A MASSIVE 22-point second half from Horsham Hornets playing-coach Tim Pickert wasn't enough against Mount Gambier Lakers on Saturday night.
The Lakers ran out four-point winners, 82 to 78, after leading the under-manned Hornets by 19 points at the major break.
Pickert, who scored a game-high 36 points, praised his side's determination to fight back after a below average start at Mount Gambier's Bern Bruning Basketball Stadium.
"It was a pretty tough one ," he said.
"We were down by 26 near half-time I think, and with about a minute and a half to go we were down by two, so credit to the boys, we fought out the whole game and just fell that little bit short.
"After half-time we played really well, but that first quarter and a half wasn't too flash."
Pickert said it was nice to step up, but disappointing not to come away with the win.
"I sort of had to do a little bit more than I usually do, we were missing a few players," he said.
The Hornets were without Cam Bruce, Darcy Tucker and Jono Lovel, and Pickert said despite being undersized, both Jon Schwarz, 10 points, and Tim Friend, 15 points, made strong contributions.
"We were undersized, but the bigger guys fought hard all night which was good, and got us back into the game," Pickert said.
"Jon played well last night and he's got to keep taking his opportunities when he gets them.
"When he gets a jump at the basket it's always going to be hard to beat him."
It won't get any easier for the Hornets this weekend, with Pickert to join Bruce and Tucker on the sidelines for a travelling double-header against the Warrnambool Seahawks and Portland Coasters.