North-West Thunder defeated the Hobart Huskies in their final pre-season game ahead of the NBL1 season

It was the second practice match the Thunder have played in preparation after facing the NWBU All-Stars earlier this month, but this time 12 players were available for coach Sam Armstrong.

Armstrong said the hit out against the Huskies was valuable ahead of the season and it helped identify areas that needed to be worked on.

“It was a bit more like a game scenario going into next weekend, we pretty much got some things in place, but have a quick and short turnaround now to make some key adjustments if we need to,” Armstrong said.

“I think we got a chance to look at ourselves against some quality competition and we were able to get on some runs.”

“The runs came when we were switched on defensively and it gives us the chance to get out in transition and run a little bit and it led to good ball movement on offence.”

Armstrong said he will be looking to maintain the philosophy and game plan focused on a strong defence from the past two years, but the offence will look different.

“It all starts on the defensive end for us and when we were at our best today, it was when we were at our best defensively.

“We are looking for an even contribution on offence, we are not a team this year when you can throw it to a guy and tell them to get us bucket.

“We are looking for guys to spread it and do their bit collectively through the group, it has been a focus for us to play with some pace and be quick with our ball movement.”

It was an evenly balanced opening quarter on offence for both teams, with the Huskies being cleaner in the latter stages of the term to open up a 18-14 lead at the break.

The Huskies maintained control of the game in the over the first five minutes of the second quarter to get the lead out to a game-high seven points, but the Thunder were soon able to score freely on the break through the guards and took a 38-33 advantage into half-time.

The hosts continued to create open looks after the break, with points shared between the guards and bigs to blow the lead out to 59-47 at the final change.

The Huskies were unable to make any meaningful dents into the deficit as the Thunder came away with the 15-point victory.

Joel Beveridge and Paul Campbell led the scoring for the Thunder with 13 points and Jordan Bowling added 10, as all 12 players were able to hit the scoreboard.

The Huskies scoring was carried by 13 points from captain Matthew Young and 10 from Jack Stanwix.

Armstrong said he was confident he would have the team prepared for Saturday’s clash against the Southern Sabres at Ulverstone.

“We have to make sure everyone is healthy and ready to go, we will fine tune somethings from today that we need to get better at in a short period of time.”

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