In their final home game of the season, the Frankston RSL Blues have gone agonisingly close to causing the biggest upset of the season in falling short by just 2 points to the top of the table Kilsyth Cobras in SEABL Round 14.
Leading by as many as 17 points in the third period, the Blues saw the Cobra’s ride a scintillating shooting performance from beyond the arc down the stretch as the stole a come-from-behind win. The Cobra’s drained 6-9 three-pointers in the final quarter, holding off every Blues challenge to consolidate their standing in first place in the standings.
Dan Trist posted yet another big double-double, collating 26 points with 10 rebounds, but Kilsyth’s depth and spread of scorers proved the difference, led by Felix Von Hofe’s 25 points.
The first half belonged to Frankston who played some of their best basketball of the season against one of the red-hot championship favourites. Everything the Blues touched in the first half turned to gold, as the home side racked up an impressive 60-points up to the main break behind some scintillating play.
Bennie Lewis was efficient yet again, while rolling out some highlight reel plays. He threw down a thunderous dunk through traffic, which was soon followed by a Sam Muldrow triple in transition that had the Frankston Basketball Centre crowd on their feet! Trist was dominating the paint in going up against Dane Pineau and Chris Patton, while Rhys Carter was winding back the career clock with his high-intensity play. Muldrow hammered home a big-time alley-oop that helped keep up the momentum.
In total control heading into the half time break and on a roll, Lewis stole possession and with an around-the-back pass found Trist under the basket who was fouled. He went to the line where he would go on to make both, ensuring the Blues owned a 15 point half time advantage. Frankston also connected on 5-7 from beyond the arc in the second period, and were making the talent-laden Cobras look pedestrian.
Early in the final period, the Blues would push the margin out to a game-high 17 points, but from there the Cobras started to tighten up defensively. As Andrew Harms went to his bench to ensure fresh legs for the run home, the scoring dried up for Frankston as the visitors slowly pegged back the margin. After a quiet first half, Kilsyth’s leading scorer Isaac Turner started to get going, causing headaches for the home side as the Cobras closed to within 5 points at the final change.
For the Blues, the final period became a battle of attrition as they tried to match it with Kilsyth’s deep bench. Sean MacDonald on fire from beyond the arc as he connected on three straight triples, ensuring the Cobras in front for the first time since early. Lewis and Muldrow continued to respond, ensuring the game went right down to the wire. With one of the deepest benches in the league, the Cobras managed to edge ahead in the final minute to register an important win, as the Blues legs just ran out of run. and ensure they remained in first place.
While Trist was the standout for the Blues, Muldrow added 22 points and 7 rebounds and Lewis 19 points and 8 rebounds. Carter was also very good in providing 16 points and 7 assists. Yet despite their best endeavours, the trio’s efforts were thwarted by five Cobras scoring in double figures, led by Von Hofe’s 25 points, supported by 16 points each to Turner and Macdonald (4-5 3PT).
Frankston completes their season on the road against Bendigo this coming Friday night and will also finish in second last place in the standings in what has proven a difficult season. So often in front in the third quarter, the Blues’ depth has been tested time and time again this season. One feels that they are just one or two pieces away from being a finals contender.