The NBL1 Cobras have continued their midseason surge, recording a thrilling one point home win over Ringwood on Saturday before taking down league leaders Frankston on the road on Sunday.
Bree Whatman’s layup with three seconds remaining gave the Cobras a nail-biting 66-65 win at home over the Hawks on Saturday, reversing their loss eight days prior on the road.
Trailing 56-63 with three minutes remaining, the Cobras looked in danger of losing to the Hawks for a second straight weekend, but huge crunch time play from Whatman, Georgia Booth and Lauren Scherf led the Cobras on a game-closing 10-2 run to snatch a remarkable home victory. Booth got the run started with a a pair of offensive rebounds and a putback finish inside, then Scherf forced a turnover and finished in transition to trim the deficit to three. After basket by the Hawks Funda Nakkasoglu, Scherf scored again off a fake handoff and finish, and Booth followed with a score inside off a broken play to make it a one point game with 33 seconds remaining.
The Cobras then forced a turnover on the Hawks Hope Terdich, setting the stage for Whatman’s heroics. Following a timeout by the Cobras, the lefty point guard came off a high ball screen and finished in traffic with her off hand to give Kilsyth a one point lead with three seconds remaining, sending the home crowd into a frenzy. The Hawks were unable to get a final shot off as the Cobras swarmed the lane on Nakkasoglu, sealing yet another heart-stopping victory on home court.
Scherf led Kilsyth with another impressive stat line, with the double-double machine recording game-highs of 25 points and 16 rebounds, and adding a pair of steals and blocks in the win. Booth had the best game of her young career, finishing with season-highs of 14 points and eight rebounds to go along with three assists, and Abi Curtin chipped in with 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.
The Cobras backed up Saturday’s thriller with another nail biting victory on the road on Sunday, riding stifling crunch time defence to stun the league-leading Frankston Blues, 76-71 in overtime.
Trailing, 50-59 heading into the final period and never leading in regulation, the Cobras put the clamps on the Blues potent offence, limiting Frankston to just four points in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Scherf and Whatman shouldered the load offensively for the Cobras late, combining for all 13 fourth quarter points, with Scherf’s tough low post finish with 40 seconds remaining tying the game at 63 apiece. The Cobras had a chance to win in regulation, but Curtin’s last second three point attempt was off as the game headed to an extra session.
Curtin made amends early in overtime, scoring off a putback inside to give Kilsyth its first lead of the game, then back-to-back buckets from Scherf and Whatman pushed the Cobra lead out to six with three minutes remaining. The Blues would respond to tie the game, though, reeling off a quick 8-2 run to tie it at 71. But Whatman would come up clutch for a second straight outing, as she was fouled on a three-point attempt with the shot clock dwindling, drilling all three free throws to put the Cobras back on top, 74-71 with 23 seconds remaining. Kilsyth came up with one final stop, and Whatman iced the game with another pair from the line to the Cobras their most impressive win to date.
Scherf wrapped-up her weekend with another standout game, playing all 45 minutes to end with 27 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots – her 12th straight double-double. Whatman’s late game heroics saw her finish with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists, Curtin added 10 points and six boards, Booth chipped-in with nine points, and Carly Turner was a terror on the defensive end, swatting away six shots and anchoring the Cobras late game defence.
Head coach Hannah Lowe was thrilled with her groups grit and resolve over the course of a trying weekend, one which saw them take advantage of some unique opportunities.
What a weekend – Ringwood was an opportunity for redemption from the week prior, and the Frankston game an opportunity to double down and make a bit of a statement against the league leaders,” Lowe said.
“Contributions across the group came through their grit and general team first mentality. I couldn’t be prouder of them for toughing out two big contests.”
The 2-0 weekend see the Cobras move to an impressive 8-4 on the season to sit seventh in the league standings. They’ll look to continue their hot streak on Saturday night, when they hit the road for an interstate showdown with the Mt Gambier Pioneers.
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