ROUND 6 PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Helping to move the Queensland Spinning Bullets into the top four on the back of two victories in Round 6, Tom O’Neill-Thorne is the Player of the Week.
The Australian Roller recorded triple-doubles in both contests to own the floor against the Red Dust Heelers, averaging 20 points, 13.5 rebounds, 11 assists and two steals while playing every minute.
On Saturday night, the Spinning Bullets hosted Red Dust and jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter.
O’Neill-Thorne scored or assisted on all 14 points by the first break but the Heelers fought back to take the lead into half-time as O’Neill-Thorne was held to just one rebound for the whole second quarter.
He would not be denied in the third term though, influencing all areas of the court with four rebounds and four assists to go with six points as he tallied a double-double.
That brought Queensland within two points at three-quarter time and two quick baskets to open the fourth period from O’Neill-Thorne gave his side the lead back.
Midway through the quarter he then found Steven Elliott who put the Spinning Bullets in front and a key play from O’Neill-Thorne then gave Queensland a healthy six-point buffer.
He grabbed the defensive board off a Rob Pike miss and then rebounded his own shot before finding Lachlin Dalton for the bucket, notching a triple-double (19 points, 16 rebounds, ten assists) in the process.
His heroics were required one last time in the dying seconds as he knocked down a free-throw to make it 55-52- the final scoreline.
O’Neill-Thorne was on fire again the following day, scoring or assisting on Queensland’s first 12 points to help them open up a 20-12 edge.
He finished with two points, five rebounds and five assists in the first ten minutes and was well on his way to another triple-double by half-time with six points, three boards and three assists in the second term.
Queensland also had a strong 12-point advantage and while Red Dust made a couple of runs in the second half, they were never close enough to truly bother the home side.
O’Neill-Thorne reached the triple-double mark easily in the third term, going on to record 21 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists while his three steals helped the Spinning Bullets to 14 points off turnovers.
With just two rounds remaining and five games left in the regular season, Queensland have a two-point lead over fifth-placed Perth but with only four points separating them from third-placed Sydney Metro, O’Neill-Thorne has a real chance to lead his side deep into the 2017 post-season.
Round 6 Tom O’Neill-Thorne Stats: 20 points on 19-41 shooting (46%), 13.5 rebounds (one offensive), 11 assists and two steals per game.