Thunder player Liam Hickey controls the ball against an opposing U of T Mississauga Eagles player Nov. 9. Photo credit: Bradley Legault

The Algonquin Thunder men’s basketball squad smoked the visiting University of Toronto’s Mississauga Eagles on Nov. 9, with the final score of 88-70.

The final score, however, wasn’t indicative of the game. The Thunder had complete control in the first half.

Thunder player Trey Silcott had the crowd roaring after they soared in from a missed basket and dunked it in. This gave the Thunder team a huge boost which carried them for the rest of the half, wrapping up the second quarter up 53-21.

Thunder guard Ali Al-Shaher gave the team a great boost of the bench, playing solid defense and chipping in nine points in 24 minutes of play.

“[We] finally came out with some intensity,” said Shaher. “We haven’t had that much throughout the last few games but that’s what happens when you have intensity. Come out hard, play defense and just start getting dubs [wins] from here, we need to start a streak right now.”

Thunder player Jordan Harcombe (#23) calls for the ball against the U of T Mississauga Eagles on Nov. 9. Photo credit: Bradley Legault

It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows from here on out. The Thunder seemed to take their foot off the gas and forgot simple defensive communications and rotations in the second half.

Even though the Thunder were in the clear for the majority of the game, head coach Trevor Costello knew his team had a lot to work on.

“The way we played in the second half, that’s why we’re playing 1-4 basketball,” said Costello. “[If] we didn’t have a 40-point lead, they could’ve beat us.”

Costello was adamant that his players played hard on both sides of the floor. Emotions run high when you’re a desperate team, which can lead to arguments.

“We were lucky they got off the bus and had tired legs and we got off to a strong start because that team in the second half is not a playoff team,” said Costello.

A Thunder player was subbed out of the game and visibly upset, yelling at his coach. The yelling match lasted all of three seconds before the coach stood up to confront the player, which led to some Thunder players having to hold the coach back.

It was a small moment, but that’s just what happens when you’re playing for your playoff hopes.

Tensions run high.

The Thunder improved to 2-4. Their next game is against the St. Lawrence Vikings in Kingston on Friday, Nov. 15.