Worthing Thunder seal back-to-back league wins

Hosana Kitenge became Thunders youngest-ever scorer on Sunday
Hosana Kitenge became Thunders youngest-ever scorer on Sunday

Worthing Thunder Basketball Club recorded back-to-back wins in National League Division 1 at the weekend.

Tom Ward sank a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left to give Thunder a 93-90 victory over Derby Trailblazers on Saturday, before a 88-84 win at Kent Crusaders on Sunday.

Thunder remain tenth in the table, two points behind Leicester Warriors who they host in their final game of the season this Saturday.

The win at Kent was a day to remember for 15-year-old Hosana Kitenge, who scored three points and with his solitary field goal in the fourth quarter, became the youngest Worthing Thunder player in history to score.

Tom Ward led the way with 20 points, Brendan Okoronkwo sank 17 and Louis Allen scored 16 as Thunder recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time since early February.

Worthing led 33-25 at the end of the first quarter but Kent fought back in the second period and a 10-2 run gave them a 48-47 lead at half-time.

Thunder finished the third stanza with a 5-0 run to trail 68-67 heading into the fourth quarter. Both sides traded buckets to start the final period, which was halted with back-to-back baskets inside by Tomas Seduikis, which tied the game at 71-71.

Worthing then gradually gained the upper hand late in the quarter and a 7-0 run, inspired by Okoronkwo, gave them a 85-76 lead that they would not relinquish.

Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “With a short-handed team, we all stepped up. I was proud of Hosana, who looked so confident and fearless out there, Alex Barbary hustled his backside off today but everyone was outstanding under the circumstances.”

A pull-up three-pointer by Ward with 2.2 seconds left gave Thunder a stunning victory over Derby Trailblazers on Saturday.

After a double timeout, Derby’s Chris Taylor had a chance to take the game to over-time, but his heavily contested three-pointer was way off the target, leaving the home fans free to celebrate.

James Cambronne led Thunder with 27 points and eight rebounds, with Ward adding 19 points and Jack Sunderland 17.

Derby led 25-18 after one quarter but Thunder began the second period with a 9-0 run and Sunderland scored 15 points in just under seven minutes in the quarter as Thunder opened up a 56-46 lead by half-time.

Thunder’s lead grew to 14 points, before they ended the third quarter with a 78-67 advantage.

A 8-2 run to start the final period for Derby narrowed the gap again to 80-75. Thunder moved 88-80 ahead but Derby remained in contention as the game had a exciting conclusion.

Sunderland said: “It was a great win, a win that we all worked hard for. Even though we haven’t made the play-offs, we still want to finish the season strong and beating Derby proves that we can beat anyone on our day.”

Thunder’s final game of the season, at home to Leicester Warriors on Saturday, tips-off at 7.30pm at Worthing Leisure Centre.

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