The Club Kilsyth Cobras have been defeated 74-63 in the SEABL South Grand Final by the Bendigo Braves. Despite the final 11 point margin, the game was not over until the final seconds as the Braves knocked down free throws to seal the victory. The Cobras have now lost been Runners Up in two of the past three SEABL South Grand Finals, being beaten by Bendigo both times.
The nerves were evident in the first period with both teams fumbling passes and missing easy shots. The Cobras went into the break with a 15-14 lead in a low scoring affair which set the tone for the match. The game was going to be decided by the team that could shut down the opposition’s big guns. The Cobras had 10 more shots than the Braves in the opening quarter and were unable to capitalise on 7 offensive rebounds to 2. The Cobras shooting woes were hurting but the defensive effort was exceptional especially David Smith guarding Braves star Michael Hill.
The Cobras came out fired up after the quarter time break and were again committed to shutting down the explosive Michael Hill. Through the efforts of Smith, Croft and Jackson the Cobras held Hill to just 13 points for the game but were unable to close out the hot handed Braves who went 4/5 from behind the arc in the 2nd term to go into the main break leading by 3. Grand Final MVP Jason Cameron hit some big shots as the shot clock expired and then Taylor Bell hit a three close to the final buzzer to give the Braves the half time lead.
Trailing 37-34 at the half, the Cobras were struggling to find the required scoring punch. David Smith (17 pts and 7 rbds) was inspirational showing his teammates what was required at both ends of the floor. In obvious pain from ankle surgery earlier in the season and having not trained throughout the finals campaign, Smith left nothing in the tank trying to guide the Cobras to victory.
After a slow start to the 3rd, which saw the Cobras trail by as much as 12, Adam Jackson injected some energy off the bench and the Cobras got back within 4 points heading towards 3 quarter time. Captain DJ Taylor (10 pts and 6 rbds) hit a couple of shots as did Jon Croft and the Cobras were looking to go into the break with a lead. But another Taylor Bell three pointer on the siren gave the Braves a 7 point lead.
The Cobras came out asleep in the 4th and gave up a 3 point play on the opening Braves position to get down by 10. The 4th quarter proved to be much the same for the Cobras, unable to hit the open shots and then watching Bendigo score at the other end. It looked all over with 3 minutes to play and the Braves up 12 but the Cobras were not done with yet and pulled together to get back in the contest. A three by Chris Payne brought the margin back to 5 but the Cobras got no closer, as they were forced to foul the Braves who converted their free throws to move onto victory.
The Cobras brave effort throughout the 2007 SEABL playoffs came to end against Bendigo but the last three weeks have uncovered the Cobra spirit, heart and determination which was missing at times during the regular season. Kilsyth will now sit back and reflect upon what could have been had they been able to play as ‘ONE’ through the whole of 2007.
The emotional rollercoaster the Cobras have been on all season ended in tears, but it did show the commitment they had made to each other was about more than just individuals. It was something greater than that, it was about representing the Kilsyth Cobras, a club rich in history and tradition. Watch out for the Cobras in 2008 as they come back hungrier and more committed than ever to return the title to the Snakepit.
The Club Kilsyth Cobras and Lady Cobras would like to thank all their sponsors, supporters and families who have been there throughout the 2007 SEABL season and look forward to being back to represent you all in 2008. Keep up to date with all the off season news at www.kilsythbasketball.com.au
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