Thunder have a weekend to forget

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club had a weekend to forget when they went down to two defeats.

Thunder started their EBL Division 1 campaign on Saturday with a 93-88 reverse at Bradford Dragons, before they lost 78-60 at Bristol Academy Flyers in the National Cup on Sunday.

The losses left Thunder captain James Brame to say his side need to play better team basketball: “In spells, we played very good basketball at the weekend. But we have to replicate that for 40 minutes of team basketball. We can’t play individual basketball.

“We’ve got to be more professional and play well for longer spells.

“We’re very disappointed to come back with two losses on the road.

“It’s disheartening but we’ll be working hard in practice this week.”

Thunder had a squad of just seven on Saturday when they lost at Bradford, as Okolie Ugbana, Dominic Baker and Liam Mitchell were all unavailable.

Thunder lost the first quarter 25-15 and trailed 46-36 at half-time. Bradford extended their lead to 71-56 with one stanza to play, before Thunder won the final quarter by 10 points.

Chris Talley sank 24 points, Courtney Small 20 and Vinnie Darpino 19 for Thunder.

Brame said: “We got ourselves in a big hole and were 18 to 20 points down, before we got it back in the final quarter and were four points behind, still with six minutes to play.

“That was how we needed to play from the tip and, if we had, it could have been a different story.”

The next day, Thunder started well at Bristol and led 36-35 at half-time.

From there, things fell apart for Thunder and they scored just 10 points in the final stanza. Brame said: “We played well in the first half, good team basketball.

“But we went away from that in the second half and Bristol broke us down, scored easily and made it very hard for us to score.”

Small top-scored with 16 points, while Francesco Amato sank 12 and Talley 11.

Brame is now looking forward to hosting Bristol Academy Flyers on Sunday (5pm) at Worthing Leisure Centre. The teams have already met twice this season, now with one win each, and Brame said: “It’s a chance for us to redeem ourselves. It’s a big game because we don’t want to be 0-2 after two league games.

“In recent years, a team winning the league might only lose one game. We’ve done that already in the first game but teams will beat other teams in this league.

“It’s hard to gauge where we are at the moment but I think we should be challenging at the top and be one of the teams to beat.

“We’re looking forward to Sunday when we’ll have the home support, who will be like an extra man for us.”