The Kilsyth Lady Cobras play host to the Geelong Supercats in SEABL Semi Final action on Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the East Conference championship game in two weeks time. It’s part of a two game finals doubleheader at the Kilsyth Sports Centre on Saturday, with the VYC Cobra Men taking on Nunawading at 8.00pm as they try to secure their third championship in the past five years. With Lady Cobra Jordyn O’Shea set to play her 200th SEABL Game and the VYC Men playing for a state championship, Saturday night is not to be missed!
SEABL Preview via SEABL.com.au
EAST CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL 1
Kilsyth Cobras (18-4) v Geelong Supercats (18-4), Kilsyth Sports Centre, 6.00pm Saturday, August 12
On the charge to make up for two consecutive Grand Final losses, Kilsyth have claimed top spot in the East Conference but now the real challenge begins as they fight through another post-season. The Cobras won their last four games to hold off a fast-finishing Geelong and will now host their first two finals and if they can extend that winning streak to six, they will play at home for every playoff game with Kilsyth Sports Centre already named to host the 2017 Grand Final.
The Supercats are coming into the playoffs as the most in-form team in the league, winning seven straight games. They have scored 86.2 points per contest over that winning streak, up from their season average of 79.7. Owning a 9-2 record on the road, the equal best in the competition, means they will have no fear of coming to Kilsyth on Saturday night.
The best rebounding team in the competition, Geelong have lost two of their top three rebounders for the playoffs in Alex Bunton and Chantel Horvat which could throw a spanner in the works. In addition, they have lost the boards count in both previous meetings with Kilsyth even when those players were available which could further hurt their chances.
Kilsyth: Injury has interrupted Rosie Moult over the past few years but she has returned at the right time of 2017 to be a part of the Cobras’ playoff run. Scoring 13 points in her debut this season, she was present for the Round 14 match-up against Geelong but went scoreless through 24 minutes including 0-3 shooting from long range. Moult is unlikely to have a repeat performance this weekend and if she maintains her effort at the defensive end where she is averaging 1.3 steals, it could be the difference on Saturday night.
Geelong: Since the injury to Bunton, Eve Braslis has been one of the players to step up in the front court for the Supercats and continue to help them be a force under the rim. In the second half of the season, she has had a double-double against Sydney Uni, scored 25 points against Launceston and recorded ten points and two blocks against Sandringham. Averaging 6.6 points per game on the year, she has bumped that up to nine points across her last seven outings which has her primed for a big finals series.
Chantella Perera vs. Sara Blicavs
Since her return, Moult has returned to a starting role which means she may be pitted against Blicavs but alongside her, Perera is likely to get the defensive task as well. Averaging 18 points, 11.5 rebounds and two assists against the Cobras, Blicavs has been dominant and the form she showcased during the FIBA Asia Cup is a warning to the rest of the competition. Perera is a seasoned veteran though and will be well prepared for this match-up while she also caught fire for 33 points on 10-17 shooting in their Round 14 meeting.
With their form over the past two months and Blicavs surrounded with some bright young talent in the front court, Geelong have the momentum heading into this contest. They have the ability to put together a winning score but will lack some strength under the basket without Bunton or Horvat. That opens the door for SEABL MVP Angela Beadle whose work in the post should be enough to carry Kilsyth into the Conference Final. If Perera and Moult can shut down Blicavs, the Cobras will cruise home as they look to take advantage of their 9-2 home record while also celebrating Jordyn O’Shea 200th game.
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