Swinburne Kilsyth Cobras (19-8) v Bendigo Braves (18-9), Kilsyth Indoor Sports Centre, 7:30pm Saturday, Aug 7
Kilsyth will be buoyed by the fact that they defeated championship contender Geelong last week, a win that is even more significant given that it was at the Supercats home venue. The Swinburne Cobras are currently on a seven game winning streak and one of the form sides in the competition.
Bendigo will take some confidence from beating Mt Gambier in the last week of the season. Although the Pioneers are 6th in the South conference, they can be a tough opponent at home. However, Bendigo have also lost to Knox and Hobart at home in the last month, possibly a worrying sign for the Braves.
Undoubtedly Fernandez Lockett is the most dangerous player on the Swinburne Cobras roster, averaging 16.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. But Kilsyth also have a great spread of contributors, including Ryan Bathie, Matt O’Hae and Tim Lang
If Lockett is important to the Swinburne Cobras, then Ivan McFarlin is critical to the Braves success. The power-forward averages 19.4 points and league leading 13.7 rebounds. More striking is the fact that McFarlin’s numbers are up to 22.0 points and 19.0 rebounds over the last 4 games. Luke Meyer and Adam Tanner are the other standouts for the Braves, but the Swinburne Cobras frontcourt will have their hands full containing McFarlin.
Although only in his second year, Quincy Henderson does a lot of work that goes unnoticed. His defensive pressure is outstanding, and remains calm under pressure; the right kind of ingredients for this time of year.
The amount Chris Hogan contributes might go some way to deciding the winner. Hogan is a pure shooter, jacking up 142 three-point attempts this year at a very commendable 41.5 percent. Watch out if he gets his streak going.
Key Match ups
Ivan McFarlin v Tim Lang
Tim Lang is one of four Kilsyth Players averaging over 14 points per game, and is part of a balanced offence that is hard to cover. But Lang may have to sacrifice some of his offence to step up at the defensive end. Keep Ivan McFarlin quite, and the Swinburne Cobras will go a long way to winning this one.
Fernandez Lockett v Adam Tanner
Lockett averages 17.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists when Kilsyth win. When the Swinburne Cobras lose, those numbers drop to 13.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.0 assists. If Tanner can restrict Lockett’s influence, and still get to double figures himself, then the Swinburne Cobras might have a few problems.
Previous Meetings This Year
Kilsyth 74 def Bendigo 61 @ Bendigo
Bendigo 93 def Kilsyth 65 @ Kilsyt
The teams have split their games this year, with both teams winning away. Ryan Bathie was especially good on both occasions however, averaging 22.5 points. Bendigo shot the ball poorly in the first encounter (38.5 FG%) before improving to 56.5 FG% on the return game.
These teams met in the first round of playoffs last year, with Kilsyth winning 100 to 77. Kilsyth were knocked out by eventual champion Knox in the next round. Bendigo beat Kilsyth back in the 2007 conference grand final, and although Ben Harvey was not coaching the Braves back then, he was on the playing roster.
Bendigo started the year well, with a 10-3 record after 9 rounds. Their form as tapered off a little, but they have done enough to put themselves in a position where they are guaranteed a home final.
Kilsyth however, have had a sterling finish to the year, having won their last seven in a row. The team does not rely on one or two stars, but has an even spread of scorers, and a top defender in Henderson.
Your Kilsyth Cobras play host to the Eltham Wildcats in the NBL1 Game of the Week on Saturday night. The Cobras look to defend home court in a key late season doubleheader, with the Women needing a win to stay in postseason contention, while the 11-6 Men look to continue their rapid rise up
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A primetime NBL1 home showdown and VYC regular season finale highlight a huge weekend of home hoops for your Kilsyth Cobras. The NBL1 Cobras play host to the Waverley Falcons on Saturday night (Women 6pm, Men 8pm), in a key late season doubleheader. The Cobra Women (7-9) take on a Falcons team (8-6) in