The VYC Cobra Men and Women saw their standout 2019 seasons come to an end on the weekend, each falling in road elimination games.
The Cobra Men fell short on the road against Dandenong on Saturday night, going cold from deep as they lost to the Rangers, 91-66. Kilsyth struggled mightily from the perimeter, going just 6-for-33 from downtown, shooting just 30 percent from the field overall on Saturday to see their season come to an abrupt end. Despite their cold shooting, the Cobras remained close late in the third period, with a chance to cut the Rangers lead to five late in the quarter. But a miss inside by Mitch Dielemans resulted in a transition basket on the other end for Dandenong, sparking a game clinching 19-2 run spanning the third and fourth periods.
The Rangers big surge saw them extend their lead to 24 early in the fourth period, and the Cobras were unable to recover, with their season ending in the VYC semi finals for the second straight season. Dielemans led the Cobras with 27 points on Saturday, Matt Dwyer recorded 11 points and seven rebounds, and Luke Rosendale added 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the loss.
Though their season finished earlier than expected, coach Mark Landells dealt with a number of moving parts in 2019, with Dielemans missing much of the regular season and Rosendale also absent for a number of games as the pair received the call up to join the Cobras NBL1 team. Starting big man, Josh Tomasi, departed earlier in the season for Western Colorado University and Hamish Macdonald (AAU trip) missed Saturday’s game, leaving the Cobras thin up front for the latter end of the regular season and postseason. Despite a number of obstacles, though, the Cobras were still able to finish tied for the VYC’s fourth best record, and were the only team in the league to defeat both Dandenong and Eltham – the Terrill and Watson Conference leader – during the regular season.
A sluggish first half from plagued the Cobra Women on Sunday, with a late comeback falling short as they saw their season end at the hands of the Melbourne Tigers, 62-75 on the road. The Tigers raced out to a 19-5 lead in the first period and continued to pile it on, pushing the lead out to 20 late in the first half.
A big fourth quarter by Nikita Young sparked a late comeback by the Cobras, almost singlehandedly pulling to within seven midway through the final stanza. But the Tigers responded with a pair of crushing baskets to push the lead out to 11, and the Cobras were unable to trim the deficit to single digits the rest of the way, with their impressive season coming to an end. Young scored 12 of her game-high 22 points in the final period for the Cobras, adding four rebounds, three assists, and three steals in just 22 minutes of action. Erin Burgoyne added 13 and three assists, while Maddie Taranto and Caitlyn Groves combined for 21 rebounds in defeat.
Despite the loss, the Cobras season as a whole was an impressive one, with Claire Knight’s Women recording a 16-6 regular season record, tied for third in the league overall. But as was the case with the Men, the Women fell on the wrong side of a season tiebreaker to drop into third, missing out on a first round home final in the process.