JARRYD MCGUANE THE ADVOCATE North-West Thunder coach Sam Armstrong said the team will need to tighten up their game plan for the NBL1 season after their victory over the NWBU All-Stars in a practice game at Penguin.
The Thunder broke the game open after half-time as the All-Stars wore down to claim a 94-75 victory.
Armstrong said the team was not at their best and lessons can be learned from what they come up against the All-Stars.
“What we take out of this game is that we had the chance to put what were have done at practice into a game and the guys got to play with guys they are not familiar with,” Armstrong said.
“We mixed up our rotations, we will take something things out of this practice game and we have to get a whole lot better because we weren’t great tonight, but there is room for improvement.”
The Thunder started faster and opened up a 10-3 lead within two minutes as the NWBU All-Stars took some time to develop some chemistry.
But the All-Stars had the better of the latter stages of the first quarter to only trail 28-26 at the quarter-time break.
The teams traded baskets in the second quarter with JP Davis and Bryan Umoru carrying much of the All-Stars scoring load, while the Thunder looked to share the ball around and create an open shot.
The evenness of the encounter was highlighted by the half-time score of 47-47.
The Thunder turned the game on its head after the break with a more deliberate approach on the offensive end and it allowed them to create a 62-51 lead halfway through the third term and maintained a 64-57 advantage going into the last quarter.
That would be as close as the All-Stars got in the final term, with the Thunder cruised to the 19-point win.
The Thunder went into the game with seven players and Armstrong said it afforded some of the younger players the opportunity to get valuable minutes.
“We struggled to put a team on the floor because we had another injury and we ended up with six guys.
“It was about giving some of the younger boys an opportunity, we pride ourselves on the depth of our squad and guys have to play and we will see where that takes us.”
Armstrong was hopeful the Thunder would be able to set up another practice game before the NBL1 season starts.
“We are hoping to get a game with Hobart, the club is working through that now and getting another game under our belts would be beneficial for us.”
NWBU president Kim Robinson said the game was a great spectacle for the fans and believed the two organisations should look to organise more games in the future.
“I think it was entertaining for the crowd and it was really close until the last few minutes and our boys probably ran out of a little bit of puff,” Robinson said.
“I thought it was good and it will be something we will look to do again in the future, the Thunder were probably not at their best, but they did not lose any fans tonight.”