Unbeaten season intact for Braves women; men’s top four hopes take a hit

ON THE ATTACK: Bendigo's Ashleigh Karaitiana drives to the basket, while Ballarat's Amy Griffin defends at the Bendigo Stadium on Wednesday night during their SEABL women's clash. Picture: LUKE WEST
ON THE ATTACK: Bendigo's Ashleigh Karaitiana drives to the basket, while Ballarat's Amy Griffin defends at the Bendigo Stadium on Wednesday night during their SEABL women's clash. Picture: LUKE WEST

IT was an unfamiliar night, yet a familiar result for the Bendigo Braves women as they added arch-rival Ballarat to their long list of 2018 SEABL victims.

Playing on Wednesday night at the Bendigo Stadium the Braves women withstood a third-quarter challenge from the Rush before putting the foot down to win 78-55. 

It continues an unblemished season for the Braves, who improved to 17-0, with Wednesday night’s result the 10th of those 17 victories by at least 20 points.

Bendigo ended the game by pouring in 32 of the last 44 points over the final quarter-and-half.

Earlier after scoring the first seven points of the game, Bendigo never trailed, but the Rush hung tough until midway through the third quarter when they trailed 46-43.

However, sparked by a pair of three-pointers to Bianca Dufelmeier, the Braves ended the quarter on an 11-3 run to re-assert control of the contest.

“It wasn’t our cleanest game and we definitely missed a lot of shots that we would typically make, but I think these games are good to have to work hard to find a way to get the win and we did that,” coach Megan Moody said.

“It probably wasn’t the prettiest to watch, but we got the job done.”

Star point guard Kelly Wilson produced another outstanding all-round performance as she combined a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds and eight assists.

Like Wilson, Nadeen Payne continued her stellar season with 18 points and 11 rebounds – including five offensive – for her fourth-consecutive double-double.

Ashleigh Karaitiana, Kara Tessari and Dufelmeier all added nine points apiece for Bendigo, which dominated the rebound count 56-43.

Meanwhile, the top four hopes of the Braves’ men took a hit with an 88-84 defeat to Ballarat in an entertaining clash.

From 10 points down at three quarter-time the Braves fought back to within one during the last term, but couldn’t edge their way to the lead as Miners’ captain Peter Hooley halted their momentum with a three-pointer with 33 seconds remaining.

Jeremy Kendle (25) and Daniel Hansen (18, all three-pointers) combined for more than half the Braves’ points. The defeat leaves the Braves with a 10-7 record.

Matthew Andronicos suffered an ankle injury early in the last quarter.