What a weekend! Legendary players, comeback wins, heartbreaking losses, inaugural titles and Hornets banners! The Hive saw it all.
32 teams started the weekend with high hopes and by Saturday evening that number had been whittled down to 16 with a chance at the title.
While our Youth Men 2 suffered a painfully close loss in their semi on Saturday morning, the Hills Hornets Waratah Wheelchair League team qualified for the Grand Final and found themselves up against Canberra in the first title decider of the weekend. The game was close through the first half however the Hornets pulled away in the 3rd quarter to cruise to a comfortable 43 – 22 win and take the inaugural title, remaining undefeated for 2022. Hornet Anderson Parker was named MVP of the grand final to add to his 4 Point Player of the Year Award which was announced earlier in the week. Hornets team manager Tano Bagnato was likewise a season award winner, taking home the 3 Point Player of the Year Award.
The weekend also saw the first ever NBL1 East finals series, with Albury taking out the women’s title and Canberra the men.
We were honoured to once again host the GOAT, Lauren Jackson, as she continues her comeback which will ultimately see her suit up for the Opals at the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup, taking place in Sydney from 22 September – 1 October. This step of the journey saw her lead her team throughout the season and ultimately to the inaugural NBL1 East title as the Bandits defeated Sutherland 85 – 72. While LJ contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds, it was her team mate Unique Thompson who took out the Grand Final MVP award on the back of her 24 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals.
Despite going behind by 20 at one point, the Canberra Gunners were able to sustain the comeback run to overwhelm the Maitland Mustangs late and take the first ever NBL1 East title back home to the ACT with a 76 – 73 result. The standout in this game was Grand Final MVP Glenn Morrison who not only stuffed the stat sheet with 28 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks but also contributed 8 consecutive points at a pivotal time. Morrison’s effort took the Gunners from 5 points down and into the lead as they secured the 2022 NBL1 East Championship.
While these games were the top level, the loudest cheers came from Court 3 where the Hornets battled St George for the Waratah Men banner. Suiting up a team of local legends, the veteran Hornets went into the game with confidence, despite losing to the Saints twice during the year. Hills went behind early but battled back to make it a tight contest for the first half. The 3rd quarter saw the Hornets assert their dominance , hitting some big shots to give themselves a margin before cruising home in the final quarter to take the title with an 80 – 54 result. On the back of his 23 points, Rob Meyrick was named MVP and while the entire roster contributed to the win, Kharl Carlos, Josh Chapman and League MVP, Ben Graham were also amongst the leading scorers. The cheering didn’t end at the final buzzer as a large crowd stayed to watch the men who’ve contributed so much to the Hornets over the years, one by one, drape the banner around their necks and cut down the championship net.
With several Basketball NSW award winners listed above, here is the full list of Hornets recipients for the 2022 season.
Waratah Men MVP – Ben Graham
- Waratah Men: Michael Claus; Ben Graham; Rob Meyrick
- Waratah 1 Youth Men: Mitch Smith
- Wheelchair League: Tano Bagnato; Anderson Parker
Waratah 1 Youth Men Rookie of the Year – Mitch Smith
Waratah Men Coach of the Year – Ari Ripoll
A full list of all BNSW award winners can be found here https://www.bnsw.com.au/news/
It wasn’t just the teams representing the Hornets at the Finals weekend with 17 officials being rewarded with high level appointments. These off court stars were:
Referees: Peter Baxter; Michael Beevers; Jacob Brennan; Jesse Brown; Hayley Cole; Shaun Dodds; Rachel Hogan; Dave Nicholls; Nathan Paff; Stuart Smith
Statisticians: Emma Claus, Lauretta Claus, Trish Nicholls, Stu Thom
Scoretable Officials: Tracey Hudson; Neil McNaught; Janice Roditis
We need to finish with a shout out to all the people who made the weekend come together in a way which garnered praise from everyone from players to spectators to the Basketball NSW and NBL1 hierarchy. There are too many to name but the amazing Hornets crew proved once again that when it comes to major community basketball events, the Hive is the place to be!