First-year Braves earn MVP awards  

Tom Garlepp, Renae Camino and Mia Newley were the big winners at the Bendigo Braves basketball club’s awards night on Saturday.

Garlepp was the Symes Motors Braves’ Most Valuable Player in his first season with the SEABL club.

Fellow first-year Bendigo basketballers Camino and Newley tied for the Champions IGA Lady Braves MVP award.

Garlepp missed the first three matches of the Braves’ season while playing in NBL play-offs with the now defunct Gold Coast Blaze.

But the Sydney Kings big man soon became a key Braves player and averaged 18.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists for the season. 

Camino and Newley were the Lady Braves’ main attacking threats all season.

Camino, who is now playing for the Bendigo Bank Spirit in the WNBL, only failed to reach double figure points in three of 27 matches.

The shooting guard averaged 18.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists for the season.

Newley’s height and ability to hit baskets from any position was pivotal to the Lady Braves qualifying for a home elimination final.

Although Bendigo lost to Sandringham, Newley starred with 22 points – her equal-highest for the season – seven rebounds and two assists.

Newley averaged 13.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists for Bendigo.

Retiring Brave Chris Novak was joint recipient of the coaches award with Matt Bartlett.

Novak announced his decision after 286 matches, including 229 for the Braves – sixth on the club’s all-time list.

The tough post player joined the Braves in 2005, when Bendigo won the national championship.

Novak also won four conference titles with Bendigo, but said he wanted to pursue a different sporting career.

“I have just come to a point in my career where I have had enough of basketball and would like to maybe try something new. I would like to give footy a go next year,” he said.

Nicole Goodridge won the Lady Braves coaches award, and Madeleine Garrick was most improved player.

Daniel Hansen was the CR Martin Real Estate Young Braves MVP, while Dane Spear was best first-year player and Tom Kenyon took home the coaches award.

Elise Strachan and Yana Dellavedova shared The Zone Young Lady Braves MVP, while Maddison Wild was most improved and Chloe Mace received the coaches award.

Don Coulson, Paul Harrower, Karla Coulson, Mark Lennox and Paul Moller received Basketball Victoria awards for 35 years dedicated service. 

Mick Spear and Richard Randall were honoured for 25 years of service, while Colleen Pinder was recognised for 15 years of service.

Noel Hughes, Daniel Nancarrow and Sue Murphy received Braves club service awards, while Mark Lennox was awarded life membership of the club.

Ken McDonald earned the David Riggall Memorial Award, an award commemorating a passionate volunteer coach of YMCA and junior Braves teams.

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