An incredible performance by Sarah Boothe has led the NBL1 Cobra Women to a dominant 81-58 home win over the Dandenong Rangers in their regular season finale, clinching a top-four finish in the process.
Boothe was simply unstoppable early on, destroying the Rangers inside as she recorded a 18-point, 10-rebound double-double in the opening quarter alone, leading the Cobras to a 27-11 lead after 10 minutes of play. With Boothe unstoppable down low and the Cobras looking down with a serious defensive effort, they were able to blow the game out of reach at the half, holding the Rangers to just six second quarter points to take a 43-17 lead into the main break.
They would cruise the rest of the way, leading by as many as 34 points late as they recorded a statement win in the NBL1 Game of the Week to wrap up the fourth seed for the upcoming playoffs.
“It was a fabulous team effort at the weekend,” Cobras head coach Sam Woosnam said.
“Everyone was switched on from start to finish and we were so pleased with the result.”
With leading scorer Lauren Nicholson away with the Australian Opals, Taylor Mathers in the US with a family commitment, and Klara Wischer and Emily Fryters hobbled with nagging injuries, the Cobras entered Saturday night with their backs against the wall, needing a win against a hungry and talented Rangers team to secure a top-four finish. But Boothe’s stellar night and impressive cohesiveness on both ends of the floor saw the Cobras overcome a number of challenges to dial in an encouraging performance leading into the NBL1 postseason.
“It was extremely pleasing to see these girls stand up in the absence of Loz (Nicholson), as well as Taylor and a number of injuries too,” Woosnam added.
“As a group we need to not take a backwards step when (Lauren) comes back in, and if we can play as well as we did on the weekend I am extremely excited to see what we can do in the finals.”
Boothe finished Saturday’s game with a monster 28-point, 23-rebound, six-assist stat line, following up on her 24-point, 13-rebound double-double against the Rangers in Round 12. It was the former Stanford University Cardinal’s best game in a Cobras uniform, with Woosnam pointing to Boothe’s work ethic as a driving force behind her standout night.
“Boothey had an outstanding game and I was so pleased for her,” Woosnam said.
“She’s such a hard worker and to see her being rewarded for that effort was great., especially at this time of the year. Heading into finals, that performance should give her a lot of confidence.”
While Boothe’s big night was the big takeaway from Saturday, Clare Camac enjoyed a standout performance in her 350th SEABL/NBL game, recording 17 points and five assists to make her milestone evening one to remember. Alison Downie finished 12 points, 14 rebounds and four assists in her best performance of the season, Kara Tessari added 11 points and seven assists, and Wischer chipped-in with 11 points and nine rebounds in the win.
With plenty of encouraging signs to take from Saturday’s big win, Woosnam was particularly pleased with the play of Downie at the stretch four position, in addition to yet another stifling defensive effort – one which held the NBL1’s scoring leader, Bec Cole, to just 12 points on 4-for-20 shooting.
“We look great as a team when our four-spot players are being aggressive and looking to score, and I think Al (Downie) and Bek (O’Donnell) did a great job in being aggressive on the offensive end, Woosnam said.
“But what pleased me the most was our hard-nosed defensive efforts. We made everything hard for them which was great to see.”
The win saw Kilsyth finish the regular season with a 14-6 record, a remarkable finish considering the Cobras started the season by winning just one of their first four games. Their fourth place finish will see them square-off against league-leaders Bendigo in the first round of the NBL1 Finals, taking on the Braves on Friday August 2.
With a number of NBL1 stars joining Nicholson for the Opals training camp in Phoenix, Arizona, the Women’s postseason has been delayed until August 2, with the first two rounds set to be played over that weekend. A Cobras win would see them advance to a home preliminary final on August 10, while a loss would see them play a home semi final two days later on Sunday August 4.
Veteran wing Ben Ursich has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Ursich was a key contributor to the Cobras once again in 2023, averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while ranking third on the team in three point makes (30) and percentage (35.3 3FG%). The Maroondah Magic junior
Defensive specialist Sarah Haberfield has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Haberfield was a solid contributor to the Cobras roster in 2023, starting in 20 of 22 regular season games and ranking amongst the team leaders in assists (2.1), steals (1.0) and rebounding (3.3). The SEBC Saints junior recorded a
Mitch Dielemans has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Dielemans enjoyed a strong 2023 NBL1 campaign with the Cobras, averaging a career-high 8.9 points per game to go along with 2.2 assists per game, shooting team-bests of 40.3% from three point range and 80.3% from the foul line. He recoded