A dominant second half run saw the NBL1 Cobras record an impressive 86-58 road win over the Ballarat Rush on Saturday night.
Riding a hot start by centre Lauren Scherf, the Cobras got the jump on the Rush from tipoff, racing out to a 20-7 lead. Scherf, Bree Whatman and Emma Pearce provided a big offensive punch early on, combining for 33 first half points to give Kilsyth an eight point lead at the main break.
The Cobras early double-digit lead was all but erased early in the third quarter, though, with an Alicia Froling basket pulling the Rush to within 46-42 as Ballarat appeared poised to take their first lead of the game. But the Cobras would respond with arguably their most dominant stretch of the season, dialling up the defensive pressure and exploding on the offensive end to blow the game open. With Pearce, Nikita Young and Carly Turner leading the way, Kilsyth blew the game open with a crushing 28-4 run spanning the third and fourth periods, quickly turning a close game into a no-contest late.
Scherf kickstarted the Cobras run with a basket off a feed from Turner, and then back to back buckets by Young saw Kilsyth push their lead out to double figures once again. A three pointer from Ballarat’s Kristy Rinaldi trimmed the Kilsyth lead to eight, but Young and Pearce combined for 17 of the Cobras next 21 points – holding the Rush with out a field goal in the process – giving the Cobras a 74-46 cushion early in the fourth period. They would cruise the rest of the way, recording their second largest winning margin of the season in the process.
Pearce enjoyed her best game as a Cobra on Saturday, with her boundless energy and aggressive play proving too much for the Rush to handle as she scored a game-high 22 points in just 18 minutes. Scherf recorded a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double – her eighth in as many games – to go along with a trio of assists and blocks; Whatman added 13 points and three assists; and Young also finished in double-figures scoring 11 points to go along with a season-high six steals in just 18 minutes of play. Turner produced another impressive all-around stat line, finishing with seven points, nine boards, four assists and three steals; Georgia Booth added eight points; and Sarah Haberfield rounded out an impressive defensive performance by the Cobras as she matched Young with a game-high six steals.
With Young, Haberfield and Turner at their disruptive best on the defensive end, the Cobras recoded a season-best 23 steals, while forcing the Rush into a season-high 29 turnovers in the process. The Cobras 58 points allowed was their second lowest total of the season, and the second time in three games that they have held a team under 60.
The win moves coach Hannah Lowe’s team to 5-3 on the season thrusting the Cobras back into the top half of the league standings. They’ll look continue their winning ways this weekend, facing the Ringwood Hawks on the road on Friday night, before playing host to the Mt Gambier Pioneers at home on Saturday (6pm/8pm).
Veteran wing Ben Ursich has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Ursich was a key contributor to the Cobras once again in 2023, averaging 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while ranking third on the team in three point makes (30) and percentage (35.3 3FG%). The Maroondah Magic junior
Defensive specialist Sarah Haberfield has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Haberfield was a solid contributor to the Cobras roster in 2023, starting in 20 of 22 regular season games and ranking amongst the team leaders in assists (2.1), steals (1.0) and rebounding (3.3). The SEBC Saints junior recorded a
Mitch Dielemans has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Dielemans enjoyed a strong 2023 NBL1 campaign with the Cobras, averaging a career-high 8.9 points per game to go along with 2.2 assists per game, shooting team-bests of 40.3% from three point range and 80.3% from the foul line. He recoded