Defence has been their calling card all season long, and they took it to another level on Saturday night.
Riding a stifling 40 minute defensive performance and big crunch time play from Mitch Dielemans and Adi Tomada, the NBL1 Cobra Men recorded a statement road win in Ballarat, defeating the Miners 61-50 on Saturday night.
Struggling to find their offensive rhythm for much of the first three periods, the Cobras were able to keep close with some suffocating defence, biding time for an offence which caught fire from deep late. Trailing 30-36 late in the third quarter, the Cobras closed the period with a flurry from downtown, with Joel Naburgs, Mitch Dielemans and Zac Wuersching combining to drill four straight three pointers, giving Kilsyth a 42-38 lead heading into the final stanza.
Dielemans kept the Cobras torrid stretch going early in the fourth, scoring in traffic – plus the foul – to complete a three point play, and then drilled a pair of deep three point bombs to increase the Kilsyth lead to seven. A Corey Jeffs basket followed by six straight points by Tomada pushed the Cobras lead to 11 late, securing the Cobras fifth win of the season.
While it wasn’t their prettiest win of the season, for Cobras head coach Pete Godfrey
“One of the things we speak about this season is that ‘it’s good to be back’,” Godfrey said.
“Good to be back playing, training, coaching, and very good to be back together at Kilsyth. So as unattractive as our contest in Ballarat might have been, it was certainly good to be back, and even better to travel back with a W.”
Centre Tim Lang kept the Cobras close in the early going, scoring 13 of the team’s 22 first half points en-route to a game-high 16 for the game, adding seven rebounds in his best performance of the season. Dielemans was the only other Cobra to score in double figures, finishing with 12.
With both teams struggling from the field, the Cobras were impressive in a number of areas to walk away with a tough, double-digit road win. Godfrey’s team drained 10 three pointers while limiting the Miners to a 3-for-31 performance from deep; and their seven turnovers marked a season-best. The 50 points allowed by the Cobras marked a season low total for the entire league – a number made even more impressive considering the Miners talented roster, coaching staff, and a historically tough home court advantage.
Ballarat’s first six guys all have NBL credentials, and they are coached by an Olympic and NBL level coach (Brendan Joyce), so we expected to have our hands full all contest,” Godfrey said about the Cobras talented opponent.
“We also knew that our D would be key, as it is every contest. Ballarat average 80 points per game, our aim was to keep that under 70 and we knew we’d be in the contest.
The win moves the Cobras to 5-3 on the season, good for seventh in the league standings. The Cobras face a doubleheader weekend ahead, taking on Ringwood on the road on Friday night before returning home on Saturday to host the Mt Gambier Pioneers (6pm/8pm).
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