Kayla proves a Thorn(ton) in Boomers’ side
Thornton was terrific, producing a double-double and was the best player on a winning side. She overcame some inaccuracy to produce tough buckets inside the paint and keep Southside’s score chugging along nicely, while also pulling down some big boards in the process.
The Flyers have now stormed to the top of the standings in a strong start to the season. With a talented roster and strong performances on both ends of the court, this could be Southside’s year.
Southside Flyers (67) def. Melbourne Boomers (57)
Kayla Thornton – 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one block
Thornton wasted no time in getting involved for the Flyers, scoring the team’s first bucket with a nice turn around jumper over a smaller opponent. She tried her luck from behind the arc, but the shot rattled off the rim. Thornton pulled down her first rebound down the other end, before setting up star teammate Lauren Jackson for three with a nice dish out pass.
She missed her next couple of shots, one from both inside and outside, before charging into the rack to finish the lay-up through the contact and convert the and-one in impressive fashion. The U.S. import then headed to the bench for a couple of minutes before coming back and continuing to impact the game for her side. She swatted Penina Davidson‘s jump shot attempt and nailed a couple more buckets inside the arc to close out the term.
Thornton found the going a bit more tough in the second term, after the Boomers defence tightened up on her antics near the hoop with ball in hand. Instead, she continued to prove her value with some big rebounds on both the offensive and defensive end, and played a big role in Southside taking a seven-point lead into the main break.
She was not deterred by the defence to start the third term, continuing to put up shots despite some inefficiency from the field, and got back in the scorers column with a nice cutting lay-up. Thornton finally nailed a shot from behind the perimeter, draining a triple thanks to a nice pass from Maddison Rocci. Her rebounding never wavered, out-muscling and out-positioning the opposition bigs consistently.
Thornton started the final quarter on the pine, and entered the match with six minutes remaining and her side up by five points on the scoreboard. She pulled down a trio of crucial defensive rebounds in crunch time, and helped the Flyers hold on for a 10-point triumph.
It seems Southside has found a gem of an import for its 2022/23 campaign, and next to Jackson, Thornton should form a towering duo.