The 2016 men’s MVP made a triumphant return to the league on the weekend, as Jeremy Kendle led the Bendigo Braves to a narrow victory over the Diamond Valley Eagles on opening night.
Kendle was the highest scorer in the competition two years ago while also claiming the league MVP and Grand Final MVP and he proved that he has lost none of his touch with 36 points, two rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
His points total came on 14-25 (56%) shooting and while he almost took double the amount of shots of any team mate, Kendle is likely to be required to produce similar efforts each week if Bendigo are to repeat their result from 2016.
Taking on Diamond Valley in their first ever SEABL game, the Braves were tasked with handling the emotion of the contest and did their best to quieten the crowd with a 22-19 opening quarter.
Kendle scored six of Bendigo’s first 12 points with two long-range bombs and he then tallied 11 points in the second term including a three-point buzzer-beater on the half-time siren that capped a 25-16 quarter.
He also added three assists including two impressive dishes inside to import Ray Turner and two steals before starting the third period with another bucket.
It proved to be his only make for the term though as the Eagles made a run, reducing the deficit to one at the final change.
However, Kendle was saving his best for last and he scored 13 of Bendigo’s 15 points in the fourth quarter, responding personally to any shot that Diamond Valley were able to make.
The Eagles were still up by three points with just over three minutes remaining but Kendle scored the final four points of the game to clinch a memorable return in Bendigo colours.
Jeremy Kendle Round 1 Stats: 36 points on 14-25 (56%) shooting including 4-12 (33%) three-point shooting, two rebounds (one offensive), seven assists and four steals.