Kookas move into conference finals contention

COLAC Kookas basketballers gave their Country Basketball League finals hopes a massive boost with a valuable road victory against Hamilton yesterday.

Colac reversed its six-point loss to the Hurricanes in round seven, with a dominant second half landing the squad a 75-57 win at Hamilton Leisure Centre.

Colac Kookas coach Justin Williamson.

Unlike the earlier encounter when Hamilton led by 12 points at half time, the Kookas held a five-point lead at the main break and the margin only grew from there.

Kookas forward Russell Whiteford was the star of the show, accumulating a season-high 27 points playing as a tall in the absence of centre Nathan Lemke.

“Russ had a blinder, he couldn’t miss,” coach Justin Williamson said.

“His midrange shots were going in as well as taking it in aggressively and strong, we were getting a lot of good looks inside to me and Shaun Dell and Lukey Hillman as well,” he said.

The Kookas worked hard to nullify the effects of Hamilton’s sharp shooters after Sam Brewer and Matt Smith ran riot last time.

Brewer finished with just 14 points.

“We did really well boxing out and working hard defensively to keep them from getting those outside shots,” Williamson said.

“Everyone was helping in defence and putting pressure on the shot,” he said.

Yesterday’s victory holds the Kookas in good stead for a finals berth but Williamson said the side would not get ahead of itself with clashes against Horsham and Warrnambool coming up.

“From defence to offence we were dishing the ball well, if we can carry this style of play into the finals we’ll give ourselves a good chance,” he said.

Williamson continued his strong season under the basket with 17 points while crafty guard Matt Williamson impressed en route to his 11 points.

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