FOLLOWING wins from their opening games of the year, the Bendigo Braves and Lady Braves will be out to improve their records on their home floor for the first time this season.
The teams both defeated Diamond Valley to open the season a fortnight ago before having the bye in round two.
That gave them a chance to further consolidate their preseason work before returning to action against Hobart tomorrow night. Hobart’s women overcame Launceston in a thriller last weekend, led by 39 points and 12 boards from Lauren Nicholson.
The men’s team is 1-1 in the new season, defeating North West Tasmania in round two by 24 points led by an 11-of-13 shooting from point guard Tre Nichols.
Nadeen Payne was the opening round standout with 37 points for the Lady Braves as they thumped the Eagles by 27 points.
Point guard Kara Tessari said the group took plenty of confidence out of the first-up win.
“They jumped us at the start in that game so for us to hit back and win the way we did was great,” she said.
“We played some really good basketball in the second half, we know we have plenty more work to do to keep improving but we were very happy to take the win.”
Braves coach Ben Harvey felt much the same as his side pulled out a one-point win in the opening men’s clash.
He used the week off to further build chemistry within his group and said it has been extremely valuable.
“Hobart are a quality team, they’ve got Craig Moller who’s an NBL champion now and Anthony Stewart a fiery coach like myself, he’ll be coming here wanting to win,” Harvey said.
“I’m really happy with our group, and the old cliche is ‘one week at a time’ but to beat Hobart in game one on our home floor would be a great start to the year.”
Tessari and teammates Payne, Ash Karaitiana, Ahlise Hurst and Jess Rennie are all coming off a season with the Bendigo Spirit and benefitting from playing under Megan Moody, a Spirit assistant.
She said the development had been especially helpful for the younger members of the squad.
They will have no shortage of challenges on their hands this week guarding Nicholson and forward Kathleen Scheer this week, but the 20-year-old is confident of a strong showing.
“I think It’s really important to come out really tough especially at home. We know Hobart will be a really tough matchup but at this point of the year we are focussing on our own game,” she said.
“We’ll scout them and get to know their stuff a bit, but mostly we’re just concentrating on trying to improve ourselves as a group and get to the level we want to be playing at.
“To start the season off at home with a win would be awesome so hopefully we can do that in front of a good crowd.”
The Braves and Lady Braves are in action in a double-header at Bendigo Stadium from 6pm.