WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club came out on top in the first round of the National Cup with a 88-43 win against local rivals Sussex Bears on Sunday.
National League Division 1 Thunder came up against several familiar faces when they travelled to Division 4 side Bears, who play at the Robert Woodard Academy in Lancing.
Bears are coached by former Thunder coach Gary Smith and included former Thunder players James Brame, Nick Corbin and Julian Stanley in their squad, with former Thunder juniors Matt Edwards, Bertie Robinson and Connor Mountfield also involved.
The Bears were without three more former Thunder players, Bud Johnston, Dominic Baker and Liam Mitchell, for the game but Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth was full of praise for his side’s performance and said: “They would have gone into the game hoping for an upset but, being a Division 1 team, it’s a game we should be winning.
“We needed to make sure we approached it in the right way and, although it was a shame they had two or three players missing, you can only play against the team that is in front of you.
“There was an incident at the end of the first quarter which sparked us and, from that point, we were able to extend our lead further and further.
“I was able to play most of the bench in the fourth quarter and it was good to see a nice crowd at the game.”
Josh Brown led Thunder with 19 points, Tomas Seduikis sank 15 and Joe Carter scored 11. Trent Williams, who joined the club’s junior programme last year, also sank his first points for the club.
Hildreth has also confirmed that Jack Sunderland is on board for the season and said: “Jack had to finish his degree last year so wasn’t around so much but we were grateful for him making himself available at times last year.
“We’re glad to have him back. He’s one of those players who always has an impact on a game and his work ethic is second to none.
“He’s an ultimate warrior and he’s an infectious player on the team.”
Thunder had won 84-70 against Kent Crusaders in the National Trophy on Saturday.
Thunder are back in National Trophy action this weekend when they host Hemel Storm at Worthing Leisure Centre on Saturday, with a 6.30pm start, before they travel to London Lituanica on Sunday (1pm).