BENDIGO Braves men's coach David Hogan has challenged his players to produce a tougher brand of basketball when they renew their NBL1 rivalry with arch-rivals Ballarat on Saturday night.
The new-look Braves men have started the season 1-1 and are coming off a 21-point loss on their home court to Frankston last week.
"We're a young group and there's going to be fluctuations in performance, which is a natural part of our development, but one thing we pride ourselves on is effort and competing and the boys didn't do that for the entire game last week," Hogan said on Friday.
"We had a run late in the game, but we were outmuscled by a more experienced team, so, hopefully, we can bounce back this week and play with more maturity and toughness."
The Braves, who have nine new players in their squad this year, have a full roster available for Saturday night's clash in Ballarat.
It's shaping as a big night for the Miners (2-1), who following last year's cancelled NBL1 season will finally make their debut in the new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre.
Bendigo-Ballarat is one of the competition's great rivalries, but the Miners have had the upper hand in their battles of late, winning four of their past five clashes and overall, having a slender 12-11 head-to-head advantage going back to 2008.
Saturday night's men's game between Bendigo and Ballarat tips off at 8pm.
It will follow the women's match between Bendigo and Ballarat from 6pm.
Like the men, the Braves women are also 1-1 and aiming to rebound from a home loss last week when they surrendered a six-point three quarter-time lead to be beaten 76-70 by the undefeated Frankston.
For Bendigo basketball fans, there's a familiar name in the Ballarat line-up, with Alicia Froling playing for the Rush (2-1).
Froling played with the Bendigo Spirit last season in the WNBL where her team-mates included Queensland hub room-mate Cassidy McLean and Piper Dunlop, who will be among her opponents in this match.
Meanwhile, both Braves teams will be back in action again on Sunday at the Bendigo Stadium against the Dandenong Rangers in the second leg of their weekend double.
The women's game will tip-off at noon and the men's match at 2pm.
THE NBL1 SEASON SO FAR:
Bendigo 93 def Mount Gambier 82
Ballarat 81 def Albury-Wodonga 73
Diamond Valley 90 def Dandenong 67
Ringwood 93 def Eltham 88
Kilsyth 69 def Waverley 68
Geelong 78 def Knox 68
NW Tasmania 85 def Hobart 77
Sandringham 97 def Melbourne 94
Nunawading 94 def Frankston 83
Frankston 94 def Bendigo 73
Hobart 81 def Ballarat 77
Melbourne 107 def Albury-Wodonga 102
Diamond Valley 79 def Eltham 76
Geelong 85 def Ringwood 81
Mount Gambier 122 def Sandringham 90
Frankston 110 def Dandenong 76
Knox 72 def Kilsyth 63
Ballarat 74 def NW Tasmania 71
Waverley 79 def Diamond Valley 72
Nunawading 96 def Sandringham 61
Bendigo 60 def Mount Gambier 54
Ballarat 93 def Albury-Wodonga 61
Dandenong 79 def Diamond Valley 65
Eltham 82 def Ringwood 51
Kilsyth 84 def Waverley 74
Frankston 90 def Nunawading 78
Knox 79 def Geelong 72
Launceston 91 def Hobart 61
Sandringham 87 def Melbourne 62
Frankston 76 def Bendigo 70
Ballarat 62 def Hobart 61
Launceston 91 def Ballarat 61
Melbourne 116 def Albury-Wodonga 68
Eltham 84 def Diamond Valley 52
Ringwood 84 def Geelong 55
Sandringham 72 def Mount Gambier 70
Frankston 78 def Dandenong 75
Knox 82 def Kilsyth 70
Waverley 74 def Diamond Valley 66
Nunawading 83 def Sandringham 70
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