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15 January 2020
By SARAH SCULLY
Horsham Lady Hornets will look to pull out all the stops at the weekend as they face two crucial matches that will determine their fate in the 2019-20 Country Basketball League season.
The Lady Hornets are sitting sixth out of seven teams on the south-west conference ladder, but the intensely close competition means a finals berth is still in reach.
Coach Tony Sleep said his charges would be raring to go come Saturday night, with the Hornets hosting Geelong United at Horsham Basketball Stadium.
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“The competition is that tight that anyone in the top six could be a chance,” he said.
“I’m sure the CBL is very happy to have such a tight competition, but it certainly leaves us coaches with a few headaches.”
Sleep said his side needed to win both Saturday night’s clash with fourth-placed Geelong and Sunday’s encounter with bottom side Colac in order to qualify for post-season action.
“On Saturday night we need to win by 10 or more points, because of our head-to-head differential with Geelong,” he said.
“On Sunday, while they are on the bottom of the ladder, Colac was quite competitive in the first half against us last time, so we will need to play well.
“Ideally we would like to win both games by as much as we can.”
Sleep said the Lady Hornets had enjoyed a strong season ahead of the Christmas-New Year break, despite dropping a couple of close games.
He said if the Hornets could secure a finals spot they had as much chance of progressing as any other side.
“We would love the Horsham community to get behind us, particularly on Saturday night,” he said.
“Having a big home crowd makes a difference and we’d love to see everyone get down to the Hornets nest.”
Sleep said young gun Grace Manserra and veteran Rebecca McIntyre were unavailable on Saturday night due to representative basketball commitments, but he hoped they would take to the Horsham court on Sunday.
Sleep said he would look to Caitlin Dumesny and Faith McKenzie to continue their solid seasons, although any player on his team was capable of stepping up on the day.
“We get between eight and 10 points out of four or five players most weeks, so we don’t just rely on one or two players,” he said.
“Georgia Hiscock is capable of a big game, Liv Jones was shooting really well at a very good percentage before the break and youngster Imogen Worthy gave us some really crucial minutes in a bad game against Mt Gambier.
“She really got herself going, which for a 14-year-old in open women’s competition, shows plenty of positive signs.”
The Lady Hornets will host Geelong United at 5pm on Saturday and Colac Kookas at noon on Sunday.
Ararat Redbacks are ruing a 10-point loss to Portland at the weekend, shattering the team’s finals chances.
The Ararat outfit is sitting ninth and its slim finals hopes rest on the outcome of other matches.
A slow start proved costly for the Redbacks, who trailed by six points at the first break and again at half time.
The players regrouped for the third quarter and spurred on by an 11-point haul by Josh Fiegert, took a five-point buffer into the last quarter.
But the Redbacks were unable to capitalise on their advantage in an intense final term, with the home side making the most of their opportunities to steal the win, 98-88.
Fiegert finished with a game-high 29 points, with Jason Cameron contributing 23.
The Redbacks will regroup to host ladder leader Geelong United at Ararat Fitness Centre at 7pm before travelling to Terang on Sunday to take on the Tornadoes at 1pm.
The Redbacks will have their fingers crossed things fall their way.
Horsham Hornets will take to their home court against Colac on Sunday following a win over Terang last week.
Leading scorers Tim Pickert, 30, and Jeremiah McKenzie, 28, again led the way on the scoreboard, with a strong spread of scorers involved in the victory, 107-91.
Veteran Robbie Fry, 4, scored his first points for the season since returning to the court for the Hornets, and youngsters Jude Kilpatrick and Max and Cody Bryan gained valuable senior experience.
The Hornets have their eyes on the prize this season and will not want to drop a game to the Kookas as they look to secure a top-two finish.
Tip off is at 2pm.
Stawell Wildcats will play their last match of the season since rejoining the competition and are set to host Geelong at 1pm on Sunday.
The Wildcats endured another tough weekend, falling short of Warrnambool Seahawks by 72 points on Saturday and Terang Tornadoes by 80 points on Sunday.
Despite a healthy spread of scorers, the figures were not strong enough to trouble the Wildcats’ higher-ranked opponents.
The entire January 15, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!