The Villawood Bendigo Spirit has continued its remarkable run, with a win for the ages against the Melbourne Boomers on Sunday afternoon.
The Boomers team, with three WNBA stars and three Opals, succumbed to the tough style of play the talented Spirit outfit has perfected in the latter part of the season.
Remarkable defence and fast offence saw the Spirit hold off Melbourne to win 68-65, in a game with a lot of similarities to Bendigo’s first win against the Boomers in early December.
There was nothing much between the teams all night, with Melbourne going into the first break 20-17 on the back of 16 points in the key.
Bendigo adjusted brilliantly in the second quarter, leading by two at half time.
Tessa Lavey was on fire early, with 12 points to half time and a very hot mid-court jump shot.
The third quarter was the toughest one for the match, Bendigo winning it 13-11, heading into the final quarter with a two-point lead.
Spirit star Maddie Garrick was warrior-like off the ball in the third quarter, with some quality defensive work against Melbourne’s two star imports.
That set the game up for a heavyweight finish. And Bendigo delivered.
Bendigo kept Melbourne to just one point for the first half of the last quarter, pushing the lead out to 11.
As Melbourne fought back, a key three-pointer from Cassidy McLean put the game out of reach for the Boomers.
Anneli Maley again top-scored for Bendigo, with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Lavey finished with 16 points and Garrick 13.
The Spirit’s bench contributed 15 points in the game, and Bendigo’s defensive efforts were highlighted with 13 points from Melbourne turnovers.
Coach Tracy York was ecstatic with the Spirit’s third win in a row, and fifth from the past six games.
“This was yet another terrific performance by the Spirit girls,” she said.
“It was four quarters of quality, fast basketball and lock-down defense, especially in the second half.
“The belief, poise, resilience and effort from this group is outstanding. I am very proud of them.”
The Spirit hosts the Sydney Flames at the Bendigo Stadium 5pm Saturday.
Photo: Getty Images