Thunder further clear of the drop zone after Derby win

Tomas Seduikis

Tomas Seduikis

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WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club overcame Derby Trailblazers in over-time on Saturday to move further clear of the relegation zone in EBL Division 1.

The 95-92 win was Thunder’s fifth in six games but they remain third-from-bottom, although now have a four-point gap over second-from-bottom Derby, who have played a game more.

Hank Rivers led Worthing with 26 points and 18 rebounds, captain Bud Johnston sank 23 points and Brendon Okoronkwo added 20 points, six rebounds and three assists.

With 41 seconds remaining in regulation time, Johnston put Worthing 82-80 up, but Nicholas Rose levelled things up for the hosts almost immediately. A tense last 30 seconds ensued as Thunder’s Joe Carter was called for a travel with 20 seconds left. Derby held for the last shot, but Michael Gayle’s three-point attempt missed its mark as the buzzer sounded.

Despite some nervy moments in the extra five minutes, Thunder came through to grab the victory.

Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done.

“We approached the game as the biggest of the season to date, and midway through the second, we were in complete control. Third quarter blues kicked in and Derby came back into it.

“We were unhappy that it went to over-time but, in that extra period, we made smart decisions.”

Full report in this week’s paper.