Thunder digging deep

Isabelle Bourne. (Keilor Thunder/NBL1 South)

Tara Murray

Keilor Thunder’s character is starting to shine through in the National Basketball League 1 South women’s competition.

After coming from 24 points down the previous week against the Dandenong Rangers, the Thunder had hard two fought wins on the weekend against the Hobart Chargers and Nunawading Spectres.

In the first of those matches, the Thunder beat the Chargers 83-75 with Isabelle Bourne putting up a massive 39 points.

The Thunder then backed it up with a 79-67 win against the Spectres with Maddy Rocci scoring 29 points.

Thunder coach Kristi Harrower said it was a really tough weekend.

“I don’t think their records show how good those teams are,” she said. “Both teams really pushed us and it showed character to tough it out.

“It’s tough to go back-to-back and we showed character when we had those moments in the games when we were really struggling.

“We had to dig deep and try to get back to doing it our way. It definitely wasn’t easy and credit to both those sides.”

Harrower said the character that the group was showing was a credit to them and they just want to keep getting better.

She said the group was really enjoying playing together and are bonding with one another, which shows through in games as they find a way.

The return of Rocci was a welcome for the Thunder having missed some games with an ankle injury.

Harrower said her star guard adds so many different things to the side.

“To have someone as experienced as her and another scoring option is a big help for us,” she said.

“She was on limited minutes and I don’t think that happened in the end. She said she was fine.”

In another bonus Tera Reed looks set to return this weekend from her ankle injury, with Harrower saying she’s likely to be on limited minutes having never had an ankle injury before.

The Thunder sit atop the table with 11 wins from its 12 games.

The Thunder this week the Kilsyth Cobras on Saturday night.

They are then thrown some more challenges with Harrower and Rocci missing the following weekend with Australian Opals commitments.

“We thought we would only miss one game as we were flying out Sunday, but we’re now flying out on Saturday night,” Harrower said.

“It’s a 9.30pm flight so she could play and I could coach, but I don’t want to risk her knowing she has bigger things ahead of her.

“The group has had some moments without her as she’s been out with the ankle and hopefully other people will step up.

“We are deep and we’ll rotate a little bit to get some more players into it.”

Harrower said it was nice to be back in the Opals environment, but said she would miss her Keilor girls.

Assistant coaches Jonathan Goodman and Anthea Stathakis will step up in her absence, alongside a pretty experienced fill in coach, in Bernie Harrower.

Kristi said her dad, who coached the Bendigo Spirit to two Women’s National Basketball League titles and has more than 40 years of experience, is enjoying getting involved.

“He had to help out one weekend when Jonathan was away and got the bug back,” she said. “He comes down from Bendigo every Thursday to help with training.

“It’s good to have him around the girls, he’s another voice who understands the game.”