WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club took positives from their 84-72 defeat at home to Guildford Heat on Saturday in the BBL but still slipped to their 11th successive reverse.
Cleve Woodfork made his return in Thunder colours but, without the suspended Shaun Durant and injured Adam Williams, they trailed 49-30 at half-time and, despite a spirited showing in the final quarter, they could not close the gap by more than 12 points.
Thunder assistant coach Alan Sweetman-Hicks said: “We played better than we had in our previous game and Cleve came in and did a good job.
“With Shaun and Adam out, it was always going to be a difficult game but we made a run in the fourth quarter.
“We got it down to 12 points and then had three offensive attacks in a row where we didn’t score.
“It we’d brought it down to seven or eight points, we might have got ourselves on a roll and then you never know.”
Thunder lost the opening quarter 23-16 and then went down 26-14 in the second stanza to trail 49-30 at half-time.
Guildford’s largest lead was 57-34 during the third quarter, which they won 19-17, before Thunder won the last period 25-16.
Sherrad Prezzie-Blue and Marlin Capers both sank 20 points for Thunder and Woodfork scored 15, while Mansour Mybe had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Martelle Mclemore led Guildford’s scorers with 20 points, while Michael Martin sank 19, Julius Joseph 18 and James Porter 13.
Sweetman-Hicks added: “They pulled away in the second quarter, which made life difficult for us.
“We chipped away in the last quarter and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we’d had a full team out.
“But, with two big games coming up, against Newcastle and Sheffield, it was important that we at least showed some decent play.”
Thunder host Newcastle on Saturday (7.30pm) and have beaten them on their last two league trips to the Leisure Centre, although Newcastle did win on their last visit to Worthing in the BBL Trophy in February.
Durant returns for Thunder on Saturday but Williams is likely to be out for another two weeks with a broken finger.
Sweetman-Hicks added: “Hopefully, a long trip down and playing away to MK Lions on Friday will work against Newcastle when they play us.
“They also don’t know anything about Cleve as they haven’t seen him before, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
“As a club, we haven’t written off this season. We’re not going to let it meander along. We still want to compete and see what we can do.”
Thunder had 19-year-old Luke Griffiths make his debut on Saturday. He started the season with Bognor Pirates but has recently been training with Thunder.