A STRONG defensive display enabled the Bendigo Lady Braves to beat Horsham’s Lady Hornets at their own game in the Country Basketball League north-west conference grand final on Saturday.
The Bendigo side pressed at every opportunity to make things difficult for the home side in order to come away with the 56-34 win.
In his final game as coach Gareth Hiscock conceded his side was simply beaten by a better side on the night.
“In any two horse race their has to be a loser and unfortunately that was us today,” he said.
“It’s pretty easy to say we were beaten by a better team on the night, so well done to Bendigo.”
The Lady Braves jumped out of the blocks fast courtesy of three-pointers to Madeline Sexton and Shardee Sharp while the Lady Hornets initially struggled to take the lid of the basket.
Just getting the ball up the court was tough at times for the home side as Bendigo applied a full court pressure to counteract Horsham’s fast but physical game style.
After falling behind 8-4 through the opening five minutes the home side started to show glimpses of why it had been so hard to beat all season.
The two sides were locked together at 9-9 at the end of the first period.
Ema Iredell converted two opportunities from the foul line and Bec McIntyre converted an opportunity with less than a minute played in the second quarter to put the side four points clear.
The Lady Hornets then went nearly nine minutes without a score before Georgia Hiscok managed to hit a shot in the final minute.
As the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the first half the Lady Braves led 25-15.
It’s pretty easy to say we were beaten by a better team on the night.Gareth Hiscock
The Lady Braves continued to maintain their lead through the third period and extened their lead to 13 points.
Liv Jones hit the floor hard with four minutes to play in the quarter and was carried off court to further stretch a side that was already missing Jess Cannane.
A late six-point run gave the home crowd something to shout about heading into the final quarter with the score at 33-26 in favour of Bendigo.
The momentum did not last into the final period as the Lady Braves powered home to win 56-34.
Coach Hiscock credited the defensive work of Bendigo’s Caitlin Mclachlan.
“She was awesome on defence and 34 points from us was never going to cut the mustard,” he said.
As well as being named the league’s defensive player of the year Mclachlan was named the grand final most valuable player.
She picked up 12 points to go along with her work on defence while Poppy Blach shared a game-high 13-point tally with Ema Iredell.