SEASON REVIEW: KILSYTH COBRAS
Wins - 15
Losses – 3
Standing – 4th
2016 result – 14 wins, 3 losses Champions
A strong start to the regular season positioned Kilsyth as one of the teams to beat again in 2017, losing just three games for the year while they sat at 10-1 after Round 5. They would have also been confident heading into the post-season with a 6-3 record against fellow top four teams. The most effective offensive team in the league, they had three players average in double-figures including Shawn Russell (11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds) and Shaun Groenewegen (11.1 points, 2.8 assists). Daniel Del Toso (9.3 points, 6.8 rebounds) and Josh Allison (6.6 points) provided handy contributions as well as Brian Carminati, Damon Fent and Jontee Brown who are developing into the next generation. Kilsyth were also well-drilled defensively, giving up the second least amount of points through the regular season.
Coming into the finals in good form and playing on their home court, the Cobras could not complete a three-peat as they crashed out with three consecutive defeats to miss out on the podium from second place. Giving up only 57.8 points per game during the regular season, they surrendered 82 points per contest in three playoff games and their shooting percentage deserted them across the board. Tristan Knowles excelled in the bronze medal clash but did not receive enough support as the Spinning Bullets upset them by three points.
Despite the disappointment of their finals campaign, the Kilsyth Cobras were given reason to smile with Knowles claiming the High-Point MVP at the awards ceremony post-game. One of only four players to average a double-double on the season, he collected 24.5 points, seven rebounds and 11.1 assists per contest. His efficiency at the offensive end was exemplified as he finished first for free-throws made and free-throw percentage as well as three-pointers made and three-point percentage. Scoring at least 12 points every clash, Knowles also recorded three triple-doubles for the year.
Champions in 2015 and 2016, the Cobras’ performance in this year’s playoffs is cause for concern but they will not be hitting the panic button just yet. They have a wealth of juniors rising through the program who also competed well at the Under-23 World Championships earlier this year where Australia won bronze and with a player of Knowles’ calibre leading from the front, Kilsyth will always be a dangerous team. When he does not fire, they can be vulnerable though as evidenced by the Semi-Final which will be an area of focus for the off-season.