THE Bendigo Braves have slipped out of the SEABL south conference top four after losing to Canberra 94-88 on Saturday night.
The Braves (6-7) have dropped three of their past four games and are now fifth on the ladder behind fourth-placed Hobart (7-6).
While the Braves’ form is a major concern, the same can’t be said about the Lady Braves (9-3), who consolidated top spot on the women’s south conference with a commanding 78-62 win over Canberra.
The Braves could put their loss down to poor defence and perimeter shooting.
In a worrying sign for coach Ben Harvey, for the fourth time this season the Braves conceded more than 90 points – 50 of those came in the first half.
The Braves started brightly to lead by five points at the first change, but the game turned in the second period.
Canberra won the quarter 24-13 on the back of the Braves going 0-7 from behind the three-point arc and just 4-19 from the field.
On the flipside, Canberra nailed four of its five three-point attempts.
The Braves defence lifted in the third term, restricting Canberra to 6-22 field goal attempts.
However, they did allow Canberra to grab nine offensive boards. That helped the visitors steady the ship and they held a 69-61 lead going into the last quarter.
Bendigo tried hard in the final term to bridge the gap, but poor three-point shooting (3-10) allowed the Gunners to ice the game down the stretch from the free throw line (9-15).
Michael Vigor was the Braves’ best player with 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Dustin Salisbery scored a game-high 27 points.
The Gunners, who are now just one win behind the Braves, had five players score in double-figures.
The Lady Braves set up their win with a dominant first half. They led 27-16 at quarter-time and extended that lead to 21 points at the main break.
Canberra outscored the home side in the second half, but Lady Braves coach Jonathan Goodman did rest his starters and gave valuable court time to his younger players.
The Lady Braves had four players score in double figures – Lauren King (17), Chantella Perera (13), LaSondra Barrett (13) and Alex Bunton (12).
The Braves and Lady Braves have next weekend off before they both head to the ACT on June 14 for a rematch with Canberra.