Ballarat Rush kept close to an impressive Kilsyth outfit for three quarters before the visitors broke away to secure victory at the Minerdome on Saturday night.
The opening term of the South East Australian Basketball League clash remained tight with the Cobras taking a one-point lead into the first break, before Ballarat Skoda Rush led by as much as eight points in the second quarter.
Rush and Kilsyth continued to fight hard after half-time, going basket for basket for much of the third quarter.
With scores all tied at the final break, the battling Rush looked the best it had for weeks for the home crowd.
But the Cobras struck when it counted, establishing a 10-point buffer in the opening three minutes of the final term. Despite rallying and hitting crucial three-pointers late in the game, Rush could not recover the margin.
Rush coach Eric Hayes said while his players had produced a better performance, the team still needed to finish off games.
“We’ve been able to put together a quarter or two, or three tonight, and then we just have that moment where teams kind of break apart and we struggle to recover from it,” Hayes said after the clash.
“Credit to the girls, they kept battling and they kept fighting and that’s a good thing. But we just can’t give up those moments and right now they probably have a deeper effect on us.”
While lapses hurt at pivotal times, Hayes was positive about the overall improvement, especially the defensive effort in the first half.
“The girls were looking after each other, backing each other up, just playing smart defence and then offensively, just moving the ball well and creating some really good opportunities for us,” Hayes said.
“There were just some moments where people did some really good things, jumping in a lane and creating a steal or making an extra effort to get a rebound or running a lane hard, those things that really help the team and give us a really good energy.
“Even at the end we made some pretty good decisions and we got some pretty good looks, but just missed a couple of easy shots.”