The Braves’ quest for back-to-back titles took a major hit when they were thrashed 98-78 by the Dandenong Rangers.
The Lady Braves soared to the top of the women’s south conference table when they scored a stunning 66-60 win over fellow championship contender Dandenong.
The Lady Braves were without star point guard Kelly Wilson because of injury, but in her absence Chloe Bibby produced one of the best individual performances of the season to guide her side to victory.
Bibby scored 31 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added two assists, two steals and one block.
Bibby played all 40 minutes of the game as the Lady Braves led by as many as 14 points against the team that was on the top of the ladder going into Saturday night’s clash.
Chante Black and Ashley Rininger added 11 points each for the Lady Braves.
The victory lifted the Lady Braves to a 12-4 record, one game clear of Dandenong 11-5, with Launceston (10-6) third after its 84-65 loss to east conference power Geelong.
While the Lady Braves are flying, the Braves are in a big battle to make the top four.
After losing to Frankston by 12 points last round, the Braves slumped to a 20-point defeat to Dandenong.
The Braves jumped out of the blocks to lead the Rangers by eight points at quarter-time, but the final three quarters were a different story.
The home side outscored the Braves 31-16 in the second term and then won the second half 45-32 to hand Bendigo its second-heaviest defeat of the season.
Dandenong did a great job of containing Braves’ stars C.J. Aiken and Dyami Starks.
Aiken was held to 13 points – seven below his average, while Starks scored 12 points – 10 below his average.
Adam Doyle, 21 points and six assists, was the Braves best player, while youngster Jake Cowling gave them a spark off the bench with 12 points on 4-5 shooting.
The Braves (9-9) remain in fourth place on the south conference table, just ahead of North West Tasmania (8-9), now look unlikely to challenge for a top-two berth.
The Braves travel to the ACT next weekend to play bottom side Canberra Gunners. The Lady Braves also head to the ACT where they should beat the Canberra Capitals (5-10).