THE Horsham Hornets bounced back from their first loss of the season last week with a close victory over Mildura away from home on Saturday.
The Hornets trailed for much of the game and were down by as much as 12 points early in the last quarter.
Tim Pickert was prolific and finished the game with 31 points, the most of anyone on the court.
The Hornets kept with the Heat for most of the first quarter, before Mildura piled on eight unanswered points in the final minutes of the quarter to take a 22-10 lead into the break.
The Hornets fought their way back to trail by just one point at the half-time break.
Horsham then hit the lead at the start of the third thanks to James Hallet’s two-pointer, but Mildura settled and led 52-43 heading into the final quarter.
It looked as if Horsham would suffer its second straight loss after starting the season with five wins. With two minutes to go the Hornets were down by seven points and needed a bit of magic to get the win.
Hobbs stepped up with two points to bring the margin down to five, while Pickert scored from the free throw line.
Hobbs then popped up again with two points to bring the margin down to two, before Pickert scored to even the scores and force overtime.
The Hornets dominated in overtime, getting out to a six point lead with a minute and 30-seconds left on the clock.
Mildura caused a stressful final minute of overtime as they evened the scores at 77-all, before Jake Hobbs scored the winning points with seconds left and Pickert scored from the foul line to give Horsham a 77-80 win.
Hornets coach Cam Bruce said it was great to see the players earn a tough victory.
“Mildura came out ready to play and we started a bit sluggish, but in the end our experience shone through,” he said.
“We were down by seven points with two minutes to go, so to bounce back and force overtime we had all the momentum.”
Bruce said Hobbs and Pickert were solid throughout the match.
“(Jake Hobbs) really started to get going towards the end, he was pretty tough to stop and it was pleasing for him to see some reward,” Bruce said.
“(Tim Pickert) really led from the front with the scoring and in defence too he had to guard one of Mildura’s best players. He did it at both ends of the court.”
The Hornets will now play out the rest of the season in front of their home crowd.