BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE The search for a four-quarter performance continues to frustrate North-West Thunder coach Sam Armstrong after he watched his side go down 94-85 to Geelong in Saturday night’s NBL1 game at Ulverstone.
While the final margin of nine points may suggest the Thunder were in contention for long periods, the reality was that the Supercats controlled proceedings for the majority of the 40 minutes, and looked like recording a commanding victory when they led 81-57 in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
The home side fought back in the closing stages with an 8-0 run to keep the visitors honest, but it merely papered over the cracks that haunted them for long periods last year and have emerged again to drop their win-loss record to 5-7.
“We’re just riddled with errors and inconsistent effort at the moment,” Armstrong said.
“We showed effort in the last quarter, but it consistently went missing for the two quarters before that.
“You can take the x’s and o’s out of the equation if you continually make errors and are inconsistent – you’ll never give yourself a chance to win the game.”
The experienced Geelong line-up was always going to be a handful for the younger Thunder line-up to contain, and it proved to be with classy import DeMarcus Gatlin helping himself to a game-high 39 points, which included 18 in the final term.
Their quick transition from defence into offence often caught the home side out and resulted in easy points
But Armstrong refused to use his side’s youth as a reason for their fourth loss in five games.
“I think we allow ourselves to get bullied by the opposition and there is no reason why we need to,” he said.
“We proved it a few weeks ago against Albury that we don’t need to play that way, but at times it’s a bit of a mental struggle for us.
“I don’t want to make excuses and say we are a young group – I have five guys out on the floor that I have an expectation of to get the job done and at the moment we can’t get it done collectively.
“Geelong’s transition was the first thing we wrote on our board tonight to counter.
“But when you have a clear focus on that but can’t go out and execute it, then it shows we have a few holes that we have to fix up.”
In his return to the side, import Nick Banyard scored 18 points for the Thunder, along with Tre Armstrong in his farewell game, with Jordan Bowling adding 12 points.
The league takes a break over the long weekend, giving the Thunder plenty of time to prepare for the second Tasmanian derby of the season against Hobart on June 15 at Ulverstone.