Kilsyth raced out to a 14-2 lead with Joe Werner (32pts, 15rbds, 4 assists) recording 10 first quarter points to lead the Cobras to an early advantage. Ballarat finally got going and were able to close the margin to seven at the 1st break.
Coach Grant Wallace had his team prepared knowing that a win was a must to keep the slimmest of finals chances alive, the Cobras came out playing like their life was on the line and extended the lead in the 2nd term as Werner again had 10 pts and was proving tough to stop. Gerard Leonard (26pts) was making some important baskets and the Miners didn’t have an answer as the Cobras led 55-44 at the main break.
Ballarat hit back hard in the third term with Ricky Henderson (18pts) converting from downtown the Miners managed to take a 2 point lead into the 4th after a 34-21 quarter. Dropping back into a zone, the Miners restricted the Cobras scoring opportunities until Adam Jackson (14pts) stepped up for Kilsyth.
The 4th quarter became a battle, and with the referees starting play a part, tempers flared when Marcus Toney El hit Jackson with a cheap shot and after the referees stopped play without a call both teams got into an extended pushing match. Following the scuffle and an unsportsmanlike for Toney El and Jackson, the fiery game continued. Ballarat gained the ascendency following the brawl as the referees continued to be a factor.
Jackson fouled out with 3 minutes to play as Kilsyth were forced to chase. Missed free throws down the stretch proved untimely for the Cobras who shot at just 55% from the line compared to 74% from Ballarat who converted during the death.
Jon Croft (12pts, 7rbds) returned from injury and tried to hit some shots to save the game but will Ballarat hitting their free throws Kilsyth were unable to regain the momentum.
Kilsyth must now regroup for a battle with the Geelong Supercats on the road next Saturday night, the first of 3 games in 7 days for the Cobras which will see them play Bendigo on July 9 in SEABL Big Wednesday action before taking on arch rival the Knox Raiders in the ‘Battle for the Ashes’ on July 12.
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