Thunder’s marathon round-trip began in the early hours of Saturday morning, but despite the nine hour hike to Northeast Yorkshire, they gave a good all-round performance to see off a strong University side!
Even being a man down with American forward, Alex Owumi, out with injury problems; Thunder began the game strongly with Zaire Taylor, Brendan Okoronkwo and Jorge Ebanks all finding the basket at regular intervals. Thunder, who gave youngster, Naz McLaughlin, his debut as a starter were running the tiredness out of their legs as they stretched the Newcastle defence at regular intervals. Good team play saw Thunder into a lead of 10 points at the first break (27-17).
Thunder continued to stretch the lead in the second period with Tom Ward and Naz McLaughlin finding the net, however as the period wore on, the home side began to get back into it with a strong run. At the halfway break, the margin had dropped to just 4 points (47-43) as Newcastle fought back; it looked as if it was going to be a tough last 20 minutes for the Thunder.
The third portion of play was real up-and-down play as the teams traded baskets. Thunder were looking comfortable (without dominating) and just doing enough to keep in front. Zaire Taylor was, as ever, consistent; Jorge Ebanks, Brendan Okoronkwo and Tom Ward were running the game and Naz begun to find his range hitting 3 threes to boost his confidence. As the end of the quarter arrived, the lead was up to 8 points (66-58) and things were looking better.
The final stanza saw Thunder step up the pressure as the lead began to grow; peaking at 18 points with only 2 minutes remaining. Zaire was leading the scoring, but once again it was the impressive Jorge Ebanks who caught the eye (scoring well and dishing out the assists). With the home team now resigned to the defeat, Thunder cruised to victory by 92-76. All we had to do was face the 9 hours to get back to the South Coast with the job well done.
Once again it was a great team performance under difficult conditions – the usual suspects all performed strongly but it was great to see Thunder youngster Naz McLaughlin step up and perform well. Thunder are back to the relative luxury of the Thunderdome next Saturday where Manchester Magic are the visitors (7:30pm tip-off), before hitting the road once again on Sunday 17th when a visit to Loughborough Student Riders is scheduled.
Scorers – Zaire Taylor – 30 points, Jorge Ebanks – 19 points (7 rebounds & 10 assists), Tom Ward – 15 points (7 rebounds), Brendan Okoronkwo – 13 points (7 rebounds), Naz McLaughlin – 9 points, Ishmael Fontaine- 6 points.
DAVE MARSHALL (#VoiceontheMic)
|9th March 2019||2:30 pm||Division One Mens||League 2018/2019||Away|
|Old Library Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1, UK|