ROUND 5 REVIEW
The Kilsyth Cobras have extended their winning streak to ten at the culmination of Round 5 while Sydney Metro also swept the weekend and Wollongong have officially secured a playoff position with two wins.
Kilsyth were at home against the Queensland Spinning Bullets and utilised that home court advantage to claim all three games although they were made to work by the Bullets who now sit just a point outside the top four.
On Friday night, the Cobras owned a 16-point lead heading into the final term but a 9-0 run from Queensland in the space of five minutes made things interesting.
Tom O’Neill-Thorne (22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists) was the catalyst for the run while Matt McShane added ten points for the game but Tristan Knowles (29 points, seven boards, 12 assists, four steals) steadied the ship alongside some strong work under the rim from Daniel Del Toso (11 points, 13 rebounds) as Kilsyth prevailed, 67-53.
The Bullets then came out firing on Saturday afternoon to lead by five at quarter-time as four players hit double-figures including 11 points from Anderson Parker off the bench.
After the first break, Kilsyth controlled the contest though and ran out 87-61 victors as Knowles tallied another 34 points and 16 assists.
On Sunday in their final meeting, the Cobras looked to have their opposition on the ropes with a 14-point edge in the second period but Queensland rallied to trim the margin to just three at the main break.
They then moved in front in the final term and a basket from O’Neill-Thorne (30 points, eight rebounds, nine assists) with just over two minutes remaining pushed the lead to five.
It would be their last score of the game though as Kilsyth tightened their defence while at the other end of the floor, Brian Carminati (eight points) and Del Toso (ten points, seven boards) put the Cobras back in front with an offensive rebound to Dylan Alcott also playing a key role.
Knowles (36 points, 15 assists) then secured the 75-73 win from the free-throw line to keep Kilsyth’s winning streak intact despite the gallant efforts of the Bullets.
Taking on the Red Dust Heelers, Sydney Metro returned from the bye in Round 4 but were jumped by the home side early on Saturday night.
The lead changed hands nine times in the first half as both teams wrestled for ascendancy but out of half-time, the Blues finally gained control as Joseph Chambers blossomed in a starting role with 28 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
CJ McCarthy-Grogan was just as impressive, combining seven steals with 14 points, seven boards and six assists while John McPhail added 12 points off the bench.
Red Dust did not give in though, closing the gap to three in the last quarter before eventually falling by nine as Adam Deans and Ryan Morich tallied 31 points together.
The following day, the Blues dominated proceedings as they won by 39, out-scoring the Heelers’ bench 39-3 on the back of McCarthy-Grogan (16 points, seven rebounds), McPhail (ten points, 12 assists) and Georgia Munro-Cook (12 points).
In the other double-header for the weekend, Wollongong secured a playoff position with an average winning margin over bottom-placed Adelaide of 54.5 points.
Michael Auprince paced them with 23.5 points and 14.5 rebounds while Brett Stibners had a triple-double in the second clash to average 22.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and eight assists.
Nick Taylor (16 points, 6.5 assists) and Luke Pople (13 points, ten assists) also hit double-figures to answer anything Adam Roocke (9.5 points, 10.5 rebounds) and Beau Buckley (5.5 points) threw at them but the Thunder just couldn’t find the bottom of the basket, shooting 18% from the field as a team.
The NWBL returns this weekend for Round 6 with only three rounds remaining in the regular season.