Hampered by injuries all season the Cobras lost Adam Jackson (leg) in the 1st quarter and Jon Croft (knee, ankle) in the 3rd term to leave them with just seven fit players. With Chris Payne electrocuted prior to the season, Import Zach Malvik returning home with a broken foot earlier in the week and rookie Bryan Moore straining a groin earlier in the week, the Cobras could have been forgiven for dropping this game.
Despite all the obstacles, DJ Taylor in game no. 351 and his team were not going to let their season slip away. Joe Werner (23pts and 17rbds) made up for a poor game against Albury playing 43 minutes and holding his own against Brisbane Bullet’s NBL player and Spartans Centre Greg Vanderjagt (17pts, 19rbds).
Kilsyth coming off a win against Albury (Saturday Night) and Southern Districts splitting their first two games of the weekend (defeated Mt Gambier, lost Knox) both came into the game tired after tough schedules.
The Cobras weren’t the only ones hit by the injury bug as Spartan Chris Goulding went down during the 2nd term with an ankle injury. Both teams knew this game was going to come down to the wire, with it being a test of who had the greater endurance.
Gerard Leonard (16pts) was on fire early in the first term as Kilsyth went into the break with a 26-21 lead. His offensive presence during the game was great but it was his defensive effort of Australian Boomer’s Squad member Adam Gibson (30pts) that helped guide the Cobras to the win.
Both teams continued to put up the points in the 2nd quarter as the Cobras pushed the lead to 10 only to see the Spartans pull within 4 at the main break on a Zac Carter three.
After Jon Croft went down early in the 3rd the Cobras were left with just seven fit players and responded accordingly turning the game into a battle at the defensive end. Kilsyth’s newest signing point guard Luke Cooper (3pts, 7 assists) teamed up with Jon Lee to not only contain the Spartans but send the Cobras into the 4th holding a 4 point lead.
Kilsyth looked like giving the game away in the 4th as the Spartans push out to a 7 point lead holding the Cobras to just 2 points in the opening 6 minutes. Looking short on scoring options with Jackson and Croft gone, the Cobras could have easily rolled over and gave up the win, but DJ Taylor (15pts) was not going to let his team fold.
Gerard Leonard again ignited the Cobras at both ends of the floor and after a Joe Werner three the Cobras regained the lead. DJ found himself wide open for a lay up with 1:30 remaining as the Cobras looked home taking a 6 point lead. Adam Gibson showed his class by knocking down a three to close the gap, with Kilsyth unable to seal the game from the free throw line. Despite giving Southern Districts every opportunity, Kilsyth managed to make enough free throws to record the win by the slimmest of margins and improve to 6-10 on the season.
The banged up Cobras travel to Mt Gambier Friday night before getting a weekend off over the Queen’s Birthday. They will be looking for their all important 7th win of the season before making a similar season defining trip to the women taking on both Hobart and NW Tasmania on June 13 and 14.
The Cobras return home on June 21st as they take on the Ballarat Miners at 8.15pm
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