BY BRAD COLE THE ADVOCATE North-West Tall Timbers Thunder coach Sam Armstrong has been involved in some jaw-dropping offensive performances in his time as a player.
But even he was left in awe of his team’s efforts interstate on Saturday night after they exacted revenge on Melbourne with a old-fashioned 107-65 flogging.
The victory was set up with an incredible first-half performance in which the Thunder shot the ball at over 70 percent from the field to build an unassailable 73-34 lead.
“There would have been a few people who thought the first-half score was a mistake and it was one of the better first halves I’ve been involved in,” Armstrong said.
“We shot the ball extremely well, but one of our focus points over the last few weeks has been to get better in that area.
“We’ve had plenty of open looks but been unable to capitalise, so we changed our training structure up a bit and it’s starting to pay dividends.
The first-half onslaught came courtesy of 22 points from Jeremiah Ingram and 21 points from Daniel Sepokas.
While the shooting percentage had unsurprisingly dropped to 59 percent by the end of the game, the Thunder’s defence was still in full flow and held Andrew Gaze’s team to 31 points for the second half.
“I thought we were equally as good on the defensive end and when you get stops at one end it can help you knock down more shots down at the other,” Armstrong said.
“It is rare to put together two halves of basketball like that – teams don’t shoot 150 points in a game – so we had a real defensive mindset in second half, and although the shots weren’t dropping the effort was still there.”
Sepokas ended the night with a game-high 29 points, with Ingram adding 27 points and Ahmad Starks 14 points as six of the eight Thunder players finished in double figures.
With an important conference game coming up at home against Dandenong this Saturday, Armstrong believes his team have been finally been able to get on a roll.
“I think we’re playing the right way and if that continues our momentum, that will be good for us,” Armstrong said.
“There has been a little bit more polish to what we are doing in the last few weeks because the boys are locked in and gaining more self-belief in the system and their teammates.”