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Thunder remain a work in progress

The men’s basketball team didn’t end the first half of their season the way they had planned, but the team is trending upwards.

After seven games, the Thunder sat eighth place in the east division with a 2-5 record. But now they currently sit 4-5 after wins over the Fleming Knights and the Durham Lords.

“We had some very unlucky losses to start the season,” said Thunder guard Owen Powers after their win over Fleming on Nov. 25. “However I think we will go undefeated for the rest of the year; that’s the goal and that’s what I think we are capable of.”

The Thunder also went through a large roster turnover during the off season keeping five players from last year.

“We’re all trying to get on the same page,” said Thunder assistant coach Jim Langis after their win over Durham on Nov. 26. “We are moving in the right direction; it’s taking a little bit longer than we had hoped but its normal when you change over 10 guys. It’s going to take a while for the little things that sometimes the fans don’t see but the coaches see.

“Getting used to people’s tendencies, working together on the court, finding where they like to be — things like that where they evolve over time.”

Added Thunder head coach Trevor Costello after the team’s win over Fleming Nov. 25: “Our defense is not great. We are constantly looking at tapes, guys making the same mistakes again, and we lost a key rebounder this year, and it really shows in game.”

But despite the early season struggles, the Thunder struck down the Lords 74-72 in a game that came down to the final seconds.

In a back and forth effort with the lead changing multiple times throughout the game, Algonquin was able to hold a tight 71-69 lead with one minute left. But once the clock hit 16 seconds left, the Durham Lords called a timeout which lead to them scoring a three pointer to tie the game 72-72.

With seven seconds left of the clock the Lords were called on a foul which resulted in two free throws for Algonquin, both connecting and taking the lead back 74-72. But the points would be erased from the scoreboard before time out-resumed, sparking a dispute on the court.

When play started, the score remained 72-72 until Algonquin netted a two-pointer with three seconds left to win the game.

“It was a fun one for the fans,” chuckled Langis after the win. “A game that drove the coaches crazy but it was a hard fought game by both teams.”

Kristian Charette had an unbelievably great game for Algonquin as he made seven out of nine of his three point shot attempts. He also finished the game with 29 points, which was double compared to the next most amount of individual points scored by a Thunder player that game.

The Thunder also defeated a winless Fleming Knights team by a more commanding score of 84-68 on Nov. 25.

Algonquin trailed the Knights for the majority of the first quarter, but were leading by the end of the first half 39-31 and never looked back.

“I thought early on we kind of played down to their level and we aren’t really executing well or rebounding,” said Thunder forward Denis Dervisevic after their win over Fleming. “I thought that once we controlled the rebounds and elevated our game and executed on offense that’s when we blew out the game right away.”

“This was a big win for us believe it or not because going 2-6 would have been really bad for us to start the season,” said Dervisevic.

But head coach Costello wasn’t as impressed with the team’s effort.

“You know, we’ll take a win, we are in a desperate need of a win,” said Costello after the game. “We played again like a 2-5 team. Our record was 2-5 before tonight and that’s how we played. We played a 0-7 team and they gave us all we can handle in our own gym. We didn’t play well and they did a good job to make us not play well.”

The Thunder play their next game on Dec. 2 when they visit the La Cité Coyotes.

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