A scintillating second half has given the AGL Cobras a 74-50 victory over Sherbrooke in the first round of VYC finals and a semi-final showdown with the Nunawading Spectres this Sunday.

Leading 33-30 at halftime, Kilsyth struck quickly in the third period, opening the quarter on an 8-0 run to lead by 11 points. Sherbrooke could only close the gap to seven late in the period, but the Cobras again responded with an 8-2 run to end the period and any hopes of a repeat Suns upset.

Kilsyth quickly pushed the lead above 20 to start the fourth quarter and cruised the rest of the way, exacting their revenge on the only team to beat them at home this season. The Cobras turned to their trademark lockdown defence in the second half, holding the Suns to just 20 points on 6/34 shooting over the game’s final 20 minutes. On the other end, Kilsyth turned the ball over just three times in the second half, while shooting a deadly 53% from the field.

In the end, it was a microcosm of the Cobras season; a tough, back and forth first half, dominant defence fuelling a big second half run, and significant offensive contributions from the trio of Adrian Tomada, Jorden Adnam and Kieran Murphy. Tomada finished with a game-high 18 points, Murphy added 14, seven rebounds and four assists, while super-sub Adnam finished with an incredible 17 points and eight rebounds in just 16 minutes of play.

Up next is a Nunawading team who disposed of 2013 grand finalists Diamond Valley, 82-74 behind big games from Sean Badewits, Dylan Hogarty-Doyle and Costas Hronopoulos. Badewits, Hogarty-Doyle, Hronopoulos, Luke Van Rijn, Nicholas Ross and Stefan Ionescu all scored in double-figures and all average over 10ppg on the season.

Leading the way for Nunawading is Hronopoulos (15.2ppg) who has split his time with VYC and SEABL duties this season, playing in just nine Big V matches. The Cobras will need to slow the veteran, who has played in the league since 2010 and could very well be playing SEABL on a full time basis.

The last time these two met was at Kilsyth on April 5, where the Cobras came away with a thrilling two-point win. While Nunawading possesses the older, more experienced group, Kilsyth has an unrivaled defensive intensity. If they hope to play off for back-to-back championships, the ‘Grinders’ will need to again display their defensive prominence, while continuing to play an unselfish brand of basketball on the other end.

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