Hor­nets pre­pare for un­known

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGILLIVR­AY

Hor­sham Hor­nets will ven­ture into the un­known at the week­end with a dou­ble-header against Coun­try Bas­ket­ball League new­com­ers Bac­chus Marsh Lions and Wim­mera ri­vals Ararat Red­backs.

The Hor­nets will play Bac­chus Marsh at Hor­sham Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium at 8pm on Satur­day be­fore trav­el­ling to face the Red­backs at 1pm in Ararat on Sun­day.

Hor­sham has never faced ei­ther team, hav­ing played last sea­son in the CBL’S north-west con­fer­ence, while Ararat de­buted in the south-west con­fer­ence.

The Hor­nets re-joined the south-west con­fer­ence this sea­son af­ter claim­ing last sea­son’s north-west con­fer­ence ti­tle and made an im­me­di­ate im­pact with an 80-54 win against Port­land at Hor­sham on Satur­day.

Play­ing coach Cam Bruce said he was keen to take to the court for the first time af­ter miss­ing out at the week­end.

Bruce said Hor­sham was ea­ger to face two new op­po­nents, but ad­mit­ted the team did not know ex­actly what to ex­pect.

“With Bac­chus Marsh it will be a bit of wait and see,” he said.

“We know a few of their play­ers from Big V com­pe­ti­tion where a few of them played for Mel­ton and Sun­bury.

“It looks like they have a pretty young team, but they have a lot of re­cruit­ing power and I think they’ll be one of the teams to watch this sea­son.”

Bruce also has a per­sonal con­nec­tion with the Lions, hav­ing played un­der Bac­chus Marsh co-coach Shannon Peter­son at Sun­bury.

He said he ex­pected an equally tough test from Ararat af­ter the Red­backs made the fi­nals in their de­but CBL sea­son.

“They’re our lo­cal ri­vals in a way, so we hope we can have a tough, com­pet­i­tive game with them,” he said.

“If we can cre­ate and build that ri­valry with com­pet­i­tive matches, then it cre­ates a lot of in­ter­est and it’s good for bas­ket­ball in the area.”

The Hor­nets ben­e­fit­ted from an even scor­ing spread against Port­land, with four play­ers reach­ing dou­ble fig­ures.

Jeremiah Mcken­zie led all scor­ers with 21 points, while big man Damien Skur­rie added 15.

Guard Tim Pick­ert scored 14 points and con­nected on three, three-point at­tempts.

Bruce said the Hor­nets would re­quire mul­ti­ple con­trib­u­tors again if they hoped to have two suc­cess­ful out­ings at the week­end.

“One of our strengths is that we have a cou­ple of play­ers who are handy scor­ers, but we do have plenty of oth­ers who can also pitch in,” he said.

“It would be handy if we could get that sort of con­tri­bu­tion from ev­ery­one again, but it might be a big ask against the op­po­si­tion we’re play­ing.”

Jake Hobbs will miss again with a ham­string in­jury, while Bruce is the only in­clu­sion to the side.

Lady Hor­nets

Hor­sham Lady Hor­nets are also gear­ing up for a dou­ble-header, with a 6pm home game against Co­lac Kookas on Satur­day be­fore trav­el­ling to the coast to take on the Bel­lar­ine Storm at 1pm on Sun­day.

The Lady Hor­nets are com­ing off a nar­row loss to Port­land at the week­end, go­ing down 56-50 at home.

The team was hurt by the loss of ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers Jess Can­nane, Shannon Rein­heimer and Liv Jones, but coach Damien Kilpatrick said Can­nane and Rein­heimer were likely to re­turn to the line-up on Satur­day.

“They’ll make a big dif­fer­ence to our ro­ta­tions,” he said.

“We’re still a work in progress so it will be good to have some more ex­pe­ri­ence back in the team.”

Kilpatrick said the team’s rel­a­tive in­ex­pe­ri­ence was com­pounded by this sea­son’s move back to the CBL south­west con­fer­ence, which he de­scribed as more com­pet­i­tive than the north­west con­fer­ence. “Co­lac was very com­pet­i­tive in its two games against good op­po­nents and Bel­lar­ine had a win and then a big loss to a very good team in Mil­li­cent,” Kilpatrick said.

“Ev­ery game this sea­son is go­ing to be tough – this is a much harder con­fer­ence than last year’s con­fer­ence.”

De­spite the close fi­nal score against Port­land on Satur­day, the Hor­nets trailed all game and were largely out­classed by the Coast­ers.

Ema Ire­dell tried valiantly to lead the Lady Hor­nets back, scor­ing nine points in the fi­nal two and a half min­utes and fin­ish­ing with a game­high 21 points, but a lack of scor­ing sup­port and lack­adaisi­cal de­fence doomed the home team.

Kilpatrick said there were plenty of ar­eas his team needed to ad­dress this week­end.

“It was the first time the girls had played un­der me, and we’ve only trained three times with the whole team,” he said.

“There were patches where you could see some pos­i­tives, but we need a lot of im­prove­ment.

“De­fence is the big­gest el­e­ment want to im­prove.

“The zone the girls were play­ing was very sloppy, and I want to be able to play man-on-man de­fence but some of the girls aren’t ready for that yet.”

I

TOUGH GO­ING: Hor­sham Hor­net Ema Ire­dell and Port­land’s Alana Strom dive for the ball dur­ing Satur­day’s clash, in which Ire­dell scored a game-high 21 points. Pic­ture: PAUL CARRACHER

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