The NBL1 Cobra Men hit a roadblock in their Week 6 doubleheader weekend losing on the road to Diamond Valley on Saturday night and at home against NW Tasmania on Sunday.
Following a red-hot 4-1 start to the season, the Cobras league-leading defence struggled to replicate its early season success, succumbing back-to-back 90 point games for the first time in 2021. On Saturday the Cobras were plagued by a slow start on the road at Diamond Valley, falling behind by double-digits early to lost to the Eagles, 66-94.
“We went to DV feeling good but not over confident, knowing that the Eagles had come off the very tough Tassie road double with two losses and would be keen to get out to a good start,” Cobras head coach Godfrey said.
“They did exactly what we predicted they would do from the tip, and we struggled to match their energy.”
Despite the best efforts of Ben Ursich, Adi Tomada and Deng Riak, Kilsyth was unable to match the hot shooting Eagles offensively, as Diamond Valley produced their best scoring night of the young season against a usually-suffocating Cobras defence. Saturday marked the first time this season that the Cobras were unable to meet Godfrey’s stingy defensive targets, which played a major factor in their 4-1 start to the season.
“They led from start to finish, beat us in a couple of the major stat areas where we have been solid and where we need to be game in, game out, to be competitive,” Godfrey said.
“Full credit to the Eagles as they shot the ball very well at 54 percent and 37 percent from two and three, respectively, and had six players in double figures.”
Ursich led the Cobras with 16 points in defeat; Tomada added 14 and five assists; and Riak chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds in limited minutes.
Undefeated at home heading into the weekend, the Cobras were unable to replicate their early dominance on Hugh McMenamin Court, falling to league leaders, NW Tasmania, 63-98 on Sunday.
The Cobras looked the goods early on against the Thunder, finding themselves tied midway through the first quarter in an entertaining back and forth battle. But the Cobras went cold to finish the period while the Thunder stayed hot, with Kilsyth trailing 18-26 at the end of the first period. They would remain within striking distance until midway through the third, but the Thunder would deliver a crushing 14-3 run to close the quarter and end any hopes of a late Cobra comeback.
Though disappointed with the Cobras loss – one which featured some uncharacteristically sloppy play – Godfrey was complimentary of a Thunder team that lived up to the hype of their impressive record.
“North West have assembled a deep and very solid and completely unselfish group that play an excellent brand of the game,” Godfrey added.
“We knew from the get go we would absolutely have our hands full, and that we did.”
“At the midway point of the first quarter we had established a rhythm and a modest margin. We then went away from what had been working, our rim misses and questionable shot selection were punished by quick transitions and rapid ball movement to scores, and our limited defensive rebounding efforts, fouls on shooters, and unforced TO’s added second chance opportunities for the Thunder.
“Some variable D and friendly rolls got us back to 10 in the third, but they had a couple of extra gears late. Tails up and a 13 to 30 final term was very tough to be a part of, but we will take some great lessons out of the weekend as a group.”
Riak, Tomada and Corey Jeffs were tough in defeat for the Cobras, with Riak recording a team-high 19 points, while Tomada added 17, six rebounds and four assists and Jeffs recorded 13 points, eight boards, three assists and four steals.
The Cobras will have two chances to bounce back this weekend, facing the second-placed Frankston Blues on Saturday night and the 4-2 Ringwood Hawks at home on Sunday. Tickets for Sunday’s local showdown are now on sale – click here to book yours today.
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