TAMWORTH Thunderbolts strike their next Waratah State League finals playoff match against Lithgow Lazers in Lithgow this Saturday night.
The John Ireland-coached Thunderbolts tip-off against the top team from the tough southern pool of the WSL from 6pm Saturday.
“It’s going to be pretty cold down there,” Ireland said of a game where he hoped his side could stay hot for a full four quarters.
In recent matches the Thunderbolts have switched off for a quarter or two.
Most notable was last Saturday night’s first playoff match against Hawkesbury Jets Orange.
The visiting Jets went on a 15-nil scoring run in the third quarter to give them a 13-point three quarter time lead.
It was only a brilliant finish from the Thunderbolts sparked by some stunning plays from the likes of Rhys Chillingworth, Luke Krug, Justin Leehy and US import Tevin Hurd that turned the game into a 76-70 victory.
Thunderbolts skipper David Bourke was just one of the many people in the Tamworth Sports Dome stunned by the result.
Down 60-47 at three quarter time the Thunderbolts looked beaten.
“I thought we were gone,” an honest Bourke told The Leader.
“I didn’t expect that.”
That, was a thrilling fightback sparked by some big plays from teenage brothers Max and Rhys Chillingworth as well as some big baskets from Luke Krug and Justin Leehy.
“We stuck together,” Bourke said of a frenetic final quarter where they over turned a 13-point deficit and surged to a seven-point win.
“Our defence was unreal. We weren’t going to let them get it as easy as earlier in the game.”
He said the Thunderbolts play as a team and don’t have to rely on any one person.
Ireland agreed but also said the side faces a far different proposition this Saturday.
“The Lazers are a big side,” he said.
“They were the top team in the southern pool (WSL) with a 12-3 record. They played some strong teams like Wagga, Canberra and Queanbeyan so it’s going to be a big match up for us.
“In saying that though I’m quietly confident. The boys will have to step up and find some of that attacking rhythm we found in the final quarter the other night.”