WITH a month to go until tip-off, Horsham Hornets’ Country Basketball League preparations are in full swing.
Both the men’s and women’s sides have been busy recruiting in the lead up to the 2013-14 season.
Tim Pickert will be playing-coach of the men’s side, while Steve Bruce will be his assistant.
Bruce believes the side will have a good mix of youth and experience for the coming season.
“I don’t think the balance has been quite right in the past few seasons,” he said.
Guard Cam Bruce returns to the Hornets after quitting midway through last season, with former Big V player Matt Lovel also back in the fray.
Youngster James Hallett and Brenton O’Bryan will both come across from Stawell Wildcats.
The big man department will be bolstered by football ruckmen Daniel ‘Monster’ McEldrew, Nhill, and Jake Hobbs, Kalkee.
Hobbs’ brother Matt Hobbs has also expressed his interest, as has ‘livewire’ guard Jay Gasparini.
Under-age Victorian representative Darcy Tucker should recover from a thumb injury in time for round one.
Former coach Damien Kilpatrick and Tim Wade have not put their hands up for another season.
Last season’s best and fairest Mark Dorward will be overseas for the summer and will not play, while Mal Harvey and Dylan Taylor have relocated to Melbourne.
The Hornets were bundled out of last season’s semi-finals by Corio Bay, but Bruce feels he has the cattle to improve.
Sharon Fedke will lead the women’s team in their inaugural CBL campaign and will be assisted by Gareth Hiscock.
Fedke said there was some good numbers at training and plenty of positives signs.
“I’m certainly excited about it and it’s great to have the opportunity to play representative basketball again,” she said.
“I’ve been in Horsham now for 10 years and there hasn’t been a senior representative team the whole time.”
Fedke will bring a wealth of experience to the side from her Big V days with Echuca.
She has convinced a number of her Horsham RSL Diggers netball team-mates to get involved, including Caitlin Story and Iredell sisters, Ema and Maddie.
Talented youngsters Alexandra and Georgia Hiscock, Faith McKenzie and Keeley Pope, who played in the 3-on-3 State Championship under Owen Hughan, are in the squad.
Warracknabeal basketball star Chloe Bibby, who captained the Vic Country under-16s side in July, has also put her hand up.
It will be a reduced four-team women’s competition, with the Hornets playing six matches.
The men will host reigning premier Mt Gambier on October 12, with the women travelling to Stawell to take on the Wildcats on November 9.