BENDIGO Braves guard Daniel Hansen picked the right time to produce one of his best performances of the 2018 SEABL season.
The 26-year-old helped himself to 15 points and five rebounds as the Braves overcame their recent nemesis Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence to win Saturday night’s elimination final in Canberra.
It continued a solid month for Hansen, who is in his seventh season with Braves’ SEABL team and earlier this year ticked over the 100 game mark.
The sharp-shooting guard has averaged 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.3 rebounds this season.
But his production has noticeably increased through a busy July, in which he has averaged about eight points per game.
Hansen nailed six of nine three-point attempts against Ballarat Miners in a loss on July 11 on his way to 18 points.
He scored six points each against Geelong Supercats on July 14 and a week later against Frankston Blues at Bendigo Stadium in a win which clinched a finals berth for the Braves.
Hansen again looms as a threat as the Braves look to extend their finals run in this Saturday night’s semi-final against Kilsyth Cobras, with a spot in the following weekend’s preliminary final against Nunawading Spectres up for grabs.
His coach Ben Harvey acknowledged Hansen’s contribution among a raft of those behind the Braves undoubted stars Ray Turner and Jeremy Kendle, which helped shape his side’s 22 point win against the COE.
While the 2016 championship guard has long-been pigeon-holed as a pure offensive threat, Braves co-captain Chris Hogan said Hansen had certainly developed a new bow to his game in 2018.
“I think the difference towards the end of this season and probably throughout this season, he’s made a bit of a mentality shift and is actually playing some very good defence,” he said.
“That makes his a very valuable asset for us.
“I think going into this week, he will be pivotal for us come Saturday.”
Hogan, who this season passed the 400-game mark for the Braves, added the part of Hansen’s game he has become renowned for – his sublime three-point shooting – was also on song against the COE.
“What Indiana (Faithful), Jeremy (Kendle) and Ray (Turner) were able to do was draw enough attention that ‘Dangers’ was on the end of some pretty nice plays,” he said.
“And he had the confidence to knock them down – albeit that’s his role.
“But planning and execution are two different things, which turned out pretty handy for us.”
Ballarat Miners will host Geelong Supercats in the other semi-final, with the winner to play Hobart Chargers in Tasmania.