Hor­nets down Red­backs

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport - BY COLIN MACGIL­LIVRAY

Hor­sham Hor­nets main­tained their Wim­mera supremacy with a 30-point win against Ararat Red­backs at Hor­sham Bas­ket­ball Sta­dium on Fri­day night, but coaches of both sides see scope for im­prove­ment.

The Hor­nets got out to an early lead against the Red­backs in their sec­ond meet­ing of the sea­son, main­tain­ing the as­cen­dancy through­out an 86-56 win.

Hor­sham looked sharp from the open­ing tip, jump­ing into pass­ing lanes on de­fense and push­ing the ball quickly off of turnovers.

It gen­er­ated plenty of easy tran­si­tion scores for the home team, with Tim Pick­ert and Matt Lovel help­ing put the Hor­nets up 22-4 late in the quar­ter.

Ararat, miss­ing con­fer­ence-lead­ing scorer Zac Dun­more through in­jury, looked as if it might be routed, but dug its heels in and ¿QDOO\ VWDUWHG JHWWLQJ VWRSV DQG VFRUHV

For­wards Lo­gan Spark, Toby Smith and Josh Fiegert gave the Red­backs a boost in WKH ODWH ¿UVW DQG HDUO\ VHFRQG TXDUWHUV DQG helped the vis­i­tors turn the game into a scrappy af­fair.

Although Ararat never truly threat­ened to UHWDNH WKH OHDG LW ZDV DEOH WR VWRS WKH ÀRZ of Hor­sham bas­kets.

Guard Sam Cronin was a clear stand­out for the Red­backs, scor­ing a team-high 10 points and do­ing a su­perb job de­fen­sively on Hor­sham’s Jeremiah Mcken­zie.

Mcken­zie was no­tably sub­dued, held to just four points after scor­ing more than 20 in his pre­vi­ous three games. Mcken­zie wasn’t the only Hor­net to strug­gle with his shot, as the team failed to nail sev­eral open looks IURP WKH SHULPHWHU LQ WKH ¿UVW KDOI

Mitch Martin shook Hor­sham out of its shoot­ing slump with 12 straight points ei­ther side of three-quar­ter-time, in­clud­ing back-to­back three point­ers.

0DUWLQ ¿QLVKHG ZLWK SRLQWV ZKLOH /RYHO and Pick­ert had 20 apiece.

Ararat’s DJ Woods bat­tled through ill­ness WR ¿QLVK ZLWK VHYHQ SRLQWV ZKLOH &URQLQ Spark, Fiegert and Adan Wisby all chipped in on the score­sheet.

Red­backs coach Mar­cus Jenk­ins said he was pleased his side – short­handed with Woods’ ill­ness and in­juries to Dun­more and Jay­den Wright – had bat­tled all night.

“I was very happy to keep them be­low 100, and to keep one of their lead­ing scor­ers in ‘Jezza’ Mcken­zie to four points is re­ally good team bas­ket­ball,” he said.

“Sam Cronin killed it – that was one of our aims this week was to keep Jezza quiet.”

Hor­nets play­ing coach Cam Bruce said his team’s fast start had been en­cour­ag­ing, but WKHUH ZHUH VWLOO ÀDZV WR LURQ RXW

“We aim to get 10 fast­break points a quarWHU DQG ZH JRW ZLWKLQ WKH ¿UVW ¿YH PLQ utes purely be­cause we were play­ing with re­ally good de­fen­sive in­ten­sity,” he said.

“Our start is some­thing we’ve been work­ing on, so I’m happy with that but it’s just about putting through four quar­ters.

“Hope­fully we’ll work to­wards that in the next cou­ple of weeks.”

The Hor­nets will face their tough­est test of the sea­son when they take on fel­low un­de­feated team Mount Gam­bier for top spot on the south-west con­fer­ence lad­der in a Satur­day night road game.

They travel to play Port­land Coast­ers on 6XQGD\ LQ ZKDW FRXOG EH D VHDVRQ GH¿QLQJ road trip.

Ararat will make a trip to Gee­long to take on the Su­per­cats on Satur­day, be­fore re­turn­ing home to host Terang Tor­na­does on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Jenk­ins said his side be­lieved it could win both games and keep its sea­son alive.

“Hope­fully we can build on this game, and if we play good team bas­ket­ball we can win both of them,” he said.

“We had a lot of close misses at the bas­ket and our shots weren’t drop­ping, so if we start con­vert­ing some of those we know we can be com­pet­i­tive with the best teams.”

Lady Hor­nets

Hor­sham Lady Hor­nets will emerge rested from a bye at the week­end to take on the Port­land Coast­ers on Sun­day.

Port­land got the bet­ter of Hor­sham in the ¿UVW PDWFK RI WKH VHDVRQ EXW WKH /DG\ +RU nets have not lost a game since.

The sides oc­cupy the top two spots on the lad­der with iden­ti­cal 4-1 records, with Port­land nar­rowly ahead of Hor­sham on per­cent­age.

,W ZLOO EH WKH ¿QDO PHHWLQJ RI WKH VHDVRQ IRU WKH VLGHV XQOHVV WKH\ PHHW LQ ¿QDOV JLY ing the win­ner a big boost in the race for the mi­nor pre­mier­ship.

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