Knox Raiders (22-2) vs Kilsyth Lady Cobras (18-6), Knox Stadium, 6pm Saturday, September 10
Knox should not be concerned about dropping the game against Dandenong last week. They were in control for most of the match, and only froze up in a tight finish. It will provide the players with an opportunity to learn from the experience, and will also provide plenty of motivation and focus for this game against archrival Kilsyth.
Kilsyth have won three in a row, but will be without Abby Bishop for their biggest game of the year. Her departure due to Opals commitments is possibly the biggest individual loss to any team in the league. However, Kilsyth only lost by 4 points in overtime the last time they met, and the Cobras won plenty of games sans Bishop this season, so they should still feel very confident.
While Amy Denson is clearly the Raiders best individual player, Sarah Graham can be their most devastating scorer. It is a matter of when, not if, she gets on fire, and once in rhythm, Graham can blow out the score line in the space of a few possessions. Julia Tan is the other key player for Knox, but not because of her outstanding on court abilities. A SEABL championship is the major item missing from her otherwise fantastic playing resume, and Knox needs to lift for her if nothing else.
Chantella Perera has been the Cobras most consistent player over the last 6 weeks, and she had another outstanding game against Bendigo last week with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. While Eva Afeaki is another dominant player, she could be less than 100% with a shoulder complaint, and in her place Hayley Moffatt needs to repeat the kind of effort that saw her take out the Player of the Week award in round 11.
Shanae Greaves has emerged as a star of the future. At only 18 years of age, she already has two seasons of championship experience, and this year she has shown signs of class and touch that normally takes years to develop in players at her position. While experience is usually seen as the vaunted attribute at finals time, sometimes a degree of youthfulness and the impetuousness that comes with it can surprise opposition teams.
Jordan O’Shea is the unsung hero of the Lady Cobras starting line-up. She doesn’t get huge numbers statistically, but that’s only because it’s not her role. In the defensively-minded Kilsyth team, her job as starting point guard is more about containment of her opponent and maintaining a level of hustle that makes it hard for opposition teams to start the offence. If she can stop Julia Tan, it could upset the Raiders offence that relies on getting the ball to Denson and Graham in positions where they like to shoot.
Key Match ups
Amy Denson vs Gemma Kerr
With Bishop away, SEABL fans have been denied the opportunity to see arguably the best match up in the competition. Gemma Kerr may be asked to start in Bishop’s absence, and she will be dropped straight in the deep end, asked to contain Amy Denson, the league’s second-leading scorer and 2010 All-Star. Although the Lady Cobras are exceptional as a defensive unit on the whole, Kerr will be on the front line when it comes to containing Denson.
Chantella Perera vs Sarah Graham
Perera and Graham are very different players. The Lady Cobra is supremely athletic, nimble, and fast. She is also full of confidence, averaging 19.9 points @ 46.8% in her last eight games. Graham is compact and measured, a flat-out shooter. Like all big-time players, she’s never lacked confidence to take the big shots. Despite their differences, both styles are attractive to watch, and regardless of the final outcome this should be an engaging match up.
Previous Meetings This Year
Round 1Knox 67 def Kilsyth 60 @ Knox
Round 13Knox 70 def Kilsyth 66 @ Kilsyth
Without Bishop, it looks far too hard for Kilsyth against a Knox side that must be hurting after their loss to Dandenong. The Raiders hold an advantage in almost every position and have home court advantage, but Cheryl Chambers is an outstanding coach and will try every trick in the book to try and pull out an unlikely upset.
Star point guard Adi Tomada has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Tomada enjoyed a standout 2023 season with the Cobras, leading the team in assists (4.6apg) and steals (1.4spg), ranking second in scoring (19.5ppg) and three pointers made (2.0 3PM), while finding his way to the free throw
Star guard Nikita Young has re-signed with the Kilsyth Cobras for the 2024 NBL1 season. Young put together an impressive second NBL1 season with the Cobras, ranking third on the team in scoring (12.7ppg), rebounds (5.4rpg), assists (2.3apg), while her quick hands and anticipation saw her rank fifth in the league in steals (2.3spg).
The Kilsyth Cobra Women have made their first move for the 2024 NBL1 season, re-signing rising star, Georgia Booth. Booth enjoyed a breakout season with the Cobras, leading the team in three point makes while ranking second on the team in scoring. The lightning quick guard blossomed into a high level scorer, averaging 17.5