WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club dropped a place to eighth in National League Division 1 on Saturday after losing away to top-of-the-table Kent Crusaders.
Thunder dropped below Leicester Warriors, who did not play, owing to the 15-point losing margin, and now sit eighth, the final play-off place.
Despite a 19-point, 14-rebound double-double from Hank Rivers and 17 points from Louis Allen, Thunder suffered a third successive league defeat.
Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “It was a high-scoring first quarter and it was going to be a case of who stepped up their defence would come out on top.
“Credit to Kent, that’s exactly what they did. They held us to 14 points in the second quarter and they passed the ball and shot very well. Unfortunately, it took us too long to get going and by then the gap was too great.”
Adetola Akomolafe led all scorers for Kent with 29 points.
Worthing started the brighter of the two sides and quickly raced out to a 9-2 lead before the hosts found their form and Thunder’s lead was narrowed to 12-10 halfway through.
Kent were unable to establish any form of an advantage as Thunder, led by Rivers, held firm and they led 26-24 after the first ten minutes.
The Crusaders defence clamped down in the opening exchanges of the second and in ultra quick time, Worthing found themselves behind and trailed 51-40 at half-time.
Any chance of a Worthing comeback in the third quarter was quickly diminished as Kent continued to build their lead, eventually settling for a 78-59 cushion, heading into the final period.
Thunder crept back into contention in the final five minutes of the game after trailing by as many as 23 points, but Kent were comfortable as they took the win.
Thunder have their first home game in three weeks on Saturday when they entertain second-placed Reading Rockets (7.30pm). Worthing then host fifth-placed Team Northumbria on Sunday (5pm).