SWINBURNE COBRAS vs MT GAMBIER PIONEERS SOUTH CONFERENCE FINAL
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 5 – 8.30pm

Watch the game LIVE here

PROBABLE STARTERS


KILSYTH                       
MT GAMBIER
PG.    
K. Adnam T. Daly
SG. J. Naburgs
E. Burdon
SF. C. Johnson B. Hill
PF. 
A. Macmillan D. Johnson
C. T. Lang B. Allen

                        

If recent form is anything to go off, the South Conference championship game is the Pioneers to lose. Riding an eight-game winning streak into Friday nights game and boasting a perfect 14-0 home record, Mt Gambier will enter as overwhelming favourites against a young Kilsyth team. The Pioneers, led by a slew of NBL talent, finished the regular season with a league’s best 22-4 record and improved on that in postseason play with a 83-75 win over NW Tasmania in the first round of SEABL finals. Brad Hill (18.6ppg/7.7rpg) led the way for Mt Gambier with a 22-point/10-rebound double-double and will be a tough cover for the Cobras on Friday night.


Tom Daly (15.8ppg/3.3rpg) and Ben Allen (13.9ppg/8.6rpg) were solid against the Thunder, while big-man Damien Johnson (14.2ppg/8.6rpg/2.6bpg) will be looking to bounce back from an off game. Johnson was a handful for Kilsyth the last time the two met, with the athletic import exploding for 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Pioneers current win streak has coincided with the return of guard Erik Burdon, with the sharpshooter in red-hot form over his past four games. Burdon completes an imposing starting lineup, with he, Daly, Allen, Hill and Johnson all averaging at least 14ppg on the season.

Though they are one of the league’s least experienced teams, the Cobras punched their ticket to the championship game with a big 84-70 road win over NW Tasmania on Saturday night, one week after defeating Sandringham at home in their first round final. Auryn Macmillan has been the standout for Kilsyth in their two finals games to date, following up his 21 point/12 rebound/3 assist effort against the Sabres with a monstrous 26 point/17 rebound/5 assist game against the Thunder.

Joel Naburgs has been solid in postseason play for the Cobras (17.5ppg/9.0rpg/4.5apg), and took over the role of distributor against the Thunder in the absence of Kyle Adnam. Adnam struggled as he battled an illness that saw him hospitalized earlier in the week, while Tim Lang battled foul trouble for most of Saturday night’s game, finishing with just 13 points as his late offensive struggles continued. Despite having Lang and Adnam limited, the Cobras were still able to put forth arguably their best performance of 2014, thanks to the contributions of their supporting cast of Cam Johnson, Gerard Leonard and Daniel Tomada. Johnson was impressive defensively against the Thunder’s BJ Jenkins, and will need to step up again as he will be counted on to hold Hill and Burdon in check.

While Mt Gambier is the superior team on paper, Kilsyth have continued to prove the doubters wrong all year long. Picked to finish as one of SEABL’s cellar dwellers in 2014, the Cobras now find themselves as one of just four teams still standing. If they are to keep their season alive, though, a lot will depend on the health of Adnam and shooting of Lang. If Adnam is unable to fully recover from his illness by game time, Kilsyth will find themselves in trouble against arguably the league’s deepest, most talented team. But if Adnam is good to go, Macmillan and Naburgs continue to play at a high level, and Lang can return to his early season form, the Cobras have a chance to pull off the improbable and advance to the SEABL championship game.


PREVIOUS MEETINGS

JULY 6 – KILSYTH SPORTS CENTRE

Kilsyth           79      

T. Lang (25p/9r), K. Adnam (18p/5r/8a), A. Macmillan (15p/9r)

Mt Gambier  61

B. Hill (19p/5r), T. Daly (16p/6r), D. Johnson (10p/5r)


JULY 25 – BERN BRUNING BASKETBALL STADIUM

Kilsyth          78

J. Naburgs (27p/7r), A. Macmillan (19p/12r), T. Lang (18p/10r/4a)

Mt Gambier  91

D. Johnson (30p/11r/4b), B. Allen (16p/8r), J. Warbout (15p), B. Hill (12p/6r)

DOMESTIC CLUBS