WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club go into the Christmas break in high spirits after recording their seventh successive EBL win, 107-93 at Leeds Carnegie, on Sunday.
Thunder lost their opening two games of the league season but have bounced back in style to sit in second place, level on points with leaders and reigning champions, Bristol Academy Flyers.
Thunder left for the long trip to Leeds at 8.30am on Sunday, arriving at the venue at 3pm for the 4pm tip-off.
Thunder captain James Brame, and stand-in coach with Gary Smith still ruled out through illness, felt his side were not on the ball in the first quarter, which Leeds won 29-27, despite Liam Mitchell sinking three three-pointers in a row for Worthing.
Thunder won the second quarter 28-20 to lead 55-49 at half-time and were around 10 points up for the majority of the second half, until Leeds fought back to get within four points at 92-88.
However, Thunder then got on a roll and finished with a 14-point winning margin.
Mitchell top-scored with 24 points for Thunder, which included six three-pointers from seven attempts, Marcus Tullis sank 23, Courtney Small 20 and Hank Rivers had another double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
Brame said: “It was a long journey up and we weren’t quite on the ball in the first quarter.
“We switched the defence around a bit for the second quarter and got up by half-time and, overall, it was a good team performance.
“The season is shaping up nicely now and everything is in our hands.
“We go into the new year with one of the best records in the league, and we have probably the most talented roster in the EBL, and when we play like we did today, we are a match for anyone.
“We’ve just got to keep the wins coming. I’ve said before that anyone can beat anyone in this league but we’re playing with great confidence at the moment and we’ve got to keep this momentum going.”
Brame also had special praise for Mitchell and said: “This was Liam’s breakthrough game and I know he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back on the court after this.
“He just caught fire, there is no way to describe just how hot Liam was. He was geared up a little, as his defender was elbowing him a little in the opening exchanges. Perhaps that was what caused the hot streak.
“Make no mistake, though, this was a team performance.
“I’m really happy that the team all contributed positively, three of our players got 20 points, Hank Rivers got another double-double and amazingly still apologised to me afterwards for having a bad game, but that’s what Hank is like, he just wants to get better.”