Returning from an international trip with the Australian Rollers, Tom O’Neill-Thorne has led the Queensland Spinning Bullets to two important wins against the Red Dust Heelers to stay in second place on the ladder.

The Heelers were the most in-form team in the league heading into their two-game series against Queensland but O’Neill-Thorne (along with Bill Latham who made his 2018 debut) proved too strong, averaging 25.5 points, 12 assists and 4.5 steals.

Heading out on the road for Round 7, the Spinning Bullets were locked in a tight battle against Red Dust on Saturday night with the lead changing hands ten times throughout the contest.

It was a one-point game at three-quarter time but O’Neill-Thorne got Queensland off to the perfect start with a steal and three-point play while scoring his club’s first six points of the final term.

The Heelers still owned a lead inside the last three minutes but again, O’Neill-Thorne had the answer as he scored four straight to tie things up before an assist to Steven Elliott put Queensland ahead.

The hosts were unable to trouble the scoreboard again and O’Neill-Thorne then clinched the game from the free-throw line for a 79-74 victory, finishing with 10-12 shooting from the charity stripe compared to Red Dust’s total of 6-9 free-throw shooting as a team.

His five steals also helped the Spinning Bullets score 18 points off turnovers and he combined 22 points with 14 assists which contributed to another 27 points for the team.

The next day, Queensland maintained their momentum from the first meeting with O’Neill-Thorne scoring 12 points to quarter-time, giving the Spinning Bullets a seven-point lead.

Red Dust fought back to tie the game at the main break but seven more points from O’Neill-Thorne, including a three-pointer, continued to be an issue and they then blew the hosts out of the water with a 26-8 third term.

O’Neill-Thorne added another ten points during that run, finishing with 29 points on 14-22 shooting while an assist on their last possession of the quarter gave him another double-double with ten dimes overall.

His work complete for the weekend, O'Neill-Thorne was able to rest for the entire fourth quarter as Queensland went on to win 82-66 and with four games remaining in their regular season, the Spinning Bullets will now set their sights on taking top spot.

Tom O’Neill-Thorne Round 7 Stats: 25.5 points on 20-42 (48%) shooting including 10-12 (83%) free-throw shooting, two rebounds, 12 assists and 4.5 steals per game.


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