Hor­nets to build on mo­men­tum

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sports - BY COLIN MACGILLIVRAY

Hor­sham Lady Hor­nets can en­trench them­selves in the Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League south-west con­fer­ence top four on Satur­day as they look to build on the mo­men­tum of a hard-fought win at the week­end.

The Lady Hor­nets will host Terang Tor­na­does at Hor­sham Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium at 6pm af­ter gut­ting out a tough 69-63 win on the road against Mil­li­cent Magic on Sun­day.

Hor­sham built a 13-point three-quar­ter-time lead be­hind stel­lar team de­fence and with­stood a late fight-back from the Magic to seal the vic­tory.

It was an all-around scor­ing per­for­mance from the Lady Hor­nets, with four play­ers net­ting dou­ble fig­ures.

Lead­ing scorer Ema Ire­dell fouled out in the last quar­ter, but Caitlin Story, Shan­non Rein­heimer and Faith Mckenzie stepped up in the fi­nal min­utes to keep the score­board tick­ing over.

How­ever, it was on the de­fen­sive end of the court where Hor­sham shone.

Coach Damien Kil­patrick said the team had done its home­work on Mil­li­cent and knew the Magic had a dearth of out­side shoot­ers.

The Lady Hor­nets packed the paint and forced their op­po­nents into long jump shots.

It worked to great ef­fect, with the Magic’s Olivia Fuller – who had scored at least 18 points in each of her games this sea­son – held to just four for the af­ter­noon. Her team-mate Emily Win­ter put up a game-high 24 points but was made to work for ev­ery bas­ket.

“Of their two big guns, one only scored four and the other had 24 but fun­nily enough I don’t think she had a big in­flu­ence,” Kil­patrick said.

“We fo­cused on shut­ting down their two best play­ers and forced them to shoot out­side, be­cause they had only made seven three-point­ers all sea­son.

“The girls did a great job and they were pretty tired at the end be­cause it was a pretty phys­i­cal, ath­letic game.”

Kil­patrick praised the abil­ity of his squad to se­cure de­fen­sive re­bounds, not al­low­ing Mil­li­cent many sec­ond chance points.

He said the Lady Hor­nets would pre­pare for an­other tough match against Terang at the week­end.

The Tor­na­does are near the bot­tom of the lad­der with only one win from their four matches, but Kil­patrick said Hor­sham needed to main­tain its fo­cus.

“We have no idea what to ex­pect, be­cause pre­vi­ous re­sults don’t al­ways mean a lot,” he said.

“Jess Can­nane is away this week, but it gives op­por­tu­ni­ties for the next play­ers in line to have a crack.

“We go into ev­ery game with a point to prove, and this week will be no dif­fer­ent.”

Men

Ararat Red­backs face a chal­lenge to stay in the fi­nals race as they pre­pare for a home dou­ble-header against Co­lac Kookas and Port­land Coast­ers at the week­end.

The Red­backs were com­pet­i­tive in patches but ul­ti­mately un­suc­cess­ful in round four, as they lost 114-72 against Bac­chus Marsh Lions on Satur­day and 96-81 to Bel­lar­ine Storm on Sun­day.

Bac­chus Marsh sunk Ararat with a bar­rage of three-point­ers, with Lion Max Beau­mont net­ting eight triples on his way to a sea­son-high 42 points.

The Red­backs fared bet­ter against Bel­lar­ine but could not over­come a 15-point quar­ter-time deficit.

A stel­lar de­fen­sive ef­fort in the sec­ond quar­ter saw the vis­i­tors hold the Storm to seven points and draw within five at the long break, but Bel­lar­ine re-es­tab­lished a buf­fer through the hot shoot­ing of Nathan Friend and Jack Bur­nett in the sec­ond half.

DJ Woods led the way for Ararat in both games, scor­ing 22 and 25 re­spec­tively.

Ararat will now face two strug­gling op­po­nents, with Co­lac and Port­land each hav­ing won only one game for the sea­son.

Two wins would put the Red­backs back in the fi­nals hunt at 3-3, but two losses would see them drop dan­ger­ously close to the bot­tom of the lad­der.

Hor­sham Hor­nets will play one match in their re­turn from a bye, host­ing the win­less Hamil­ton Hur­ri­canes at Hor­sham Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium on Satur­day at 8pm.

The Hor­nets will en­ter the game as favourites and could fin­ish the round in sec­ond place on the lad­der with a win.

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