DYAMI Starks could not have picked his moment better to produce a season-high 32 points against the Mount Gambier.
With the Bendigo Braves battling to stay in touch with the leading division in the SEABL south conference, Starks was at his brilliant best in a 92-71 win over the previously undefeated Pioneers.
His 32 points doubled the output of any Pioneers player, as the Braves reignited their national championship defence to move to 5-6.
It was plenty for Starks, a former standout at Rhode Island-based Bryant University, to snare his first SEABL player of the week award.
Coach Ben Harvey said Starks, who added six rebounds, an assist and a steal, was "simply outstanding" against the Braves' long-time rival and 2016 grand final rival.
"He definitely deserved that (player of the week award)," he said.
"Him and C.J. Aiken and Adam Doyle were all very good (and) each week I need those guys to step up.
"It was very well deserved.
"But I also thought some of other players had good games.
"Chris Adkins started and did a really good job defensively, and Jake Cowling was awesome off the bench, with four offensive rebounds for the game."
Matched against tough Pioneers guard Tom Daly, Starks set the tone for the Braves with 14 first-quarter points, enough to outscore the visitors on his own
The shooting guard was red-hot, connecting on six of seven shots, including two three-pointers.
Starks continued to pose problems for Mount Gambier in the second quarter, as the Braves built up a game-breaking 36 point lead by half time.
He finished a memorable game on 12-17 shooting for the game.
With tough games to follow this Saturday in Geelong and on Sunday against Nunawading - two teams have beaten the Braves this season - Starks sits third in the competition with 23.4 points per game and fourth for three-pointers made (23).
He leads the league in free shooting, having hit 28 of 29 for the season at 97 per cent.
Harvey will no doubt be counting on Starks to have another big weekend, as the Braves look to continue their push up the ladder in chase of the Hobart Chargers (7-2), Ballarat Miners (5-3) and Dandenong Rangers (6-4).
“We need to build on this now, we can’t just think it will happen, we’ve got to make that happen again,” he said.