunton scored 20 points on 10-18 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Guard Kerryn Harrington gave the Lady Braves some scoring punch off the bench.
Harrington had 14 points, including three three-pointers, four assists and two steals.
Rosie Fadljevic added 10 points and three rebounds, whilechantella Perera had nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Lady Braves led by 11 in the final term before the Lady Spartans cut the margin to three points with one minute to play.
Bendigo Spirit squad members Heather Oliver and Jane Chalmers showed their experience by knocking down four free throws between them to steady the ship.
The Braves and Lady Braves both travel to Melbourne in round two.
They head to Knox on Sunday to face the Raiders.