Riding an explosive first half performance and red-hot shooting, the Cobra Men kept their playoff hopes alive with a gutsy 103-93 road victory over Albury-Wodonga on Saturday night.

The Cobras were simply unstoppable on the offensive end, producing their most impressive offensive showing of the season as they lit the Bandits up from all over the floor. Kilsyth shot a blistering 58 percent from the field, including a 14-for-27 performance from deep, and recorded a season-high 30 assists in the process. The only black mark on the Cobras performance was a sub 50 percent performance from the free throw line, making their 103 point tally in a must-win game even more impressive.

Cobras Head Coach Justin Schueller was thrilled with his team’s offensive exhibition, stating that unselfish ball movement was the key to their lights-out shooting performance.

“It was a true team win; our ball movement and support for each other was a real key in this one,” Schueller said.

“We gave up good looks for great looks all night and we were rewarded with a strong shooting clip. To shoot 52% on the night from three (point range) is pleasing, but it was the way we got the shots – by making the extra pass and setting each other up.”

COBRAS STAY ALIVE: The Cobras keep their playoff hopes alive with a huge road win over Albury-Wodonga! The starters were…

Posted by Kilsyth Basketball on Saturday, July 29, 2017

Kilsyth raced out to a double-digit halftime cushion thanks to their scintillating shooting display, lighting up the Bandits for 59 points over the opening 20 minutes of play to lead, 59-46. But facing one of the league’s most dangerous offensive teams, the Cobras found themselves in a tight battle midway through the third quarter as the Bandits trimmed the Kilsyth lead to 65-63. But David Schaffert set up Auryn Macmillan for a dunk and three-pointer on back-to-back possessions, sparking a key 16-7 run to give the Cobras breathing room once again.

Albury-Wodonga would respond once more, closing the gap to 78-83 early in the final stanza, but Shaffert and Tariq Naqqash fuelled a game-clinching run, combining to score 13 points during a 16-5 spurt as the Cobras blew the game open for good.

Naqqash led the Cobras scoring assault, scoring nine of his season-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, while adding seven rebounds and five assists to cap his best all-around performance of the season. Macmillan stuffed the stat sheet once again, scoring 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four assists, while fellow big-man Chris Patton recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and a season-high nine assists in the win. Owen Odigie battled foul trouble to finish with 18 points and three assists, Ben Ursich scored 15 of his 17 points in a superb first half performance, while Schaffert added 10 points off the bench.

“Our starters were outstanding – every single one of them – and when we rotated the bench kept the momentum going,” Schueller added.

“Defensively we did a good job on the scout and made their key guys have to work for it.”

Entering the weekend tied with the Bandits and Sandringham for fourth place in the East, the Cobras have now surpassed both teams for sole possession of the conference’s final playoff position with one game remaining. With Sandringham losing to Hobart on Saturday night, a win by the Cobras in their season finale would guarantee a postseason berth, while a Kilsyth loss coupled with a loss by the Sabres would also see Cobras cement fourth place in the East.

With Saturday’s victory marking the Cobras sixth win in their past eight games, Schueller is confident with where his team sits despite facing a pressure-filled final weekend of the regular season.

“We’ve built some momentum now and our playing our best ball of the year, so it’s good timing heading into this weekend’s game,” Schueller said.

“We have believed we will feature in the playoffs for quite some time, so it’s great that we can control our own destiny now.”

The Cobras will look to win their way into the postseason on Saturday night when they play host to the league-leading Mt Gambier Pioneers. Tip-off is scheduled for 8.00pm, while the Lady Cobras open the evening at 6.00pm against the Sydney Uni Sparks.

With a playoff spot on the line, Schueller’s message for the Kilsyth community was simple:

“We want a loud, packed house to help us get the job done.”

All Junior Domestic Players wearing their team gear will receive FREE ENTRY for both games, so get on down and help our Cobras secure a postseason berth!