SEABL: Knox Raiders in big comeback

KNOX Raiders men conjured another memorable comeback in a win over rivals Kilsyth Cobras at Knox Stadium in the SEABL men’s competition on Saturday night
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The Cobras held a 34-19 quarter-time lead over the Raiders and maintained a double-figure advantage at half-time before the Raiders stormed back in the second half, taking a late lead behind the play of CJ Massingale (27 points, seven rebounds, five assists) and John Phillip (21 points, 10 rebounds).

The Raiders tied the game at 62-62 at three-quarter-time before taking their first lead with Lester Strong basket early in the final term.

From that point, the game see-sawed before a running-jump shot from Massingale with 50 seconds to go gave the Raiders the lead for good.

The Cobras did get one final chance to put the game into overtime as Garfield Blair (18 points) had a three-point shot that missed, followed up Tim Lang (22 points, 10 rebounds), whose desperate three-pointer was also wide.

Phillip said the Raiders had stuck to the task in the second half following a half-time “rev up” from coach Graham Longstaff. “We are a veteran team and we know what each player can do, especially in late game situations,” he said.

The win was even more impressive for the Raiders as star guard Mick Hill was held out of the match due to a calf injury.

Hill warmed up but was deemed not fit enough to play as emerging guard Justin Aver (13 points, five rebounds) took his place in the starting line-up and made several key plays. One was an offensive rebound in the final minutes that all but killed off the Cobras’ comeback hopes.

“Justin was amazing out there,” Phillip said. “He took some big rebounds. We don’t see that too much at training so he must have brought it out special for this game. He stepped up and took his opportunity.”

Cobras guard Zach Malvik (13 points) said his side was disappointed to drop the match after such a good start.

“We went away from what we were doing in the first quarter,” he said. “We are disappointed but we will look to the next few games to get some more wins.”

The Raiders women also beat their Cobras counterparts 69-54 in the SEABL competition on Saturday night.

Raiders star Odette Andrew continued her great start to the season with a game-high 16 points. The Cobras were led by Hayley Moffatt (14 points) and Chantella Perera (12points).

The Raiders also won the Cystic Fibrosis Cup, an annual trophy played between the two clubs.