Horsham Hornets face their biggest challenge yet

HORSHAM Hornets face their biggest challenge yet in their quest for the Big V Basketball League men's division two title.

Wimmera Roadways Hornets host the Keysborough Cougars in the opening match of a best-of-three semi-final at Horsham Basketball Stadium tomorrow.

Hornets co-coach Damien Kilpatrick has called on Wimmera sports fans to get behind his team in the do-or-die final.

"We haven't had a home final for some years, so we want to see the place packed out," he said.

If history tells us anything, a close match is expected.

Keysborough beat the Hornets by one point in round seven and by three points in round 14.

Kilpatrick said his side was unlucky to lose both games.

"We led with only minutes to go in both," he said.

Kilpatrick believes his side will benefit from hosting the opening match of the semi-finals.

Keysborough will host the remaining two matches next weekend.

"It's a massive advantage for us," Kilpatrick said.

"If we can win the first game and go 1-0 up, I can't imagine any team being able to beat us two days in a row.

"We know we have fitter players, so even if we lost the second match, we'd be able to back it up the next day."

Kilpatrick said his side would be at full strength tomorrow.

"There isn't any pressure on us," he said. "We finished fourth and they finished first all the pressure is on them.

"We've just got to turn up and play like we did last weekend."

The Hornets made a big statement in the final home and away game, beating Cranbourne by 49 points.

It heralded a remarkable turn around in form for the Hornets.

"Our defence was much better, to keep a team to 33 points is unheard of, especially in this league," Kilpatrick said.

"We've known all season we can produce that, it's just taken too long."

Corey Collier led the way last week with 17 rebounds.

Kilpatrick said he'd again be important.

"Corey will be a big factor, but so will everyone in our team," he said.

"Everyone who gets on the court has a job to do.

"We're confident if we stick to our game plan and structure and play our brand, we'll be tough to beat."

Tip off is at 7.30pm.

Tim Pickert in action against Craigieburn ealier this year.

Tim Pickert in action against Craigieburn ealier this year.