North-West Thunder climb to fourth with wins over Albury-Wodonga and Kilsyth

BY CAMRON SLESSER (@camronslessor) – THE ADVOCATE    The North-West Tall Timbers Thunder have thrust themselves back into finals contention with another standout performance on the road. 

The Coastal side have been one of the in-form teams of the SEABL competition in the last month, headlined by coach Sam Armstrong being named the competition’s Coach of the Month for June.

The Thunder travelled to face Albury-Wondonga and Kilsyth over the weekend with a position in the top four of the southern conference up for grabs. 

With two wins from two starts the Thunder have propelled themselves into the four with 10 wins and nine losses so far this season. 

The Thunder started the weekend with an impressive 88-80 win over Albury-Wodonga on Friday before holding on in a thriller against Kilsyth, 84-80 on Saturday. 

Ahmad Starks led the way in the win over the Cobras with 28 points and helped set the game up early with the Thunder leading 30-6 at the first change. 

The incredible fast start made the difference in the hard-fought win on Saturday with Armstrong pleased his team had worked their way back into finals contention in 2017. 

“It’s very cliche but our mantra has sort of been all year that we’ll take each game on its own merits and concentrate on the process,” Armstrong said. 

“Right now we are holding down that fourth spot in the conference and the challenge now is to continue to put some good performances together in the latter part of this year.

“We’ve done some good work over the last month and have given ourselves a chance now, we just had to try and consolidate on some good form.” 

The Cobras came back hard at the Thunder on Saturday night but the 24-point buffer in the first term helped the visitors hold on late. 

“We knew going in that it would be a weekend that would shape the next element of our season,” Armstrong said. 

“It was really pleasing that we were able to go away and not just put one performance together but put two together on the road in a really tough environment to play.

“They’re [Kilsyth] a good team and we knew they were going to make a run but our start was one of our better ones for the year.

“We got ourselves a really good break early and that was probably the difference in the game.”

The Thunder now sit fourth on the southern conference ladder ahead of their clash against Tasmanian rivals Hobart Chargers at Ulverstone this Saturday.

Stats from 88-80 win over Albury/Wodonga

Jeremiah Ingram – 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots

Dan Sepokas – 22 points,  3 rebounds and 2 steals

Ahmad Starks – 16 points and 3 rebounds

Chudier Pal –  10 points and 5 rebounds

Joe Chilcott –  8 points

Brad Simpson –  6 rebounds

Stats from 84-80 win over Kilsyth

Ahmad Starks – 28 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists 

Jeremiah Ingram – 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists

Dan Sepokas – 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists 

Ben Richmond – 10 points and 5 rebounds 

Brad Simpson – 8 points and 8 rebounds 

Brady Armstrong – 5 points 

Joe Chilcott – 4 points