Benalla again fell at the last hurdle against rivals Myrtleford Saints on Sunday afternoon, going down by 12 points at Myrtleford Recreation Reserve.
Without key starters Sam Burrowes and Sam Mickelson, as well as youngster Cooper Nichols, Benalla went into the clash under ripe.
But it was Tom Moloney who took up the challenge early, scoring heavily in the opening term.
But things took a turn for the worst for Benalla when Moloney dislocated his finger, sending him to the bench for a solid spell.
“Tom came off in that first quarter, but we were able to strap it back up and he went back on,” Armstrong said.
“We lost a bit of momentum when he came off the court though.”
In a disappointing second term, the Saints turned the tables on the Breakers, taking back the lead before going on to post a margin of 11 by half time.
The Breakers brought it back within seven ahead of the final term, before getting within five mid way through the final quarter.
But Benalla eventually ran out of puff, with the final margin stretching out to 12.
Lachy Kego once again showed he is one of the premier scorers in the competition, sinking 25 points, though it was the consistency across the Saints list that got them the win.
“Lachy's having an outstanding season to date,” Armstrong said.
“He's had a couple seasons in at Big V level now, and he is living up to what he is capable of.
“He's starting to work out how big he is, and is reaping the rewards.”
With Benalla's omissions came opportunities for other to step up, with Riley Kego and teen Hamish Teichert impressing Armstrong.
“Riley played more minutes than ever before,” the coach said.
“And Hamish played his best game of the season.
“He started, and played his role well.”
This weekend, Benalla will need to contend with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday, facing Seymour and Wangaratta on their home court.
“We're looking forward to the weekend, and are hoping to get a good crowd,” Armstrong said.
“We need to win both games so we stay in contention for finals.
“Hopefully we'll iron out our deficiencies, and adapt our defence to suit the match better.”
Final score: Benalla Breakers 67 defeated by Myrtleford Saints 79
Top scorers: Lachy Kego 25, Tom Moloney 14
● Benalla Lady Breakers failed to match a stronger Myrtleford Saints line up on Sunday.
Saints scorer Abbey Zamperoni was again on fire, hitting 27 points including four 3-pointers.
Benalla’s Lillian Armstrong provided a solid scoring option in what was her first game of the season for the Breakers, scoring seven points, including a 3-point shot.
The Lady Breakers were again under served, with Isabella Riley, skipper Loni McBay and youngster Madison Gray key omissions.
Final score: Benalla Lady Breakers 23 defeated by Myrtleford Saints 107
Top scorers: Lillian Armstrong 7, Chelsea Gilcrist 6