The Kilsyth Cobra Men took their game to another level on Saturday night, erupting on the offensive end in a spectacular 40 minute performance to defeat Bendigo, 111-88 in their SEABL Semi Final.
“What can I say, the boys were great from start to finish,” Cobras coach Justin Schueller said.
“It was a total team effort at both ends of the floor.”
Behind a second quarter masterpiece from guard Isaac Turner and a monster performance down low by Chris Patton, the Cobras exploded out of the gates and never looked back, taking a commanding 58-44 lead into halftime. After Ben Ursich hammered home a big dunk in transition and followed with another fast break layup to give the Cobras an early eight point lead, Patton went to work down low, scoring seven straight points to keep Kilsyth ahead midway through the first quarter.
The Cobras would close the period with an 11-3 flurry, capped off by an ankle-breaking stepback three by Turner to beat the buzzer, sending the packed crowd into a frenzy. Energised by the raucous home crowd, Turner kicked into overdrive in the second quarter, putting on a show for the ages as he tore apart a Braves defence during a unbelievable nine minute stretch. The electrifying guard scored nine straight points early in the second period for the Cobras, capped off by a tough, double-clutch reverse layup as he was hammered to the floor to give Kilsyth a 42-33 lead.
The Braves would claw their way back, though, responding with a 12-3 run to pull within two points late in the quarter before Turner buried them for good. After a nifty spin and finish from Sam Daly, Turner drained a deep, off-balance three with the shot clock running down, then found himself wide open for another triple on the Cobras next possession. Daly got inside again to find Owen Odigie for a corner three, and then Odigie – the league’s Defensive Player of the Year – forced a Bendigo turnover, and Turner made them pay with another bomb from downtown to cap an personal 18-point quarter.
“Isaac set the tone offensively; he was on another level in the first half,” Schueller said.
With the home crowd in awe of the Cobras first half performance, Kilsyth never looked back, blowing the lead out to as much as 25 points in another dominant period.Patton took charge once again in the third, scoring nine quick points as the Braves simply had no answers for the bruising big man.
With the floodgates open, Daly and Desmond Owili put the finishing touches on a spectacular performance in the final quarter with Daly skying high for an alley-oop jam off a perfectly executed sideline play, before Owili responded on the next trip down the floor with a thunderous tomahawk finish to cap a near-flawless performance by the Cobras.
While their 111 points was a league-high this postseason, Schueller pointed to his groups performance on the other end of the floor as the key to the Cobras big night.
“From the first tip our defence was at the level we wanted and we never looked back,” Schueller said about his team’s swarming defence.
“It was great to see Owen back out there leading that charge, and Dane (Pineau) was outstanding as well.”
Playing his first minutes since June 24, Odigie didn’t skip a beat, finishing with 10 points and four steals while spearheading an outstanding defensive effort on Bendigo’s star guard, Jeremy Kendle, combining with Ursich and Daly to hold the former MVP to just 16 points on 6-for-17 shooting. Pineau anchored the Kilsyth defence down low, recording 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals in yet another outstanding all-around performance. Daly recorded 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, Owili added 10 points, and Ursich chipped-in with eight points in the win.
But the spotlight belonged to Turner and Patton, with the pair each recording their most efficient scoring nights of the season. Turner finished with 30 points on a sizzling 11-for-15 shooting and added four assists in just 25 minutes of action, while Patton had 21 points, six boards and three assists in just 18 minutes of court time.
Schueller showed his appreciation for the Kilsyth home crowd, one which was buzzing all night thanks to anendless array of spectacular plays.
“The crowd was awesome again and helped make it an enjoyable night,” Schueller added.
“We ask all our fans to continue their support and get along to Nunawading this Saturday.“
The win sees the Cobras advance to within a game of a SEABL Grand Final berth, but they’ll have to win on the road to get there as they face the Nunawading Spectres on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6.30pm at Nunawading Stadium, with tickets only available online (book here). The Spectres came out on top in their lone meeting with Kilsyth earlier this season, but with the Cobras pealing at the right time, Schueller is confident that his team has what it takes to challenge Nunawading on the road.
“At this time of year for us, it’s about getting better each quarter, and we’ve found a great rhythm and will look to build on that this weekend,” Schueller said.
“We look forward to a good week at practice and can’t wait for tip-off on Saturday night.”
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