By: Tyler Costello
A powerful second quarter run enabled the Thunder to cruise to an easy 65-34 win in their home opener against the Durham Lords on Nov 2.
The Thunder started their first possession off strong, with a big three pointer from second-year guard Holly Ryerse.
A scoring drought for both teams followed the Thunder’s early success, though, as the game was stuck at 3-0 midway through the first.
Superior perimeter and free-throw shooting allowed the Thunder to hold off a late first quarter surge by the Lords and head into the second quarter with a 9-7 lead.
Despite the Lords’ efforts to stay competitive in the first quarter they were unable to keep the game close in the second. A huge 27-4 Thunder run in the second enabled them to take advantage of a Lord’s team that looked defeated by half.
Thunder head coach John MacInnis alluded to his team’s strong rebounding and said, “we took what they gave us,” when asked about their second quarter surge.
Strong rebounding, both offensively and defensively, was key to the Thunder’s victory, with forwards Sandre Bascoe and Stacey Poapst often coming down with two or three consecutive boards throughout the game.
On paper the Lords did have the size to match the play of the Thunder in the paint but it seemed that their forwards lacked the desire to contest rebounds.
Bascoe also came through with several blocks with one in third that made the crowd cheer.
The Lords’ guards were able to execute better play later on in the match with Alicia Del Fucoco and Kelsey Hare leading the way with eight points each.
It would, however, prove to be insufficient as the Thunder’s first half total would prove greater than the Lords scoring over four quarters.
“It’s always difficult to travel four and a half hours for one game,” said Lords’ head coach Tim Baulk, “especially against the two time defending champs.”
The Lords could very well have been feeling the effects of a long road trip as their players seemed lackadaisical from warm-ups, compared with the Thunder’s multiple pre-game celebrations.
Baulk also pointed out that it was their first “real” game in three weeks.
Algonquin showed little evidence of this being their home opener as guards Abeer Farhat and Jesa Rada,displayed crisp passing and accurate shooting. MacInnis did express that he thought Farhat struggled a bit but was happy with an overall, “good, solid game.”
He also stressed that his team needed to work on protecting the ball in transition and limiting the opponent’s fast breaks, an issue that did lead to several opportunities for the Lords.
Algonquin would take on Cambrian the following day while Durham would host Loyalist Nov 6.