Thunder hoping to build momentum

Chloe Hildebrand (Keilor Basketball)

Tara Murray

Keilor Thunder will take plenty of confidence out of its most recent performances in the National Basketball League 1 South competition.

It’s been a tough start to their first season in the competition, with key players missing multiple matches.

Last Saturday night, the Thunder got their second win of the season against Dandenong Rangers, 85-77.

They suffered a loss the following day to the Nunawading Spectres, 83-65, but showed some good signs in the second half.

Thunder coach Tom Bandilovski said despite splitting the results they were happy with how they had played.

“We were definitely happy,” he said.

“The win especially for the team to get a bit of momentum and confidence. We lost the game to Nunawading but we will take a lot of positives from that.

“They are a powerhouse team and we played really well and won the second half. But we weren’t happy with the result though.”

Bandilovski said the weekend’s matches made them more confident that they could match it with the top sides and with a few more additions in the coming weeks would help.

The side currently sits in 14th position.

The first three rounds, the Thunder played with no imports.

Shayla Cooper had made the trip to Australia and was set to play round one, before personal reasons meant she needed to head back home without playing a game.

Bandilovski said not having imports had impacted their early results.

Christa Reed took to the court for the first time in round four and started in round five. She top scored in the win against the Rangers with 23 points, but had a poor shooting night against the Spectres.

“Christa is a very good player who has come from the states,” Bandilovski said.

“She’s just finding her feet in the competition. She comes here from winning a championship in Germany.

“She’s really important to have and it’s slowly coming together. She’s a perfect fit for the team.”

After losing Cooper, the Thunder has been working behind the scenes to secure a second import.

Bandilovski said the new import had arrived in the country and would hopefully take to the court in the next few weeks.

The star for the Thunder in the early rounds is Australian player Maddie Garrick.

Bandilovski said Garrick had been fantastic for the program.

“She has been really professional and has been really good for the players.

“As coaches, we are enjoying having her here and no doubt she is really important.”

The men’s side remains on one win for the season, after losing to both the Rangers and Spectres on the weekend.

The side sits third bottom.

Both sides are back in action this weekend. They host Ballarat Miners on Saturday night, before travelling to Waverley on Sunday.

Bandilovski said they were hoping to get a good crowd on Saturday night.

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