Horsham Hornets fight for home semi-final

AN undermanned Horsham Hornets side will travel for a double-header against Warrnambool and Portland in the final weekend of the Country Basketball League regular season.

The Hornets face round eight conqueror Warrnambool on Saturday night before backing up with an afternoon match against Portland on Sunday.

Warrnambool overtook the Hornets for first place on the CBL South West conference ladder at the weekend after the Hornets lost a hard-fought match against Mount Gambier.

The Hornets need at least one win from the road trip to stay ahead of Colac and earn a home semi-final.

Horsham will be missing several players, including star guard trio Cam Bruce, Tim Pickert and Darcy Tucker, who are all unavailable.

Emerging big man Jon Schwarz will also miss with a foot injury and Daniel McEldrew, who has played five games this season, will also miss.

Co-coach Steve Bruce said the injuries would test the depth of the Hornets but it would be an opportunity for the team's lesser players to step up.

"It will give guys like Jay Gasparini and Lachie Coller more time in the guard spots and I'll see a bit of what they'll be able to do," he said.

Bruce said the Hornets had dealt with player shortages already in the season and had come through with flying colours.

"I'm more of a pessimist than an optimist so I started the year thinking we'd struggle against Mount Gambier in the very first game," he said.

"With the players we had out I thought we'd struggle in Terang, but I keep getting surprised by the blokes and the way they play.

"I'm hoping I'll be surprised by our efforts again this weekend."

Stawell Wildcats will also make the road trip, playing Terang tomorrow night and Warrnambool on Sunday.With no wins for the season a victory looks unlikely for the developing Wildcats on the road.

The Hornets and Wildcats women will also play curtain-raisers to each match, closing out the women's CBL season.

With only four teams in the women's South West conference, each is destined to play finals but wins this weekend would help both their confidence and ladder position heading into the post season.

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