Thunder ease to victory at Tees Valley to remain third

Courtney Small
Courtney Small
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WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club remain on track for home advantage in the EBL play-offs after a comfortable 88-64 win at Tees Valley Mohawks on Saturday.

The victory keeps Thunder third in the table and Thunder captain James Brame now wants his side to finish strongly in their final five league games.

He said: “There are four, five, six teams who are challenging for the top four.

“We really want to get home court advantage to set ourselves up nicely in the play-offs. Then, if we can take care of things on our home court, we’re through to the final four.

“But we’ve just got to take each game as it comes now. We’ve got five games to go and if we can finish with five wins, that would be awesome.”

Thunder comfortably defeated Tees Valley in a polished, all-round performance.

Mohawks could not stop Thunder inside as 60 of Worthing’s 88 points came from inside the key, with the majority of the points coming from Marcus Tullis, who led all scorers with 30.

Hank Rivers sank 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, Courtney Small scored 17 points and had 12 assists and Bud Johnston chipped in with 15 points and eight assists. Junior players Rhys Francis and Julian Stanley both got solid minutes as well, with the latter scoring five points in 10 minutes.

Thunder got out of the blocks quickly. Once Johnston got the ball rolling with a two-pointer, Brame scored and Tullis sank a three-pointer to give the visitors a 7-2 advantage with 6mins 32sec left in the first quarter.

Thunder remained in control and led 17-8 at the end of the first quarter.

A score from Tullis and a steal from Johnston off a bad pass from Mohawks’ Acho Anyigbo in-between a bucket from Oladeji Odumosu put Thunder in firm control at 23-10, and then Johnston repeated his earlier effort by stealing the ball off Odumosu and dishing it off to Small for the easy finish to give the visitors a secure 25-10 lead in the early stages of the second.

Rivers got in on the act as well, scoring with ease under the basket, and a Johnston triple gave Worthing a 44-22 half-time lead.

Small got the third quarter started with a two-pointer inside to extend the lead further to 22 and both teams traded buckets for the majority of the period.

Thunder led 63-37 going into the last stanza, which Mohawks won 27-25 to close the final losing deficit to 24 points.

Michael Dodd, who had been averaging 32 points a game, led Mohawks’ scoring with 12 points.