WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club captain James Brame is eager to return to winning ways in the EBL on Saturday at home to bottom-of-the-table Westminster Warriors.
Thunder’s two-game winning run was ended by leaders Derby Trailblazers, who sank 13 of 28 three-point attempts, on Saturday in a 90-74 victory, but Brame is still upbeat about the rest of the season as Worthing bid to gain home advantage for the end-of-season play-offs.
He said: “We were up against a very good side on Saturday, who had a hot streak with their three-pointers. We were sluggish to start with and they made us pay as we got ourselves into a massive hole and couldn’t get out of it.
“We’ve got to get back to winning ways and it’s another tough game this weekend. We’ve played Westminster twice already and won both matches by a point or two.
“We’ll just take each game as it comes now and have got to look to finish in the top four and get home-court advantage in the play-offs.
“We’ve got eight games left and have got to look to win seven or all eight to get the home advantage.
“It’s a daunting task but Leopards are the only side who we haven’t beaten this season and we’ll keep fighting, keep working hard and, hopefully, keep winning.
“We had a slip-up on Saturday but we’ve now got to try to find our form heading into the play-offs, get into the finals weekend and win them. We’ll be one of the teams to look out for in the play-offs, along with Derby, Bristol and Leopards, although a lot of other teams are pushing as well, which is what makes it such a great league as anyone can beat anyone.”
Thunder suffered a blow heading into the game on Saturday when Vinnie Darpino re-tweaked his hamstring injury in practice on Wednesday evening, which ruled him out of the game.
Derby started the match with back-to-back triples from Rishi Kakad, who led all scorers with 28 points, and Martyn Gayle, before another three-pointer from Troy Whittington left Thunder 9-2 down and they trailed 21-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Derby increased their advantage in the second stanza and led 44-28 at half-time.
Marcus Tullis hit back-to-back baskets to cut the deficit at the start of the third quarter but Derby again out-scored Thunder and were 72-47 ahead with one quarter to play.
Derby increased their lead to 31 points at 80-51, before Thunder fought back in the closing stages to cut the final deficit to 16 points.
Tullis topped Thunder’s scoring with 19 points, while Hank Rivers secured another double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Courtney Small also scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Thunder have Liam Mitchell back available for Saturday’s match but Darpino and Brame, who injured his right hand towards the end of the Derby game, are both doubts.