TWINS Maddie and Ema Iredell have played basketball for the Horsham Hornets since they were children.
The twins didn’t play together in the 2015-16 season.
Maddie had moved to Geelong and didn’t think she could return to Horsham often enough to commit.
She said she managed to travel to Horsham to be among the Lady Hornets’ support crew when she could.
Now, Ema and Maddie have been reunited on the court for the 2016-17 season after Maddie made the decision to travel back most weekends to play for the Hornets.
Maddie said it was easy decision to make.
“I remember all the fun we used to have on the road trips,” she said.
“(Lady Hornets coach Gareth Hiscock) asked me to play this season and I thought, ‘why not?’. I don’t have any netball over the summer and I don’t mind road tripping every weekend,” she said.
The pair said it was great to play for the Lady Hornets – and, especially, play alongside each other.
They also played netball together at Laharum for many years before Maddie moved to Geelong.
Ema said Hiscock was a “stern” coach but had “started to ease up” on the team.
“I always trick him now and again for being so hard on us at training,” she said.
Ema said Hiscock decided to retaliate during the 2015-16 season with a prank.
Hiscock told Ema she had an interview opportunity and gave her the details to meet a reporter.
“I thought, ‘why do they want to interview just me – why not the whole team?’” Ema said.
Hiscock had told Ema if the reporter was not at the agreed venue, she should simply ask to go to “studio three”.
“(The receptionist) was looking at me funny because I don’t think there is any such thing as a studio three,” she said.
“They were asking everyone and ringing around for this guy and, of course, someone comes out and said, ‘are you sure he’s not just pranking you?’.
“I stood there looking at them and said he probably has.”
Ema said as she left the venue, Hiscock jumped from his hiding spot, laughing.
“I’m going to get him back this year,” she said.
Maddie said one of her favourite memories during her basketball career was when her under-14s Horsham Hornets team won to play at nationals.
“We were playing in the grand final in the stage before nationals and we were up against our rivals at the time, Mildura,” she said.
“We were down a couple points in the final minutes of the game and (coach) Kel Duncan gave a really calm speech telling us not to panic, we’re only down by a couple, just go out and do your best.
“We go out there and someone shoots a three-pointer and we ended up winning.”
Maddie said she put that win down to Duncan’s calmness because while the girls were nervous, their coach had kept his cool.
“I’ll never forget that. I think we ended up finishing seventh at nationals,” she said.
Ema said growing up playing for the Hornets’ squads was great.
“I love the social side of it. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s the social side that really brings it about,” she said.
“Gareth makes me want to stick around because he is straight down the line.”
Maddie said while the team had welcomed some new members, the core group remained.
“We haven’t all trained together yet and I think we know in the back of our minds we need to put in the extra hard yards,” she said.
The Lady Hornets play Bendigo Braves on Saturday.