File size must be less than 2Mb
You must have online publishing permission or full ownership of this image
File types (jpg, png, gif)
07 February 2024
By Sean o’connell
An eventful weekend has resulted in Horsham Hornets men’s team qualifying for a home grand final, while the Hornets women’s season has come to an end.
The Hornets men will have an enthusiastic home crowd behind them when their grand final against Mt Gambier Lakers begins at 8pm on Saturday at Horsham Basketball Stadium.
Article continues below
To conclude the women’s competition, Mt Gambier Lakers take on Portland Coasters from 5.15pm at the Horsham venue.
In their previous matches against the Lakers, the Hornets men have had mixed results.
The Horsham team recorded a six-point away win in round five and an eight-point loss at home in round 10.
Both teams came out of the blocks quickly on Saturday, as the Hornets men hoped a first win of the season against Portland Coasters would secure them a south-west conference grand final place.
The Hornets converted 27 points in the first term to the Coasters’ 23 in an entertaining start for spectators.
The game tightened up throughout the second and third quarters, but the Hornets narrowly increased their advantage to take a 13-point lead into the final quarter.
An offensive surge from the Coasters, in which they decreased the Hornets’ lead to seven, ultimately proved to be too little, too late.
Cody Bryan was the main offensive outlet for the Hornets with 22 points, followed by Mitch Martin, 17, and Austin McKenzie and Matthew Brown, both 16.
The Coasters, who secured two narrow wins against the Hornets earlier this season, relied on Nathan Hardingham, 24, Toby Jennings, 15, and Hayden Annett, 14, for their scoring.
The same fixture took place at the alternate location of Portland Basketball Stadium in the women’s second semi-final.
The Hornets travelled for the match as underdogs, having lost twice to the Coasters during the year and finishing the regular season one place below them on the ladder.
The Hornets were competitive for much of the game and had a manageable nine-point deficit going into the half.
A scoring onslaught from the Coasters in the third quarter went on to break the game open for the home team, who recorded a game-high 29 points in the term.
With a mountain to climb to finish the game, the Hornets managed to curtail the Coasters’ offense, but were unable to the decrease the margin and finished 24 points behind.
Austin McKenzie was awarded leading scorer in the men’s south-west conference for the season, having scored 355 points, while fellow Hornet Ema Iredell was the highest scorer in the women’s competition with 152.
Ararat Redbacks’ south-west conference men’s season concluded at the end of January, with the team some way below finals qualification on the ladder.
The entire February 7, 2024 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!