Published on Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bendigo Braves hone in on defence in bid to arrest losing streak

 

THE Bendigo Braves will focus on defence as they look to revive their SEABL season.

A 107-111 weekend loss to the Canberra Gunners sent the Braves packing from fourth spot in the south conference to fifth with five games remaining in the home and away season.

Only the top four teams from both the south and east conferences will advance to the finals.

The Braves' spot in the four was claimed by the North West Tasmania Thunder, who gained a pair of weekend wins on the road in Albury and Kilsyth.

In what is looming as a crucial contest, the Braves and the Thunder clash at Bendigo Stadium on July 29.

But Harvey insisted that match-up was irrelevant at this point and his side's focus was solely on this Friday night's encounter in Melbourne against the Frankston Blues.

The 2016 national championship coach said the overtime loss to the Gunners, who have only won three games this season, could only be termed as disappointing.

"Obviously the stats don't lie .... at the end of the day we had two really good opportunities where we had good leads," Harvey said.

"We led in the first quarter 20 to seven and we went into the third (quarter) 11 points up and shot the first four points, so we were up by 15 with eight minutes and eight seconds to go.

"We were in a winning situation, but there was no doubt they out-rebounded us 50 to 33, we had 18 more shots than them.

"We got hammered on the rebounding, it was just one of those nights you didn't want to think something like this would happen.

"I'm a big believer in 40 stops a game - we had 34. We get 40 stops we win games."

The loss to Canbera was the Braves’ third straight defeat.

It continued a frustrating trend of losses to teams well below the Braves (9-10) in the ladder rankings.

Just as perplexing is the Braves' encouraging record against teams in the upper echelon, including wins over top side Mount Gambier (15-2), second-best team Nunawading (12-6), Dandenong (12-6) and Hobart (11-7).

With the Braves facing two games this weekend, including a home clash against Sandringham on Saturday night, Harvey foreshadowed a tough night on the practice floor on Tuesday, with a lighter session to follow on Thursday.

"We have to bounce back and that's my job, we have to train well this week," he saaid.

"We need to be able to better defend teams and that's one of the areas we will be working on."

One aspect of the Braves game not up for debate is its output on offence, with the team surpassing the 100 point mark for the third time in the last six games.

They were led by import Dyami Starks, who scored a season-high 49 points.

Dyami Starks

Dyami Starks

"There's no doubt that's a big game from Dyami, but it's a problem when he's scoring 49 points and you are losing a basketball game," Harvey said.

"There was no doubt he was outstanding, but our team defence was lacking at times, as was our urgency and communication.

"My philosophy in basketball is that defence wins you games.

"Offence will take care of itself."

 

Article courtesy of Kieran Iles and the Bendigo Advertiser

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