BY BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE For the second time this season the North-West Tall Timbers Thunder have been left embarrassed by its biggest SEABL rivals after Hobart scored an emphatic 88-65 victory at Ulverstone on Saturday night.
Apart from a brief period during the opening stages when the Chargers battled foul issues and coach Anthony Stewart received a technical foul for his berating of the referees, the Thunder were forced to play catch-up all night.
Such was Hobart’s dominance, the final margin threatened to rival the 57-point thrashing in round one as they went on a 23-2 run spread across the third and fourth quarters to extend their lead to 30 points.
After a successful two-game road trip the previous round which consolidated their spot in fourth place of the SEABL south conference, the Thunder now find themselves equal on wins again with fifth-placed Bendigo, with the Braves having played one more match.
Coach Sam Armstrong must now find a way to get his team back on track ahead of their final home game against Canberra this Saturday
The Thunder then finish the regular season with three road games, including a vital encounter at Bendigo.
“The result was disappointing for where we have been as a team in the last four to six weeks,” he said.
“It broke down everywhere tonight and we shot the ball horribly, but if good teams are doing that they get back on the defensive end and get some stops, but we couldn’t do that either.
“We were out of sync all night on offence and couldn’t get any rhythm going – whether that was us or Hobart in defence, it was probably a bit of both.
The result was disappointing for where we have been as a team in the last four to six weeks.
“There really weren’t any positives to take out of the game, and there were some areas of the game that just weren’t acceptable so we have to get a lot better in a short amount of time before Canberra.
“We’ve been talking all year about concentrating on the process and not really worried about any other results but we’ve just put extra pressure on ourselves if we want to play finals.”
The Chargers asserted their dominance in the latter stages of the first term, scoring 20 points in the final five minutes to take a 28-19 lead into quarter time.
While the Thunder were hanging on grimly during the second term to only allow the deficit to extend to 11 points, they were unable to stop the scoring power of Hobart’s Mathiang Muo, who compiled 15 of his game-high 30 points of his own during the period.
Muo kept his scoring run going in the third quarter as the visitors surged away, while the only way the home team could get any easy baskets was on the occasional fast break.
Jeremiah Ingram (24 points) battled hard in the final stanza to keep the scoreboard respectable, but he had little help with only Daniel Sepokas (11 points) finishing in double figures, while Ahmad Starks, Ben Richmond and Chudier Pal were all well held.
Muo had great support from imports Rob Heyer (18 points, 12 rebounds) and Chris Whitehead (14 points).