Is the gap to British Basketball League shrinking?

Zaire Taylor
Zaire Taylor

Worthing Thunder are no strangers to beating top level opposition and they proved their credentials yet again with a huge scalp in their final action of 2018.

Thunder defeated British Basketball League outfit Surrey Scorchers to progress in the BBL Trophy.

And the club have a rich history in the national competition.

Worthing were the first National League side to reach the last eight of the BBL Trophy after beating Mersey Tigers back in January 2013.

But Thunder came undone when they were soundly defeated by the Cheshire Phoenix in the following round.

Worthing forward Zaire Taylor, who added a double-double of 16 points and ten assists in the mighty impressive win over Surrey Scorchers, feels the gap between National League teams and those in the BBL is getting smaller.

Scorchers are struggling in the top tier of British basketball this season but they do boast two Great Britain internationals - Josh Steel and recently signed Ryan Richards - a former NBA Draft pick in 2010, in their playing ranks.

And Taylor believes Thunder’s triumph demonstrates that the jump to the BBL is shrinking.

He said: “I try not to reflect, I normally wait until the end of the season but this was a statement win for us against a team from a higher league.

“I think that this win showed that the gap between the NBL and the BBL is gradually shrinking.”

Despite Surrey’s position in the BBL this season, they won the British Basketball All-Stars event at the start of the campaign - claiming the £25,000 prize pot in a chaotic one-day event where the top eight sides in the country compete.

And Taylor insists Scorchers’ form will turn around.

He added: “Surrey’s position in the league certainly isn’t a reflection on them, the BBL is an extremely tough league - I know, I’ve been there.

“They are a strong team with good Americans and a former NBA Draft pick.

“They won a physically demanding All-Stars tournament so they are strong.”

Worthing Thunder are without a game this weekend and their first action of 2019 sees them welcome Thames Valley Cavaliers to Worthing Leisure Centre next Saturday.

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