Cup heartbreak for Thunder as they lose final to Manchester

James Cambronne
James Cambronne

Worthing Thunder Basketball Club lost the final of the National Cup 97-84 to Manchester Magic in Sheffield this afternoon.

Thunder fans were boosted prior to the game with the news that Tomas Seduikis was available and Tom Ward had recovered from a back injury, which saw him miss both games last weekend, to start the game.

Thunder opened up a 20 point lead, 39-19, during the second quarter and led 41-27 at half-time. However, Manchester came on strongly in the second half and scored 70 points after half-time, including 41 points in the last ten minutes, to retain their trophy.

Manchester scored the first four points of the final but Thunder responded with a 11-0 run, which included three-pointers from James Cambronne, Louis Allen and Josh Brown.

Magic drew level at 13-13 with a slam dunk from Simon Anumba with 1min 24sec left in the quarter but Cambronne’s basket and a three-pointer from Tom Ward gave Thunder a 19-15 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Thunder began the second quarter with a 12-0 run to move 31-15 ahead and their lead ballooned to 20 points at 39-19 when Brendan Okoronkwo sank a three-pointer with 4-24 left of the stanza.

Manchester finished the second period on a 8-2 run but Thunder enjoyed a 41-27 at half-time.

Magic then made a strong start to the third period as a 9-1 run saw them move to within just four points of Thunder at 42-38 when Worthing coach Daniel Hildreth called a time-out with 7-49 remaining of the quarter.

A three-pointer from Jack Minister took Magic into the lead for the first time since the early stages, at 43-42, but Thunder gradually began to regain their composure as the third stanza went on. Back-to-back three pointers from Louis Allen took Worthing 50-47 ahead and Okoronkwo and Josh Brown also nailed three-pointers as Thunder led 60-56 with one stanza to play, although Seduikis fouled out late in the quarter.

A 9-0 run to start the fourth period took Manchester 65-60 in front and, after Thunder’s Cambronne fouled out, a three-pointer from Franc Garcia Garrido took Magic 72-62 ahead with 6-28 to play.

Brown sank five quick points for Thunder, who still trailed 76-68 halfway through the final period. However, Magic proved too strong in the closing stages as they took the final quarter 41-24 to win the game 97-84.

Okoronkwo led Thunder with 27 points, Brown sank 12 and Cambronne ten. Ellis Cooper, who was named the MVP, top-scored with 28 points for Magic, while five other players were in double figures.

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