A 21-0 run bridging the second and third quarter was the catalyst behind a memorable Worthing Thunder victory against higher-league opposition in the BBL Trophy.
Paced by 22 points from Brendan Okoronkwo, with nine of those coming in the final quarter, National League side Worthing deservedly beat British Basketball League outfit Surrey Scorchers 86-80 at the Worthing Leisure Centre on Saturday.
Thunder, invited into the BBL Trophy thanks to a top four finish and play-off glory last season will now face either London City Royals or the Welsh national team, who play on Sunday afternoon.
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Okoronkwo said: “We came into this game with nothing to lose. We wanted to attack them, play confident team basketball and see where it takes us. We all fought for each other and I feel that we deserved this.”
After trailing 42-34 with 39 seconds left in the second, Tom Ward drained an open three-pointer to keep Worthing in touch at the half.
That triple began a run of 21 unanswered points as Thunder enjoyed a 15-point lead at one stage, eventually settling for a 60-54 cushion heading into the fourth quarter.
From there, Worthing held their nerve, scoring 20 points off 18 Surrey turnovers and riding their luck a little as Surrey were unable to take advantage of Thunder’s foul trouble, missing 11 free throws, shooting just 59 percent from the line.
Zaire Taylor secured a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists. Jorge Ebanks added 14 with Alex Owumi posting 13 points against his former club.
Surrey, who boast two Great Britain internationals in Josh Steel and recently signed Ryan Richards, were led by 21 points from veteran Tayo Ogedengbe.