WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club suffered a second successive defeat in National League Division 1 on Saturday when they lost at Manchester Magic.
It was a third loss in four league games for Thunder, who slipped two places to eighth in the table as they were made to pay for too many turnovers and misses from the free-throw line. Thunder missed six of their final ten attempts from the foul line, after they had looked good value to take the lead late in the fourth, but Magic led for the majority of the match, with a game-high lead of 16 points early in the third quarter.
Milton Chavis returned to the Worthing line-up and led the way with 27 points, six rebounds and five assists with another returnee, Hank Rivers, amassing figures of 21 points and nine rebounds.
Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “In this game, you will never win if you turn the ball over 26 times, never.
“We didn’t play to a good enough standard, even though we left ourselves with a fighting chance in the final few minutes, but ultimately our turnovers and free throws let us down.
“Credit to Manchester, though, they played a great, effective style of basketball, and they deserved the win but we will look to our turnovers as our downfall, otherwise, the result would have been much different.”
Manchester were led by Ellis Cooper’s 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Rivers got Thunder going with a bucket inside after the first two possessions, but Manchester were by far the stronger team to begin with and they raced out to a 10-2 lead
A further 6-0 run handed them their first double-digit lead, and despite Brendan Okoronkwo starring for Worthing in the final two minutes, they trailed 24-18 heading into the second quarter.
A bucket inside by Rivers, followed by a dunk in transition by Chavis, narrowed the gap early in the period to 29-22, but Worthing struggled to connect on open shots, leaving Magic to take advantage and they moved 49-35 ahead by half-time.
Two more points by Cooper gave Manchester their biggest lead of the game at 51-35, before Dominic Baker caught fire from three-point range, hitting on back-to-back possessions. Rivers and Chavis then joined in with buckets of their own to narrow the gap further but Magic responded with an 11-0 burst to extend the gap back to double digits.
Chavis hit five quick points and Louis Allen drilled a triple to give the visitors some hope at the end of the third quarter, as Magic’s lead was only 68-57 with Worthing building momentum heading into the final ten minutes.
A deep three from Chavis and a tough bucket plus the foul from Josh Brown, under immense pressure from three Magic defenders, gave Thunder more hope to start the fourth. But again Manchester had a retort as they moved 76-66 ahead.
Worthing had their share of promising spells towards the end but Manchester had answers for those runs and it eventually led to victory.
Thunder do not have a match this weekend. Their next game is at leaders Kent Crusaders on February 21.