Roy Ward talks to Kilsyth Cobras coach Rod Popp and covers this week’s big plays as well as the media wrap-up.
It was moving day or more like moving weekend for Kilsyth Cobras.
Faced with the fact they were still locked in battle with Hobart Chargers for fourth place in the SEABL south conference then realising they had the Tasmanian road double at Hobart and North-West Tasmania Thunder – the Cobras clicked into gear and took wins from both matches.
But Cobras coach Rod Popp admits it looked like winning would be the last thing his side would do after a horror first half in Hobart on Friday night.
“We’ve had one of those seasons where there was expectation but we have had some injuries then in a handful of games we have had a chance to win and didn’t do it,” Popp said.
“We looked at this past weekend as do or die and we couldn’t have played worse in the first half against Hobart.”
Luckily the Chargers only took a modest lead into the main break in a low-scoring encounter.
“We were only down five and we said if we get this right then we can get it done,” Popp said.
“In the last five minutes of the fourth quarter we played some really good basketball, won the game then carried that over into Saturday night’s game.”
The Hobart win took the Cobras a long way towards locking in a finals spot but against the highly-rated Thunder the Cobras rolled to a win behind guard Kyle Adnam who had 34 points while playing all 40 minutes.
They are now a win and two losses ahead of the Chargers and have a game in hand so appear locked into the finals.
“I don’t think we battered an eye lid against NW Tasmania,” Popp said.
“Kyle was pretty special in that game but the other guys responded as well and when we needed a play someone would get it for us.
“Kyle obviously led the charge for us but we also had some tremendous minutes from Jackson Brazier and Taylor Cameron who all played 40 minutes.”
Popp praised Adnam’s ability to rise to the moment after potent scorer Joel Naburgs was forced out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
“We all forget Kyle is only in his second SEABL season,” Popp said.
“As a club we pushed the envelope with Kyle this season and he has responded. I think he has some good moments and we expect it all the time but he is still very young in this process.
“With Joel out, Kyle now gets the opposition’s best perimeter defender – he’s being marked hard and it’s a credit to him that teams believe they need to do that to get us out of our offence.”
The Cobras weekend was even better when their Big V Youth Championship Men’s side won the grand final giving the club a second title at that level in three years.
“We have been using a home grown team for a few years now and it has a chance [of succeeding],” Popp said.
“We want them to do well but it’s a marathon and it’s a credit to the club that we can push it to the end.
“We’ve been pretty successful in that age group and we’ve had three guys who have been a part of our SEABL group.”
As for the SEABL side’s title chances – all Popp wants to see his side get there first.
“Mt Gambier is out in front but once you get into the playoffs then it’s anyone’s game,” Popp said.
*Dandenong’s Daequon Montreal had 30 points and eight rebounds against BA COE then added 32 points, eight rebounds and five steals against Canberra Gunners.
*Rangers teammate Lucas Walker also had a strong night with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
*BA COE forward Jack White stood tall against the Rangers’ front line with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
*Mt Gambier’s Damian Johnson had another big night for his club with 26 points and 13 rebounds against Geelong Supercats.
*Brisbane Spartans Isaih Tueta put down 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists against BA COE.
*Canberra duo Ben Allen (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Nnaebuka Anyaorah (16 and 10) led their side to a win over Dandenong.
*Kilsyth guard Kyle Adnam scored 34 points against NW Tasmania while teammate Tim Lang added 22 points in a key Cobras win.
*NW Tasmanian imports Fred Hunter (22 points) and Garrett Jackson 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against the Cobras.
*Albury-Wodonga star Cory Dixon scored 29 points and grabbed 17 boards against Sandringham.
*Ballarat Miners’ big three Roy Booker (23 points, eight assists), Anthony Fisher (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Gregory Thondique (20 points, 15 rebounds) all stepped up in their club’s win over Nunawading.
*Bendigo’s Kevin Probert scored 26 points in his side’s win over Geelong.
*Geelong’s Nathan Herbert also showed some good touch with 24 points against the Braves.
SEABL media links
*Bendigo Advertiser’s Adam Bourke (@Bourkey77) reports on the Braves’ win over Geelong. Report: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/3267238/probert-powers-braves-to-big-wins/?cs=81
*The Examiner’s Cameron Slessor reports on NW Tasmania’s loss to Kilsyth. Story: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3266419/thunder-go-down-to-cobras/?cs=88
*The Examiner’s Stuart Wilson took these photos of the game. Gallery: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/3266701/seabl-basketball-nw-thunder-v-kilsyth-pictures-photos/?cs=88#slide=9
*The Courier’s Melanie Whelan (@Melanie_Whelan) reports the Miners’ playoff hopes remain alive. Report, pics: http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3266498/miners-alive/?cs=63
*Geelong Advertiser reports on Sara Blicavs making the Opals. Report: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/sara-blicavs-shines-playing-for-australian-opals/story-fnjuhs0b-1227476421027
*Geelong Advertiser’s Nick Wade reports on Chantel Horvat winning a bronze medal with the Gems. Report, picture: http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/sport/local-sport/geelongs-chantel-horvat-helps-australia-win-bronze-medal-at-under-19-basketball-titles/story-fnjuhs0b-1227473749058
Roy Ward (@rpjward) is a freelance sports writer who has covered the NBA, NBL, WNBL, SEABL and Big V during his career. He will be filing weekly columns on the SEABL men’s and women’s competitions during this season. For feedback or suggestions send Roy a tweet or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org