Colac makes history with semi-final win

The Colac Kookas fought from behind in a thrilling semi-final victory against Mount Gambier to book a spot in their first Country Basketball League grand final.

The Colac Kookas fought from behind in a thrilling semi-final victory against Mount Gambier to book a spot in their first Country Basketball League grand final.

A THRILLING come-from-behind semi-final win has led the Colac Kookas to a history-making Country Basketball League grand final berth.

The Kookas trailed by 11 points midway thought the final term of Saturday night’s do-or-die clash against Mount Gambier but a late charge, including two big threes from Kookas forward Steve Packer, helped Colac take the lead in the game’s final minutes.

Colac held on to win the match, 77-69, and earn the Kookas their first grand final berth in CBL history.

“The whole group is absolutely pumped,” Colac coach Keith Harrison said after the win.

“When I started the journey as coach two years ago I wanted to develop a side that could play in grand finals and finals year in, year out, and now we’ve got a chance to hang a banner,” he said.

“We’re super excited right now but come Monday we’ve got to come back down to Earth because the job’s only half done.”

Colac will meet minor premier Horsham in this weekend’s decider, after the Hornets defeated Warrnambool in the other knock-out semi-final on Saturday, 89-75.

Harrison said his team would be well prepared for the clash at Horsham after battling out its semi-final against Mount Gambier, which had won the past three CBL conference titles.

The Kookas led by six points at half time before the Coasters stole the lead with a 26-23 third quarter.

“I didn’t believe at any stage that we would let it slip,” Harrison said.

“I have so much belief in the guys in this team that they know how to play Kookas basketball and they believe in one another,” he said.

“Once we opened the game up for Liam McInerney and got him in better positions things started to roll for us.

“Guys really stepped up and hit big shots, Pacman stepped up and hit two key threes out of structure.”

Colac guard Lewie Varley, 18 points, McInerney, 16, and Packer, 14, played big roles in the Kookas late fightback, while Harrison was full of praise for Varley, Matt Lucas, Sam Barrow, Jack Barrow and Emerson Varley for their defensive roles on dangerous Mount Gambier guards Simon and Matt Berkefeld.

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