2010 Results: 19 wins, 8 losses, 1st East Conference

2010 Post-Season: lost to Bendigo (SF), lost to Knox (PF)

2011 Regular Season: 17 wins, 9 losses, 3rd East Conference

2011 Post- Season: def Dandenong (SF), lost to Bendigo (PF)

Positives from this year:

Kilsyth were one of the best performing teams in the back end of the season. They went 16-4 from rounds 5 to 20 including an eight game streak heading into the finals. They were the best defensive team of the year by far, conceding only 70 points per game – the next best defensive team was Bendigo who yielded 76 points per game. The Cobras were also the best three-point shooting team in the league, knocking down the long-range shots 36% of the time. Their win over Nunawading in round 18 was a highlight, and they also defeated Bendigo in round 16, and in fact Kilsyth was the only team to defeat the top two teams in the whole competition.

Tim Lang and Auryn MacMillan formed one of the best frontcourts in the league this season. MacMillan was Player of the Week in round 18, while Lang was Player of the Month for May, and was also selected in the East All-Star team. Zach Malvik steadily improved over the year, capturing Player of the Week award in round 16 and was in the top ten for assists over the year. Quincy Henderson took to the captaincy and improved his points and assists production while also featuring in the top ten players for steals per game. Impressively, six Cobras averaged in double figures for points over the year.

Negatives from this year:

The poor start is the major blemish on the season, going 1-5 over opening six games. The sluggish beginning may have cost them a top two spot and a guaranteed home final in the second or third week of the finals. Kilsyth were not a high scoring team, averaging only 76 points per game, the 11th best in the league. Surprisingly for a team with an apparently good frontcourt, Kilsyth were not a strong rebounding team, also 11th best in the league in that category, although their low scoring suggests they don’t take a lot of shots. Two less wins and dropping from the minor premiership last year to third in the East conference must also be looked at as a negative.

The drop off in scoring after their top six players is alarming. Tariq Naqqash, the Cobra’s sixth highest scorer, averages 10.8 points per game. The next highest scorer, Cam Johnson, averages 1.9 points per game. That begs the question: does this team have a bench?

Possible Departures:

Quincy Henderson has hung up his Cobras singlet and won’t be returning in 2012, which is obviously a huge departure. Henderson was a multiple Defensive Player of the Year award winner and apparently held in high regard given he was the captain this season. Otherwise, Kilsyth are not that old. Matt O’Hea is the oldest at 29, and he still had a very solid year. Tariq Naqqash is a high risk, high reward player, and that style seems at odds with the Kilsyth style of defence-first, grind-it-out basketball.

Next Year:

Type of players needed:

With Henderson gone, the Cobras must look long and hard to find a quality import to fill that role at the three spot. Obviously the newcomer needs to be a good defender, but they also need to be a leader, and an athlete. Otherwise, they need some bench players certainly.

Likely Improvement:

Players like David Moore, Tim Mulhall, Matt Maden and Bryan Colson all need to produce more off the bench. Adam Knott was a D-League All-Star for the Cobras, but transitioning from a power forward at D-League level to a 3-4 player at Championship level is very very difficult, and he may require a few more years as a development player as well as some time in the gym before he’s at the level required to compete.

Finals next year?

Each of the last two years Kilsyth have been so close to making a Conference final only to be have fallen short. If they can hold it together for a whole season they will not only make finals, but also have a shot at knocking Bendigo or Knox out of the top two spots in the East.

Overall Grade: 8 out of 10