Frustrating home defeat for Thunder

Josh Brown in action on Saturday
Josh Brown in action on Saturday

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club suffered a frustrating defeat at home to Team Northumbria on Sunday.

Thunder led the National League Division 1 match 80-75 with just under five minutes remaining but scored just four more points as the visitors finished the game with a 17-4 run to inflict a fifth successive defeat on Worthing.

Milton Chavis and Louis Allen, twice, saw three-point attempts bounce out in the closing stages and Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth felt his side took too many outside shots, rather than going to the basket inside.

He said: “It’s really frustrating, we were slow to get going after last night’s disappointment against Reading. The difference today was that we came out in the second half with some fight and I thought we played a pretty decent all-round game.

“We settled for too many outside shots when we had great success going inside but credit to them, they stuck to their game plan. We’ve played two games back to back with a total of 21 fouls called against the opposition in two games, we had 18 alone tonight, so we sort of feel like we’re getting the rough end of that.

“When it comes to it, we gave ourselves an opportunity. With a couple of minutes to go, we were in the game. But they’re a well-organised team and had five players in double figures, which is a sign of that and they’re probably going to be a top-four team.”

Worthing started the match slowly and trailed 24-14 at the end of the first quarter after Chavis scored from a long Hank Rivers pass on the buzzer.

Thunder got going in the second period as they started the stanza with a 8-3 run.

A two-pointer from Chavis put Worthing 35-33 ahead with 3-18 left of the quarter and the game remained back and forth until half-time, with the visitors leading 44-42 at the break.

The game continued to be close throughout the third period but a late three-pointer from Northumbria’s Ryan Addison gave the visitors a 65-63 advantage heading into the final ten minutes.

Worthing began with a 8-0 run to move 71-65 ahead but Northumbria closed the deficit with another three-pointer from Addison, seconds after a three-point attempt from Thunder’s Dominic Baker bounced out.

Thunder led 80-75 halfway throught the final period but Northumbria finished strongly as Thunder’s shots did not drop. The visitors sank six of eight free throws down the stretch as they completed the league double over Worthing.

Chavis led all scorers with 30 points, Brendan Okoronkwo sank 18 for Thunder and Rivers scored 14 and had 14 rebounds.

Christian Hatch top-scored with 24 points for Team Northumbria, Di Stasio sank 21, including four of five three-point attempts, and Jack Wilson scored 17.

Thunder entertain fourth-from-bottom Tees Valley Mohawks on Saturday (7.30pm).