A COMPREHENSIVE win by the Horsham Hornets women’s team at the weekend means they will play Portland in a home grand final on Saturday.
The Hornets led at every change against home side Warrnambool at St Joseph’s Primary School, running out 26-point victors, while Portland fought off a determined Stawell Wildcats outfit to win by 11 points.
Hornets playing coach Sharon Fedke said it was an exciting win, highlighted by an all-round team effort.
“We’re really, really thrilled – we believed we could do it, but it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“I was really pleased with the way the girls played, and what was really pleasing was everyone contributed in some way.”
The Hornets jumped out to an early lead, outscoring their opponent 36-17 in the opening half – against a team they had not beaten in two attempts during the home-and-away season.
Fedke said one of the keys to Horsham’s success was its defensive pressure.
“We came out of the blocks really well and Warrnambool never really recovered,” she said.
“All the little things – the defensive efforts and the passing – they all add up and they’re the difference between a team winning or not.
“We talked about lifting our defensive intensity – we did a lot of work during the week and it really paid off.”
Young talent Chloe Bibby scored a game-high 22 points for the Hornets, with the side extending its lead in the second half to record a 81-55 victory.
Fedke said there was great energy around the Horsham club, with both the men’s and women’s sides set for grand finals.
“There’s a great feeling with Horsham basketball at the moment,” she said.
“We’ve now got to get ready for a really big grand final – even though we’re so proud, we’ve still got one win to go.”
At Portland Basketball Stadium, the Stawell Wildcats produced one of its best performances for the season against the undefeated Coasters, but its season is over after a 52-41 elimination semi-final defeat.
Wildcats coach Trevor Holmes praised his side’s determination against the competition’s top team.
“The girls put in a really good effort,” he said.
“We aimed to try and take away some of their scoring power and we did that – we held them to 52.”
Stawell trailed by eight points at the major break, but the home side rallied with a big third term, stretching its lead to 19 points, before the visitors fought back to win the final quarter.
Holmes said there was plenty of improvement to come from his side, who had only played seven matches together.
He highlighted Tracey Dark and Rhiannon Davis as two of the side’s best in the semi-final loss.
“Tracey was just everywhere – she’s one of our senior players and she showed the way; Rhiannon kept putting her body on the line,” Holmes said.
He wished both Horsham and Portland the best for Saturday’s decider.
“Lets hope it’s a good game on Saturday – and may the best team win.”