14 February, 2024

Hornets fall short in electric finale

The Horsham Hornets lost to Mt Gambier Lakers by 12 points in the Country Basketball League's South West division Grand Final at Horsham on Saturday night.

By Chris Graetz

Hornets captain Mitch Martin led the team well.
Hornets captain Mitch Martin led the team well.

A massive crowd of approximately 500 witnessed an unbelievable, fast-paced action game of basketball.

The Hornets were up and about early as Matt Brown in his final game was landing baskets as Horsham took a one-point lead into the quartertime break.

The Hornets then extended that lead to eight points at halftime.

The Lakers started to land shots mainly thanks to Simon Berkefeld and Tom Daly and they leveled the scores at three-quarter time.

The last quarter was hotly contested as the Lakers started to take control landing nearly every shot they took. The Hornets fought to the end, but the Lakers were too strong running out 12-point winners, 100-88.

Simon Berkefeld was named MVP with his 37 points. Tom Daly scored 24. For the Hornets, Matthew Brown top-scored with 25.

Hornets coach Scott Benbow said it was an unbelievable game.

"That was one hell of a game. We had beers with Mt Gambier after the game and Berkefeld said that he loved everything about it and it was easily the best game of the year," Benbow said.

"Obviously I'm a bit disappointed. In the final minute and a half, I said to Matt Lovel what can we do and he said 'nothing, they are just making every shot.'"

"We were beaten by the better side in the last quarter."

Benbow said despite the loss he is proud of the boys.

"I could not be any prouder of them. They gave everything they had," Benbow said.

"Brown's game was amazing with 25 points. We knew they would focus on Aussie and Cody, and they double-teamed Cody and Matty got in the right spots."

When asked if he would like to coach again next year, Benbow said he would love to if given the opportunity.

"I would love to stick around if they have me," Benbow said.

"I had a couple of beers with the boys on Sunday as we farewelled Damien Skurrie and Matt Brown and the vibe around the group is to keep everyone together.

"The expectation is next year that we have some younger players like Fred Frew, Hugh Dougherty and Tarkyn Benbow that can step up, so we know we are in a good place."

Benbow would like to thank the crowd and Horsham Basketball for Saturday night.

"The rat pack was fantastic. We have a dozen guys that follow us and their support was amazing," he said.

"The home crowd too was excellent. We are thankful for the support we get. Berkefled mentioned after the game that he will never experience that atmosphere again.

"Horsham Basketball did a fantastic job in having the flashing lights when players entered the court and ladies singing before the game. It's something they do well and everyone had a great night."

Max Bryan also celebrated his 50th game for the club.


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