The Weekly Advertiser

Grand final showdown for Hornets men and women

EFFORT: Horsham Hornets tall Damien Skurrie contributed 12 points in his team’s semi-final win over the Blazers and will again be a key player during Saturday night’s grand final against Bendigo. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

EFFORT: Horsham Hornets tall Damien Skurrie contributed 12 points in his team’s semi-final win over the Blazers and will again be a key player during Saturday night’s grand final against Bendigo. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

By SARAH SCULLY
Horsham Hornets leaders have called on the community to support their tilt for men’s and women’s Country Basketball League titles on Saturday night.
Hornets playing coach Cam Bruce and Lady Hornets coach Gareth Hiscock want Horsham Basketball Stadium ‘packed to the rafters’ as their charges take on Bendigo for inaugural north-west conference flags.
Both Horsham teams are well versed in finals pressure, having contested several deciders in the league’s south-west conference. Both lost grand finals last year and are hoping for a reversal of fortune in the new conference.
The men booked their spot in Saturday night’s finale after a thrilling semi-final win over Maryborough at the weekend.
The Hornets got off to the better start but were forced to work hard for their four-point win after the Blazers stood up in the second half.
Bruce said he was relieved the showdown ended in triumph.
“I didn’t think we played as well as we could have. But in saying that, Maryborough played well and forced us to make errors,” he said.
“I can’t complain too much, we still manufactured the win even though we didn’t play well.”
Bruce paid tribute to the Hornets’ followers for their support.
“We started really well but after Maryborough got going and came back at us the crowd really lifted,” he said.
“They were the main difference for us. The crowd can be intimidating when it’s up and about and hopefully it’ll be like that again this week for both the men’s and women’s games.”
Bruce said his charges looked forward to taking on Bendigo, which booked its grand final spot with a convincing 21-point victory over Mildura.
PHOTOS | VIDEO | Horsham Hornets men’s and women’s teams through to CBL grand-finals

“Obviously we have a really big challenge ahead of us,” he said.
“They have some very good players we need to be wary of, including Matt Andronicos, who is a national league player. He’s six-foot-ten and really clogs up the court, making it difficult to score.”
Tanner Rayner, 28, and Andronicos, 18, were on fire for the Braves last week, while Tim Pickert, 20, continued to lead the Hornets’ charge alongside Matt Lovel, 13, and Damien Skurrie, 12.
Bruce said a team effort was vital this week. “We will need different players to step up at different times of the game,” he said.
“That’s how grand finals are played. You can’t just rely on one person. Everybody needs to bring something.
“We will focus on limiting mistakes and hard defence – if we can do that we’re in with a really good shot.”
Women’s final
Hiscock said the Lady Hornets’ semi-final match against Kyneton allowed his side to blow out the cobwebs after a long layoff.
“We were obviously rusty, which was to be expected, but I thought the girls fought really hard,” he said.
“I kept saying to them throughout the game, ‘keep going, the reward for your effort will come’.”
Hiscock said the Tigers had several tall players who made life difficult.
“We had to curb their influence and I thought Beck McIntyre and especially Caity Story did a great job,” he said.
“For Caity to do that plus score 18 points of her own was sensational.”
He said Ema Iredell was also crucial, contributing 19 points.
Her sister Maddie will make her way back into the side this week after being unavailable last week.
Hiscock said her inclusion would give him an extra rotation and was especially important given Jess Cannane rolled her ankle during last week’s match.
He said Cannane was likely to miss the grand final although she was doing everything possible to recover in time.
The Lady Hornets only dropped one game throughout the regular season, to Bendigo, and will not be keen to repeat the experience.
The Braves booked their spot with a 17-point win over Swan Hill.
Hiscock said his charges would be wary of Braves’ leading scorer Maddie Sexton while concentrating on their own game.
“They also have a couple of players who play in the SEABL over winter so if we can limit their input, our defence is strong and we have an even spread of scorers we will be okay,” he said.
“Hopefully the place is packed to the rafters. When you’re down to the last few minutes and you need an extra kick along the crowd really helps.”
The women will take to the court at 6pm, followed by the men at 8pm.
Ararat Redbacks
Ararat Redbacks fought hard in their south-west conference semi-final against Colac but were unable to get the better of the Kookas.
Zac Dunmore was outstanding in the loss with a 24-point haul, while Josh Fiegert, 18, also worked hard.
The Redbacks will be buoyed by a finals appearance in their first year back in the competition from a long hiatus and will look to push even further next season.
Colac will play reining premier Mt Gambier in the grand final, at Mt Gambier.

The entire February 7, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Feb 7 2018

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