The experience of Essex Leopards told on Sunday as they recorded a 90-64 win at home to Worthing Thunder in the National Trop
Leopards out-rebounded Worthing 39-24 and racked up 26 assists to Thunder’s nine in the Pool One clash.
Hank Rivers, who was a doubt for this game with vision problems, shrugged off the problem to lead Thunder with 17 points and nine rebounds, one shy of a double-double.
Bud Johnston led the supporting cast with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists and Noel Pollock had 13 points as he continues to settle into his first season with the club.
Thunder’s Rhys Francis, who had six points in 16 minutes on court, said: “I feel that we didn’t stick to doing what we do best and we came away from all the things that work and has worked for us so far this year.
“We were down 16 at the end of the half after shooting 24 per cent from the field and that showed that we were not scoring well but it was our defence and effort that killed us.
“It’s all learning for us, we will come back stronger and we have another shot at Leopards in a few weeks, so we have to get this game out of our heads and focus on the next game.”
Thunder were behind 21-10 at the end of the first quarter as they failed to find the basket with five three-point attempts.
Worthing were then held scoreless for the first five minutes of the second quarter as they trailed 43-27 at half-time.
Thunder won the third quarter to leave themselves 60-45 behind heading into the final stanza.
Leopards started it strongly, though, to end any Thunder hopes of a comeback. Carl Josey drained a three and that was followed by a bucket by Greg Hernandez which pushed the lead up to 20 and Thunder’s chances were blown.
Josey led Leopards with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while forward Daniel Dunscombe, from Littlehampton, had seven points against his home-town club.
Reaction from Thunder captain James Brame in this week’s paper.