THE Bendigo Bank Spirit received a reality check yesterday when it suffered a 59-54 loss to the Canberra Capitals at Bendigo Stadium.
The Spirit was left to lament a woeful second quarter as it slumped to their first loss of the season.
After trailing by two points at quarter-time the Spirit lost its way in the second term.
The Capitals outmuscled the Spirit in all departments. They outscored the Spirit 22-9 for the quarter and allowed the home side only two rebounds for the term.
It was always going to be hard for the Spirit to reel in a 15-point deficit in the second half.
The Spirit was still 14 points down at the last break before mounting a brave challenge late in the game.
The big crowd got excited in the final minutes, but four points was as close as the Spirit could get to the Capitals in the dying seconds.
“It was a frustrating day,’’ Spirit coach Bernie Harrower said.
“We just didn’t have the effort in the first half.
“A few of our players got ahead of themselves and we paid for it.
“You can’t just expect to win in this league. Canberra wanted it more than us in the first half.
“Our defence was disgraceful and we gave them too many easy shots.
“We didn’t put them under any pressure in the first half.”
The Spirit coughed up 42 points in the first half and just 17 in the second half.
While the Spirit’s defence picked up in the second half, the same couldn’t be said for its offence.
The Spirit shot at just 30 per cent from the field and missed eight of its 25 free throw attempts.
Star gaurd Kristi Harrower was the only four-quarter performer for the Spirit.
With centre Gabe Richards in foul trouble for much of the game, Harrower was the only Spirit player who looked like scoring on a regular basis.
The 37-year-old was oustanding, with a game-high 21 points and nine assists.
“We had an opportunity today to consolidate top spot on the ladder and we’ve lost a game on our home court,’’ Bernie Harrower said.
“We wanted to win every game at home this season, but we just didn’t have the intensity needed today.
“We’re a good team when we all contribute. We only had one player contribute today.
“We needed someone else to stand up alongside Kristi today, but we didn’t get it.”