Junior Hornets start with a win
Horsham Hornets under-16 boys sent a strong message to the rest of country Victoria when they launched their state title defence with stellar performances at Swan Hill at the weekend.
Coach Damien Kilpatrick said the Swan Hill Junior Tournament marked his charges’ first representative tournament together since winning an under-14 junior country state championship in April 2016.
He said he was thrilled with his team, which recorded strong division-one victories over Mildura, Bendigo, Wangaratta and Swan Hill counterparts.
The Hornets defeated Wangaratta Warriors-barker to win the grand final 46-22.
While the results were clearly in the Hornets’ favour, coach Kilpatrick said his charges played ‘hard basketball’ to triumph in the tournament.
“It was no walk in the park,” he said.
“They worked hard in defence, holding teams to an average of 26 points, but their offence was just as good, averaging 58 points for the tournament. At the end of the day, we were a lot fitter than the other teams and they couldn’t keep up with us.”
Kilpatrick said the Horsham basketballers had completed a 12-week fitness program as well as working on skills and structures.
“It is our title-defence year so we have been working pretty hard,” he said.
“At this stage we are a division-one team so the result we got in the tournament is the one we needed to get.
“The good news is Sam Breuer, one of our top-line players, is still to return from injury. We’re not even at full strength yet.”
Ben Hobbs was the tournament’s most valuable player.
“Ben top-scored for the tournament and our centre Austin Mckenzie was the second-highest scorer,” Kilpatrick said.
“Harley Pope looked after the ball beautifully. He was unbelievable in defence.
“It really was a great team effort though, everyone played their part.”
Hornets girls teams also contested the tournament, competing in the under-14 and under-16 divisions.
The under-14s scored two wins from four pool games and were knocked out in the semi-finals, while the under-16s also made it to the semis following victories over Sharks and Swan Hill Flyers but fell short of Wangaratta.
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association also sent teams to the 2017 Junior Seaside Classic in Warrnambool at the weekend.
Horsham junior representative director and under-12 coach Tony Sleep said the under-14 and under-14 Blue teams made it through to consolation finals, with the under-12 boys finishing third in their pool following an exciting draw, a win and two losses.
“There is plenty of upside to these guys with the way they play and having their first tournament under their belt will only hold them in good stead,” he said.
Sleep congratulated all players on their performances throughout the weekend.