Joe Werner once again proved why he is on the radar for many NBL teams with a 32 point and 23 rebound performance against one of the League’s premier big men, Lester Strong. Werner was outstanding throughout the night restricting Strong to just 2 points and 7 rebounds.
The battle of the bigs was always going to determine the outcome of the game and Kilsyth won comfortable with Tim Lang pulling in 9 rebounds to go with his 8 points. The Cobras front court dominated the Raiders scoring 40 points and pulling in 32 rebounds compared to 14 and 12 from Strong and Cam Rigby (12pts, 5rbds).
The opening term gave the massive crowd an indication of what was to come, both teams traded baskets as the game got heated early. Despite not being a high scoring spectacle, the game was truly a battle.
Kilsyth acquired the early lead in the opening term as Joe Werner and Gerard Leonard (20pts) started the game on fire hitting three long range shots. After Werner hit his second the margin was quickly out to nine points.
CJ Massingale (21pts, 12rbds) and Michael Hill (21 pts) found the basket towards the end of the quarter to get Knox back in the game. This continued in the 2nd term as Knox rallied to take a one point lead into the half.
The low scoring game was suiting the Cobras perfectly and with Strong and Hill in foul trouble at the half, and Quincy Henderson (6pts, 7 blks, 10rbds) limiting the Massingale impact, Kilsyth fancied their chances.
The third quarter, so often the Cobras weakness, was always going to determine the winner of the contest. Nick Payne ignited the Raiders mid way through the period scoring four points in under a minute and with Rigby and Hill connecting from down town the Raiders were able to build a five point lead.
Kilsyth were not to be outdone, Gerard Leonard hit back to back threes and then a jumper from the baseline as the Cobras once again regained the lead, pushing it out to four at the final change.
Werner took control in the final term with 13 points and after Lang made two big baskets the Cobras were able to play out the fourth quarter without giving up the lead. Werner slammed home the final basket with just 1 second to go in the game to give the Cobras an eight point win and their 11 victory of the season.
The Cobras (11-11) now remain in a tough battle with Knox (12-11) to obtain 2nd place on the ladder for the finals. With Bendigo (10-13) losing two games over the weekend the battle for 4th will be just as intriguing with Bendigo, Dandenong (8-14), Canberra (7-15) and Ballarat (7-15) all a mathematical chance of making the post season.
Kilsyth will return to the floor this coming Saturday 11 July 2009 against another local rival, the Frankston Blues. After losing to the Blues by three points on the road last round the Cobras will be keen to avenge the loss and continue putting the pressure on the Raiders for 2nd.
Tip off this coming Saturday is scheduled for 7.30pm with a special interstate match prior to the game at 5.30pm with Hobart taking on Mt Gambier.
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