Algonquin has already clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming OCAA championships, but a game against Durham on Feb. 13 wasn’t about the standings — it was about reprisal.
“It’s a lot deeper than just being first place or second place, because we played this team at their home in the first half of the season and they beat us by two points,” said guard Amoney Abakar, who scored 18 points in the 101-53 blow-out. “This is a lot more of a vengeance game.”
Led by third-year forward Katie Flansbury, the Thunder capped off their season by demolishing the visiting Durham Lords in their highest scoring game of the regular season.
They were evenly matched for the first couple of minutes of the game, and then a powerful lay-up by Flansbury started a 12-0 run for the Thunder to make the score 14-4. The rest of the game followed the same pace as they racked up point after point with the Lords standing by.
Her powerful play continued throughout the game as she led the team with a season high 24 points.
“We’ve practiced so much spacing, so I’ve just been improving on that,” said Flansbury. “When my teammates drive, I just found the open spot. I know I can overpower and outplay any other post in the league.”
The last time these teams played, it ended in a grueling loss for the Thunder when they allowed the Lords to steal the game by two points late in the fourth quarter. This was due to the strong offensive play by Durham guard Lindsay Panchan.
“Panchan is a really tough player to defend, she is one of the best players in the country,” said Laura Bond, head coach of the Thunder before the game. “Last time we played them we only had eleven players. Now we have a full roster so we are going to throw a lot of different things at her.”
In their previous match up, Panchan put up 41 points in the Thunder loss. This time she was held to 11 in a game that, based on statistics, should have been close.
The Thunder’s focus from the beginning of the game was good team defense and it led to an explosive offensive game for the team, explained Bond – but the win wasn’t the only thing at stake.
“The game wasn’t just about winning, it was about making a statement going into playoffs that we are a tough team to beat,” she said. “It’s taken us a little longer to figure our stuff out, but honestly we’re peaking at the right time right now. They (opposing teams) should be worried.”
Guard Nya Gathoth finished the game with 21 points and two rebounds shy of a double-double and forward Breanna Reid came off of the bench to score 10 points.
The Thunder’s next trip is to the OCAA championships at Niagara College on March 3-5. They enter the tournament with a clinched first-round bye and a reputation to uphold.