The Lady Cobras ten game win streak came to an abrupt end in Round 14 SEABL action, losing at home to Launceston on Saturday night before falling short in a thriller at Geelong on Sunday.
In a rematch of last year’s South Conference Championship Game, the Lady Cobras came out flat and never recovered, losing to the Tornadoes, 66-78. With their league leading defence struggling to handle Launceston down low, the Lady Cobras needed a big night on the offensive end to keep close, but despite some second half brilliance from Chantella Perera, Kilsyth could not generate enough baskets late as they lost for the first time in eleven games.
Perera scored all 21 of her points in the second half on a variety of slashing drives and tough jump shots, but with her teammates going cold from the field and their usual swarming defence absent, the Lady Cobras could not keep pace with the Tornadoes as they were outscored 17-29 over the final 12 minutes of play.
“We played poorly and we never want to do that, especially at home,” Lady Cobras Head Coach Sam Woosnam said.
“It was a disappointing night; even though we have two starters on the sidelines injured we still need to protect our home court better than we did. I think we lacked the effort and desire to get the job done.”
Perera’s 21 points and six assists both led the Lady Cobras in defeat, while Angela Beadle added another double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Sarah Parsons was solid in a starting role, chipping in with 12 points and seven rebounds. Although she was pleased with the play of Perera as she continues her remarkable resurgence in 2017, Woosnam was disappointed in her team’s performance on the defensive end, an area the Lady Cobras have been able to lean on when their offence has gone astray.
“Chantella was really the shining light on Saturday night,” Woosnam said.
“She did everything she could to carry us but unfortunately we didn’t have enough contributors. Defence was our problem and as one of the best defensive teams in the league, we were not happy with that performance.”
Facing a difficult turnaround on the road against Geelong the following day, the Lady Cobras ran out of gas late in a battle of the SEABL’s top two teams, losing to the Supercats, 71-75.
The Lady Cobras got off to an outstanding start, riding incredible first half performances from Perera and Beadle to lead by 12 points at halftime. But still without the services of Maddie Garrick and Emily Fryters, the shorthanded Lady Cobras could not keep up with a fresh Geelong team, with the Supercats 26-11 third quarter proving to be the difference.
Despite another gutsy performance from Perera down the stretch, the Lady Cobras fell just short in a game that could have all but sealed a first round home final. Perera scored 12 of Kilsyth’s 17 fourth quarter points, matching Australian Opal Sara Blicavs shot-for-shot in crunch time to help keep the Lady Cobras within striking distance. Beadle buried her second three-pointer of the game to pull the Lady Cobras to within 71-72 with 41 seconds remaining, but Geelong’s Ellen Kett countered with a three of her own as the shot clock expired to bury Kilsyth with 18 seconds remaining.
Perera finished with a season-high 33 points on 10-17 shooting, adding six rebounds and three assists to round out a stellar weekend. Beadle recorded her sixth double-double in her past seven games, scoring 28 points and adding 10 rebounds and three blocks, while Jordyn O’Shea finished with eight points and five assists in defeat.
The loss dropped the Lady Cobras record to 14-4 on the season, and they now lead Geelong by just half a game in the league standings with four rounds remaining. The Lady Cobras hold the head-to-head advantage on Geelong, though, and despite the loss, Woosnam was happy with her team’s effort on the second leg of a back-to-back.
“Sunday’s game was a fantastic performance on the road on the back end of a doubleheader,” Woosnam added.
“Our effort levels were so much better than the night before and we really took it to a Geelong team that was fresh, as they didn’t have a game the night before. Tony (Smyth) and I were pleased with how we approached the game and followed our game plan, and if a couple of shots had of dropped, we would have won.”
“We did get the head to head on Geelong as we had beaten them by 15 points earlier in the season, and this could prove to be very important in final standings.”
Woosnam was also complimentary of the efforts Perera and Beadle put forth not only on the weekend, but in recent weeks with Garrick and Fryters sidelined. With Garrick (Opals commitments) and Fryters (injury) likely not available until the start of the playoffs, Woosnam is hopeful other players will step up alongside Perera and Beadle to help fill the void.
“Chantella was fantastic again, and her and Angela have really stepped up in the absence of Emily and Maddie,” Woosnam said.
“We are without those two players until finals, so we are working on getting more contributions from other players to get the job done heading into the playoffs. These next few games are extremely important for us to win.”
The Lady Cobras will look to bounce back on Saturday night at home as the host the Frankston Blues at 6.00pm. The Cobra Men will follow at 8.00pm against the Blues, with Men now facing a must-win scenario to keep their playoff hopes alive.
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