Thunder win at Magic before defeat to Leeds

Bud Johnston
Bud Johnston

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club ended their six-game losing run with a 64-57 victory at Manchester Magic on Saturday, before they lost 73-63 away to Leeds Carnegie on Sunday.

In the double-header EBL Division 1 weekend, Thunder were made to work hard for the win in Manchester, before their shooting percentage hurt them in their defeat at Leeds.

Leading 57-50 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter at Manchester, Thunder looked to have sealed their second win of the season. But Manchester narrowed the gap to 59-57 in the final minute of play before Thunder kept their nerve and sealed the win from the free throw line.

American Rory Spencer led Thunder with 16 points and he also had 14 rebounds and four blocks. Tom Ward hit 15 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, while Bud Johnston also got 15 points and 11 rebounds and Tomas Seduikis had 12 points.

Spencer said: “I’m just glad to help the team out and for us to get the win. This was always going to be a tough weekend and we had a tough week of practice but we came into this with a lot of belief in ourselves and we came out and got the job done.”

Thunder led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter at Manchester but it took three minutes for Worthing to register a field goal in the second period after Manchester had taken the lead for the first time in the second minute. A mid-range jumper from Johnston restored the visitors’ lead but Manchester finished the first half 32-27 ahead.

Worthing quickly forgot about the second quarter and came out strongly in the third. A beautiful feed from Johnston set up Seduikis, then a steal at the other end, led Johnston to go coast-to-coast and fool the Magic defence with the round-the-back lay-up and all of a sudden, the gap was 34-31.

A 7-2 run towards the end of the period gave Thunder the lead again at 45-39 and despite a good spell from the hosts towards the end of the quarter, Worthing led 45-41, heading into the final ten minutes.

A three-pointer from Johnston gave Thunder a 48-41 lead to start the fourth and they built from there. Johnston hit another triple to make it 57-50 as Manchester were on the ropes.

The hosts, though, hit back to set up a tense last few minutes, but Worthing sealed the win from the foul line.

The first half at Leeds on Sunday was a close affair. Thunder led 17-14 at the end of the first quarter, before Leeds moved into a 34-28 lead by half-time.

Four three-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half took the hosts 46-32 ahead. Ward almost single-handedly attempted to claw Thunder back into contention, but after three quarters, Worthing trailed 55-41.

Thunder briefly brought the deficit back to single figures in the final stanza, before Spencer fouled out with four minutes to go and Leeds held on.

Ward led Thunder with 15 points and Johnston added ten as Worthing were out rebounded 49-26.