It wasn’t pretty, but the Lady Cobras moved one step closer to securing the SEABL regular season championship on Saturday night, locking down on the defensive end to record a 62-53 road win over the Albury-Wodonga Bandits.

It was another battle early-on for the Lady Cobras, as they struggled mightily from the field in the first half to trail, 30-35 heading into the locker room. And although they never seemed to find their groove offensively, it was a signature defensive performance in the second half that fuelled the Lady Cobras to their third straight win.

Kilsyth suffocated the Bandits over the final 20 minutes of play, holding them to just 18 second half points as they took control of the game. The Lady Cobras surrendered just five points in the third period to take a three point lead heading into the final stanza, before Angela Beadle and Jordyn O’Shea took charge on the offensive end as they led a devastating crunch time run.

Tied at 45 early in the fourth period, Beadle and O’Shea then took over the game, combining to score all 15 points during a game-breaking 15-4 run by the Lady Cobras. The surge gave Kilsyth a 60-49 lead with under two minutes remaining, enough to secure the Lady Cobras 17th win of the season to keep them atop the league standings.

Beadle led Kilsyth with game-highs of 28 points and eight rebounds, Sarah Parsons added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and O’Shea chipped-in with 12 points in the win. Saturday’s game also marked the return of Emily Fryters, with the reigning SEABL Defensive Player of the Year recording four rebounds and two blocked shots in limited minutes following a two month layoff.

Lady Cobras Head Coach Sam Woosnam was pleased with her team’s second half response, with late comebacks becoming a staple in their victories of late.

“Going into halftime we found ourselves down and playing in Albury is always difficult to come back from,” Woosnam said.

“But we locked down defensively in the second half and managed to pull away with the win on the back of some big defensive stops.”

Although Kilsyth has held the league’s best record for most of the season, it hasn’t been easy of late, with the shorthanded Lady Cobras either tied or trailing at halftime in each of their past three wins. Woosnam admits it has been a challenge to maintain their place atop the league standings, but her team continues to find ways to get the job done, albeit in different fashion from years past.

“It is definitely difficult to be playing at the end of the season in must win games to stay on top of our conference,” Woosnam explained of her team’s late season grind.

“But luckily for us we just keep finding ways to win – even if it’s ugly.”

The Lady Cobras will wrap up their regular season at home on Saturday night as they host the Sydney Uni Sparks at 6pm. If all goes to plan, it will be the first time this season that the Lady Cobras have boasted a full, healthy lineup, with Maddie Garrick expected to return after winning silver with the Australian Opals at the FIBA Asia Cup.

“It’s our last regular season game this weekend and we should have a full squad for the first time this season, which is very exciting and long overdue,” Woosnam said.

“And it’s another must-win to remain on top and secure the first round home semi final.” 

If a must-win season finale wasn’t already big enough, Saturday night’s game will also mark the 300th SEABL game for Sarah Parsons. With plenty at stake and a chance to honour one of Kilsyth’s great all-time competitors on an incredible milestone, we are letting all Junior Domestic Players who rock their team gear ENTER FREE to help provide a booming atmosphere.

“We hope to see lots of Kilsyth Junior’s filling the stadium on Saturday for this must win game, and to also help Sarah celebrate her 300th SEABL game,” Woosnam added.

“Get down and show the team and Sarah your support!”