Thunder please coach

BY BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE  An undermanned North-West Tall Timbers Thunder line-up has performed admirably in its first serious hit-out of 2018, coming back with one win and one loss from Saturday’s Basketball Tasmania pre-season tournament in Launceston.

The Thunder, who were without Mason Bragg, Darcy Malone, Ben Richmond and Paul Campbell, opened the day with a narrow 73-71 loss against the visiting McKinnon Cougars team from Victoria after leading for the majority of the game, only to falter late.

The team bounced back in the very next game, defeating an inexperienced Hobart Chargers outfit 74-62, with import Jeremiah Ingram and Joe Chilcott leading the way on the scoreboard with 18 points each.

Thunder coach Sam Armstrong said it was a productive two games.

“I think we got out of the weekend exactly what we wanted,” he said. 

“We’ve still got a lot of players to come in and we’ve been in a pretty solid fitness block at training without doing a lot of contested stuff.

“We didn’t go into the weekend focusing on the scoreboard, but we had a good 10-point lead over McKinnon we let slip which probably came down to execution down the stretch.

“It also gave an opportunity for some guys who don’t usually play much to get some court time and play together.

“We did things a little bit better defensively in the second game and that’s all we are looking for.”

The Thunder also used the games to trial Launceston junior Morgan Lockwood and Darreon Tolliver, with Tolliver an option Armstrong is willing to keep in mind for the team’s second import spot.

“Darreon definitely has the athleticism about him, but obviously it was hard for him not knowing a lot of our structures,” Armstrong said.

“Morgan is someone who will definitely play SEABL basketball sooner rather than later.”