The Waratah League match between Tamworth and Newcastle finished with the Thunderbolts’ winning by 10 points but the match was much closer than that.
Let’s set the scene.
There’s 30 seconds on the clock, Tamworth is down by five points.
Scott McGann reels in an offensive rebound, drains the shot and draws the foul as well.
The youngster makes good on the three-point opportunity to make it a two-point ball game with 22 seconds to go.
Next play, Matt Monckton makes a steal, passes to McGann who draws things level – game on.
Newcastle’s last ditch effort misses sending the game into overtime.
This is where the Thunderbolts come into their own.
Tamworth holds the Hunters to just four points in the five-minute overtime period while six different players hit baskets, much to the delight of a nervous coach.
“Late in the fourth quarter, they [Hunters] went on a run again hitting their shots, the fingernails were getting a bit shorter at that point,” Tamworth coach John Ireland said.
“I think the case was, we had the momentum and needed to carry that into the overtime period.
“Young Scott McGann and Chris Skilton had a really good start to that overtime period and Max Chillingworth did a good job defensively.”
It was the second time in the match Tamworth came back from a deficit.
The Hunters were running hot in the opening quarter – leading by 10 points at one point – to take a five-point lead into quarter-time.
“It wasn’t to much a slow start from us more that Newcastle came out of the blocks quickly and made a big percentage of shots in the first quarter,” Ireland said.
The Thunderbolts didn’t panic and stuck to the game plan.
The tide reversed and Tamworth outscored Newcastle in the next two quarters before the nail-biting finish.
Ireland said the win was another step towards the team’s regular season goal.
“I mean, we’re sitting on top of the ladder but we have to face tough opposition in the next five weeks,” he said.
“Every win’s going to be a bonus in getting that top four spot and secure a home preliminary final.
“There’s five regular season games to go but none of those are by any means a guaranteed win.”