The Bendigo Young Lady Braves have waited twelve long months for the perfect opportunity to seek revenge on the Wodonga Lady Wolves, the team that defeated them in last year’s Country Basketball League North East Conference Grand Final.
The two dominate forces in the North East over the past two years will contest a mouth-watering Grand Final replay tomorrow night, only this time it will be on the Braves home court. Both teams have excelled throughout the 2016/17 season with neither team losing a game to any other opponent. The only loss recorded between the two teams came in the second round on October 15 last year when the Lady Braves got home in a nail bitter by five points in Wodonga.
The Lady Braves come in to the grand final having easily accounted for Wangaratta and Wallan in the quarter and semi-finals by 50 and 46 points respectively. Similarly the Wolves run in the grand final has been just as comfortable, defeating Castlemaine in the quarter finals by 38 points before taking care of Swan Hill in last weekend’s semi-final clash by 29 points.
Young Lady Braves Coach Megan Moody is excited about the game saying “it’s a chance for us to atone for a disappointing loss last year”. “Both teams have had great seasons and we are expecting a really tough game”. Moody went on to say that “Wodonga are well coached by Paul Green and have a line-up of experienced players in Sarah Mellington, Rachel Jeffery and Tenille Collins, not to mention 16 year old Steph Gorman and Rebecca Guglielmino averaging 18 points per game.
The Young Lady Braves will have virtually the same 12 players they have had all season, welcoming back Maddy White to the line-up after she missed both the quarter and semi-final due to relocating to Western Australia for work several weeks ago. Not wanting to miss out on what will be a perfect season for the Young Lady Braves should they take out the Championship, White flew in on Thursday for the final training session and will make her way back to Perth on Sunday.
Scoring has been a feature for both teams this season with the Lady Braves averaging 94 points a game courtesy of Madi Sexton, Jessie Rennie and Tahnee Cannan. Last year the trio could only manage to combine for 9 points in the grand final but this year have averaged more than 46 points per game. Throw in Charlotte Brancatisano averaging nearly 10 points a game and the league leading three point shooter Danielle O’Toole averaging more than 13 points a game and we are set for an all-out attack on the defending champions.
As has been the case all year, the Young Lady Braves will be looking for tremendous support off the bench from Elisa Pica, Shardae Sharp, Sharna Appleby, Taylor Stibbe, Hayley Harrington and Kate Douglass.
The game will tip off at 6pm on Court 1 at the Bendigo Stadium, doors open at 5pm. The grand final of the Men’s conference will also be played at the Bendigo Stadium between the Seymour Blasters and the Shepparton Gators. Tip off for that match is scheduled for 8pm.