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12 January 2022
By Michael Scalzo
Fresh from a Christmas break, Horsham Hornets men’s and women’s basketball teams hit the court at the weekend for a round-five double-header to restart their 2021-22 Country Basketball League campaigns.
With ladder-defining games to follow this weekend in another two-game round for both sides, the Hornets should be well-rehearsed to meet Surfcoast Chargers in Torquay on Saturday before returning home to play Warrnambool on Sunday.
Both teams started the weekend at the Hornets nest on Saturday night, with the men taking on Colac Kookas and women coming up against Mt Gambier.
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While the women’s team was overrun in the end by the Lakers 63-85, the men’s team managed to hand the Kookas their first loss of the season, taking the win 73-68.
Both teams started early on Sunday as they hit the road, heading to meet Portland Coasters in the afternoon in a big first weekend back after the break.
Portland was too strong for both sides, with the women going down 55-60 and the men suffering a 13-point loss, 76-89.
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Jon Fitzgerald said he was ‘super’ proud of both teams playing against two tough match ups.
He said the men’s team played one of the best games he had seen, against Colac on Saturday night.
“It was backs-against-the-wall sort of stuff – undermanned and undersized against an undefeated and full-strength Colac side,” he said.
Mr Fitzgerald said with three of the side’s strongest players, Matthew Brown, Matthew Lovel and Jake Hobbs out for the game, Horsham Hornets stalwart Tim Wade was ‘amazing’.
There were selection headaches for the woman’s side as well, with COVID-19 issues resulting in two team spots opening up for a couple young players to step in at short notice. Olivia Brilliant and Jesse Lakin made the jump to seniors.
“Covid issues meant we had to fiddle with our woman’s team this weekend, but it also meant that there were big opportunities for a couple of younger players to get a taste of senior basketball,” Fitzgerald said.
Neither side could find a win in Portland on Sunday. Fitzgerald said without a home-court advantage and with COVID-19 policies preventing spectators from cheering them on, everyone’s effort was fantastic, given the circumstances.
Wade, after a great game on Saturday night in his 199th senior men’s game, played his 200th senior game on Sunday.
Portland presented Wade with a Portland guernsey after the game.
Fitzgerald said Wade, 39, was a ‘legend’ of Horsham basketball and it was great to see him given the accolades he deserved.
Men’s team coach Scott Benbow said Wade had been a part of the club for the best part of 20 years and was a natural leader.
“He’s unreal. He was unbelievable on Saturday night, he played like he was 30,” Benbow said.
The Horsham Hornets also hosted a ‘Change Our Game’ initiative for the South-West Conference on Saturday evening in support of a drive to increase female participation in sport.
“It is such a brilliant initiative and we are incredibly proud to be a part of it all,” Fitzgerald said.
“It is so important we do what we can do get more young girls into playing sport.”
The entire January 12, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!