Stawell Wildcats, Horsham Hornets battle looms

SATURDAY night’s all-Wimmera Country Basketball League South-West clash between Stawell Wildcats and Horsham Hornets is looming as a David and Goliath battle.

Despite showing signs of improvement under coach Ben Leslie this season, the Wildcats are sitting at the foot of the table, win-less after nine matches.

On the other hand, the Hornets lead the league, with seven wins from eight starts and will also have the home-court advantage.

It is undoubtedly a tough ask, and the Stawell coach is confident that if his side sticks to its game-plan they will be competitive.

“Every game this season we’ve learnt something new,” Leslie said.

“We would hope to be in the game as long as possible and not get blown away.

"If we stick to our style, we can definitely be competitive for longer.”

The Wildcats will take confidence from a narrow three-point loss to Terang just before the Christmas break, with guards Jarred Ohayon and Blake Dunstan both in form.

Ohayon and Dunstan are averaging 16.75 and 14 points a game respectively, while Rory Jones has also been busy.

With the club in just its second year, Leslie said the emphasis was on player and club development.

“It’s the second year for most of these guys at this level,” he said.

“We’ve got a structure in place, and we’re developing the team and club as a whole.”

On facing Horsham, Leslie said restricting the influence of key Hornets Cam Bruce and Tim Pickert would be pivotal, with the pair averaging 19.5 and 20.29 points a game respectively.

Tip-off at Horsham Basketball Stadium is at 8pm, following the women’s match.

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