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Friday Night Thriller Propels Thunder MBB to Weekend Sweep

Posted on: Oct 26, 2015

Starting a game on an 18-0 run is rare. Scoring 6 points in the final 8 seconds to win a game is even more so. But that’s exactly what happened at the RKAC Friday night.  The Thunder controlled the game against the Rustlers for 30 minutes until a huge 4th quarter by the visitors put the home side down as many as 7 in the final minute and a half.  Not rattled by the situation, a veteran Thunder team made the plays needed to get themselves within one possession with 8 seconds to go.  Jason Jones Jr. – who had been hot all night – got free in the corner and knocked down the game tying 3 with 6.5 seconds.  Following a Rustlers timeout which advanced the ball to the front court, the visitors inbounded the ball into the backcourt which resulted in a violation and the ball going back to the Thunder.  Artez Scharer would take all but 0.2 of the remaining 6 seconds to sink the Rustlers with 20 foot floater that hit nothing but net.  Euriah Pemberton would swat away the Rustlers last ditch lob effort to put the final stamp on the thrilling 88-86 Thunder victory. “I think the play that resulted in us getting the ball back with 6 seconds left can be attributed to the differences between the rules played in the U.S. and the rules we use here in Canada," stated Head Coach Reagan Wood. "The Rustlers player that went into the backcourt was used to being able to do that as they allow that pass to be made in the States.  A lucky break for us to be sure, but we still needed several big shots in the final minute from 3 different players to be in a position to catch a break like that.  Having said all that, we gave up big leads and the Rustlers with all their talent almost made us pay.  We have to get better at maintaining our leads and putting teams away when the opportunity presents itself.  Every game in our division this year is going to be tough and tight so each possession is important.  Every win is going to be earned.”  Leaders for the Thunder in this one – a career high 32 points from Jason Jones Jr.; 27 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists from Artez Scharer with Nate Wojcicki chipping in 11.  Brett Carey added 11 rebounds in the win.
Out in Lloydminster on Saturday night the Thunder would again jump out to an early 15-3 lead and do a much better job of holding off the Rustlers late charge closing out an 83-74 win. “I was happy to see an improved defensive effort tonight,” said Coach Wood after the win.  “They (the Rustlers) have some very talented offensive players who make everything when they get hot.  We did a better job of getting stops and rebounds at key times to close the game out.  I also liked our balance on offense too.  When we get offensive contributions from 10 players like we did tonight we’ll always be in good shape.” Leading the way for the Thunder in this one were – Adam Johnson with 15 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists.  Artez Scharer also added 15 to go along with 4 rebounds. Jason Jones Jr. chipped in 14 with Ryan McLaren coming in off the bench to add 11.  Brett Carey also had a nice night registering 8 points and 7 rebounds.
The Thunder will square off with the Augustana Vikings this coming weekend with the RKAC playing host on Friday night and the rematch going out in Camrose on Saturday.  Both contests will be 8 PM tip-offs.