THE Bendigo Braves men’s and women’s teams are hoping to return to Bendigo undefeated after a double-header road trip to Canberra this weekend.
The women’s side sits 3-0 while after two wins last weekend the men are perfect through four games.
Both recorded dominant wins over Albury-Wodonga last weekend, the women trouncing the Bandits by 46 points while the men smashed their counterparts by 21 points.
Chris Hogan’s milestone 400th game was also marked with a victory for Bendigo over Mount Gambier.
Both sides take on the Basketball Australia Centre of Excellence team tonight before facing Canberra on Saturday night.
The Braves women enter both games as clear favourites, having regained Gabe Richards last weekend.
While key players spent extended minutes on the bench, reserves such as Bianca Dufelmeier and Maddie Wild stepped up.
The standout player for Bendigo was backup guard Kara Tessari, who scored a career-high 31 points and hit nine three-pointers.
“Kara was awesome, it was so good to watch,” teammate Ash Karaitiana said.
“Everyone who came in really played well and we kept going right until the end even though we had a big lead.”
The Braves men have also rolled through the early part of the season, and import ray Turner scored player of the week honours for his massive round four.
The Texan scored 25 points and pulled down 25 rebounds in a rare away win over the Pioneers on Friday, before scoring a team-high 21 points and pulling down 16 board in the win over Albury.
“We’ve come together as a team really well, the win over Mount Gambier was a big one for us and to do it in a big game for Hoges was really good,” he said.
Both sides will aim to use the Canberra road trip as a chance to further strengthen their off and on-court bonds.
Karaitiana said early in the season road trips such as this coming weekend can be invaluable in building team chemistry.
“I think when you spend that time together on the road like we will this weekend it can really help you, especially early in the season,” Braves guard Karaitiana said.
“Hopefully we can come away with another two wins and continue the kind of basketball we’ve been playing.”
Canberra’s women’s team is 3-1 through four games, while the CoE men are 1-3 to start the year.
In the men’s competition, the CoE are 2-1 and the Gunners last on the table through three matches each.
The sides played each other on Wednesday night, the CoE winning the men’s match while Canberra was too good in the women’s clash.
Bendigo plays the CoE tonight before facing Canberra tomorrow.
– Joel Peterson