National Cup defeat but victory in league for Worthing Thunder

Zaire Taylor scored 17 in the Thunder's defeat to the Derby Trailblazers on Saturday.
Zaire Taylor scored 17 in the Thunder's defeat to the Derby Trailblazers on Saturday.

Worthing Thunder suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Derby Trailblazers in the fourth round of the National Cup last Saturday.

With Basketball England discarding the National Trophy this season from their portfolio of competitions, Thunder’s elimination from the Cup leaves them with just the League and post-season play-offs to concentrate on.

After a reasonably competitive first half Thunder trailed the Blazers by just six points with Zaire Taylor leading the visitors scoring with 11 points.

However, after the break the Blazers took control of the match with a 10-0 run in the latter part of the session to increase their lead to 16 points (68-52).

It was always going to be a tough ask for Thunder to get back into the game and although the final quarter was much closer (24-22 to the Blazers) it was Derby who took the spoils and gained a measure of revenge for their narrow defeat down on the south coast earlier in the season.

Top scorers for Thunder were AJ Basi (22 points); Zaire Taylor (17 points); Alex Owumi (12 points) ; Cameron Hildreth (9 points); Tom Ward (7 points); Ishmael Fontaine (7 points); Oberon Lacroix (2 points); Josh Goddard (2 points)

Thunder got back to their winning ways after their cup defeat in the Midlands the previous evening with an exciting victory against visitors Liverpool Basketball.

The Mersey-siders – despite their position in the bottom three of the league – contributed to an entertaining match and despite being down by 16 points at the end of the third quarter fought back to trail by just two points with slightly more than 2 minutes left in the game.

However four points from Alex Owumi and two from Tom Ward steadied the ship and saw Thunder home by a 5 point margin (106-101).

In a competitive first half Thunder, despite missing both Zaire Taylor and Cameron Hildreth, lead at the end of the first period (29-25) only to see the visitors edge the second period (29-28) leaving Thunder to go into the locker room with a slender three point margin (57-54).

Returning to court after the break the home side completely dominated the third session opening up the biggest lead of the match to 16 points (87-71) as the period ended.

Alex Owumi and AJ Basi both with 27 points were completely dominating the play for Thunder with Basi - continuing his good form from the previous night - scoring a remarkable 9 out of 9 two-points baskets.

Nobody would have suspected at that stage that there would be anything other than a comfortable victory on the cards for the home side.

A 14-2 run put the visitors right back in the game but in the final minute of the match the experienced Owumi and Ward ensured that there would be no surprise result.

The victory for Thunder along with Hemel’s narrow defeat at league leaders Solent Kestrels saw Thunder consolidate their position in second place four points behind Solent and two points ahead of Hemel Storm, Thames Valley Cavaliers and next week’s visitors Reading Rockets.

Scorers for Thunder Alex Owumi (36 points); AJ Basi (29 points); Dominic Ives (17 points); Tom Ward (9 points) : Ishmael Fontaine (8 points); Oberon Lacroix (7 points)

Thunder are next in action at Worthing leisure Centre next Saturday 14th December when the visitors will be Reading Rockets 7.30pm tip-off