THE Bendigo Braves will be strengthened for a crucial SEABL double-header this weekend.
Coach Ben Harvey side's will regain joint captain Chris Hogan and import Dyami Starks for games on Saturday night against the Albury-Wodonga Bandits and Sunday at the Nunawading Spectres.
The Bandits clash will be the finale to a huge Saturday at Bendigo Stadium, with the Braves women's and men's youth development in action in the afternoon, ahead of the Lady Braves clash against the Lady Bandits at 6pm.
Starks and Hogan were both absent for the Braves' two games on the weekend before Easter.
They included a road win against Sandrigham and a disappointing home loss to Geelong.
It's a busy few weeks for the Braves, with the clash against the Bandits the first of six in 16 days for the reigning national champions.
A pair of wins this would achieve Harvey's early season goal of being no worse than 4-2.
"Hogan's obviously still not at full flight, but to have him back and his presence on the floor will be fantastic," he said.
"Dyami's averaging 24 points right now and to have him back too is a huge asset.
"We struggled to put the ball in the hole (against Geelong), having those two guys is very exciting."
The Braves will tread warily against the Bandits, who despite their 1-2 record, lead the SEABL in scoring at 93 points per game.
"They know how to put the ball in the hole, so it will be a huge contest," Harvey said.
"But we set a goal to be 4-2 and this weekend we can achieve that.
"Right now we are one game behind (the leading team), so it's not panic stations."
Sunday's opponent Nunawading is a perfect four wins from four games, led by American Dain Swetella, who is averaging 22.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first year with the Spectres.
Harvey encouraged Braves followers to get behind a big Saturday of basketball, including a strong emphasis on the club’s youth teams.
Saturday's extravaganza of basketball tips-off at 2pm with the Braves' Big V Youth Championship Women's team playing the Hume City Broncos.
This will be followed by the men's youth league game against the Sunbury Jets at 4pm, SEABL Lady Braves versus the Lady Bandits at 6pm, with the Braves men at 8pm.
Tickets for the entire day are adults $10, children $5 and family (two adults, two children) $25 and (two adults, three children) $30.) $30.