• Hornets grand final action
Horsham basketball leaders have quickly shifted focus onto the next Country Basketball League season after their elite teams fell short of clinching premiership success.
Horsham Hornets coach Cam Bruce and Horsham Lady Hornets leader Gareth Hiscock confirmed that planning was already underway as part of a continual improvement charter.
The Hornets fell short of upsetting South West division men’s favourite Mt Gambier by 10 points in a grand final at Horsham Basketball Stadium.
The result came after Horsham Lady Hornets came off second-best, 67-84 in a women’s South West play-off.
Hornets coach Cam Bruce, who has immediately declared his willingness to lead the men’s team next season, said while the result was disappointing he was proud of how his team had performed in the showdown.
“Mt Gambier was the team to beat and it was always going to be a tough ask,” he said.
“It was disappointing to get so close, but there has to be a winner and loser.
“We played really well but they just played better on the night.
“Who knows, on another night it might have been a different result.
“The effort and intensity shown by the team was really pleasing.”
Mt Gambier won the contest 92-82 in front of a packed Horsham crowd.
Kane De Wit was shining for the visitors with a game-high 28 points and enjoying support from Matthew Berkefeld and Sam Stafford.
Brett Goodgame was also on song for the Hornets, posting 27 points, ahead of Tim Pickert, 20, and Matt Lovel, 17.
Bruce said he felt the Hornets remained close to winning an elusive CBL title after getting close on three occasions.
“We have a break up until September and will play in the local A Grade competition to keep fit and maintain touch with the basketball,” he said.
“We’ll then see who puts their hand up, but I’m definitely interested in coaching again – although that will be up to the association board.
“I feel we’re close and need to simply work on little things, things we have to tighten up.
“We’re still developing younger players. They will only get better as they gain experience.
“I would love this group to stick together, but that will be tough considering kids are always on the move.
“We have a lot of junior talent coming through.
“The kids are just getting better and better.
“The future is definitely bright for Horsham basketball.”
Gareth Hiscock was happy in the knowledge that in four years the Horsham Lady Hornets had played in three grand finals and a semi-final.
“Just like any other mainstream sport we’ve started recruiting already,” he said.
“We can’t rest on our laurels and have some potential recruits in place already.
“The group will only get stronger, which it must, because the competition is getting stronger every year.
“If we don’t look at our deficiencies we will get left behind.
“We have to go out and continually refresh our group.
“We will have the core of this year’s group and have high hopes that Sophie Alexander will come back.”
The Lady Hornets went close to winning back-to-back titles but ultimately came off second best to a strong Corio Bay Stingrays team. “It came back to us missing opportunities while they dropped their foul shots,” Hiscock said.
“Realistically we don’t have to find a lot, we just need to polish up on things.
“We shot poorly and you can’t win grand finals if that happens.
“They got an early break on us and had early momentum.
“We kept persisting to try to swing the pendulum but it didn’t happen.”
Hiscock confirmed assistant coach and veteran Sharon Fedke had retired.
“What Sharon has offered, particularly with the young list, has been invaluable,” he said.
On Saturday night Alexander shot 14 points and Caitlin Story and Alexandra Hiscock also made it into double figures.
Jessica Mcdonald led the Stingrays assault, hitting 20 points and Tegan and Tahli Tatlock and Dusty Evans were also busy under the ring.www
AGAINST THE TIDE: Left, Horsham Lady Hornets player Georgia Hiscock attempts to charge through Corio Stingrays opponents during Country Basketball League women’s south west grand final at Horsham Basketball Stadium. Below, Horsham Hornets star Tim Pickert was also on the move and in the thick of the action in a men’s grand final against Mt Gambier Lakers, also at the Horsham stadium.