Following a sub-par performance at Mt Gambier the week prior, Johnson was a force on both ends against the Blues, scoring a game-high 20 points and draining several key baskets in the second half. His defence was just as impressive, holding import Rob Jones to just 5-15 shooting on the evening while collecting seven rebounds in a stellar two-way performance.

Down seven midway through the third period, Johnson and Gerard Leonard connected on several big buckets to keep the Cobras within striking distance to end the quarter. Kilsyth turned on the jets early in the final quarter, with Johnson sparking a game-breaking run to put the Cobras ahead for good.

Trailing 55-51 to start the fourth quarter, Kilsyth reeled off an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the half. Frankston would make it a one possession game on several occasions late, but the Cobras had a response every time, with Johnson, Tim Lang, Joel Naburgs and Alex Vanrenen all making key plays in the game’s final minutes. Vanrenen put the final nail in the Blues coffin, connecting on a pretty reverse layup with 35 seconds remaining to put Kilsyth up, 71-66. The Cobras then iced the game from the foul line, handing Frankston their seventh loss of the season.

“I’m very pleased to get our first road win of the season,” Cobras Head Coach Rod Popp said.

“We were mentally tough in crunch time which was great to see.”

With Jackson Brazier out with a rib injury and star guard Kyle Adnam limited by foul trouble, the Cobras got substantial contributions from Leonard and Vanrenen, with the pair combining for 17 points off the bench. With Brazier expected to miss an extended period of time, Popp was pleased to see his bench come through in a big way and expects similar production from his veteran reserves moving forward.

“I’m really happy for Gerard and Alex,” Popp added.

“They made some big shots and we’ll need more of that going forward.”

Naburgs recorded his fourth double-double in eight games, finishing with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, while Lang added 14 points and seven rebounds in the win. Adnam finished with nine points and six rebounds before fouling out, giving the Cobras six players who scored eight-plus points.

The win moves Kilsyth to 5-3 on the season, with the Cobras finding themselves in a logjam in the South Conference standings. Kilsyth sits fifth in the South Conference but is just one game out of second place, and they get a shot at the South’s first placed Hobart Chargers on Sunday in a game that could have serious playoff implications. With plenty at stake, Popp hopes to see some more tremendous home crowd support.

“Moving on to a big game this Sunday at home, we need some more of that ‘Sixth Man’ support,” Popp said.

“Make some noise!”

Sunday’s showdown with the Chargers is game three of a home triple header. The VYC Women tip-off proceedings at 10.00am against Dandenong, the undefeated Lady Cobras take on the Lady Chargers at 12.00pm, and the Men follow at 2.00pm.

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