Dragons roar to victory against Thunder

Jack Sunderland
Jack Sunderland
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WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club’s miserable start to the new year continued on Saturday evening when they suffered their fourth defeat in five games.

A dreadful second quarter caused their 85-72 downfall against Bradford Dragons as they slipped to sixth in the EBL Division 1 table.

Thunder were without Sam Cricelli, who was ruled out with a back injury, and Hank Rivers arrived late, so did not start the game, while Vinnie Darpino was still out with a hamstring injury and they never recovered from going down 24-10 in the second stanza.

Thunder captain James Brame believes a lack of confidence is costing his side and said: “Basketball is all about confidence and we seem to be lacking it at the moment.

“Other teams are playing with confidence against us and are hitting their shots and getting easy baskets, while we’re being forced to make hard shots to get points.

“We have to radically change the way we’re playing as we’re getting out-worked and teams are dictating games against us. In our seven-game winning run before Christmas, it was all for one and one for all but we’ve gone away from that and aren’t playing team basketball.

“We’ve got to knuckle down, find some heart and desire and get back on track.

“We’ve got to finish in the top four to get a home play-off. It’s going to be a tough test but we’ve got to take each game as it comes and grind out results.”

There were glimpses of promise in the third quarter for Thunder when they went on an 8-0 run but Bradford maintained control and were always in command, leading from the first minute in a scrappy encounter where both teams committed a total of 42 turnovers.

Bradford started the stronger and Robert Edmunds, who finished with 29 points, scored the first five points of the game as they lead 18-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Bradford’s lead ballooned in the second period, thanks to an 11-0 run midway through. Worthing turned the ball over three times during that run, as Dragons led 37-21 lead with four minutes left in the period.

Rivers snapped that run with a bucket inside, but Denis Scott quickly replied at the other end and the visitors led 42-25 at half-time.

The third started with both teams trading buckets but Dragons extended their lead further thanks to another 11-0 run as Thunder found themselves 62-37 down.

A 8-0 run, inspired by Jack Sunderland, gave Thunder a glimmer of hope but they still trailed 68-51 at the end of the third stanza.

Bradford started the fourth with a 6-0 run as the gap proved too much for Thunder to claw back and they gave an opportunity to three of their under-18 team – Rhys Francis, Joe Carter and Julian Stanley – in the final two minutes.

Liam Mitchell led Thunder’s scoring with 16 points, followed by 14 points each from Hank Rivers and Marcus Tullis, while Courtney Small added 13.

Thunder are at EBL leaders Bristol Academy Flyers on Saturday.