The Maryborough Blazers hosted their final home games of the year, with both the men’s and women’s squads playing double headers.
The Bendigo Braves hold first place on both the men’s and women’s North West Division ladder and were the ultimate test for the Blazers, both ranked second, on Saturday night.
The Lady Blazers kicked the weekend off with tenacity claiming a three-point win over their top of the ladder opponent.
The Blazers had established an 11-point lead with just a few minutes left in the first term, but the Braves hit the board several times to sit just seven points in arrears at quarter time.
Bendigo got to work from the outset of the second, keeping Maryborough scoreless for more than five minutes.
Keisha Tonzing broke the Blazers’ silence with consecutive twos to put Maryborough back in front by one point as the sides battled to gain the upper hand before half time.
Tonzing added another four points, while Maddy Egan shot one goal before the siren, seeing the Blazers at 32-29 at the main break.
The third quarter offered no relief for either side, with the narrow deficit sustaining right up until scores were evened by Bendigo at 39-all with 2:40 left on the clock.
The Braves struck with another basket just seconds later, with the lead firmly in their grasp.
Millie Cracknell was Maryborough’s cure for this, scoring five points in the last two minutes to gift the home side an unbelievably close 44-41 advantage heading into the decider.
For more on this story see Page 37 of The Advertiser, Friday, December 13