Worthing Thunder hold off Storm to lay down marker

Worthing Thunder overcame Hemel Storm on Saturday. Picture by Graham Hodges
Worthing Thunder overcame Hemel Storm on Saturday. Picture by Graham Hodges

Worthing Thunder player-coach Josh Goddard is not concerned with a small player rotation as long as his team gets wins.

Thunder laid down an early season marker by narrowly defeating Hemel Storm 105-102 on Saturday.

But Goddard only used eight players in that win with two of his starting five, Brendan Okoronkwo and Tom Ward, playing the full 40 minutes while Zaire Taylor and Alex Owumi played 38 and 36 minute respectively. Taylor and Owumi scored 28 points each in the victory.

It got the win that Goddard wanted and he isn’t concerned by player fatigue yet with Thunder having played three games in all competitions.

Goddard said: “Running with an eight-man rotation at the moment isn't a worry of mine. With the little time we've had together as a team we've just had to get the job done and secure the wins.

“Every practice the guys are getting better at understanding the systems and buying in to the team so in time our rotations will be able to be deeper, especially with the heavy upcoming schedule.”

That schedule includes away games against Leicester, Bradford, Nottingham and Manchester, which all come before the year is out.

For now, Worthing have begun their National League Division 1 campaign with a win but for the large travelling Thunder contingent that made their way to Hemel Hempstead they, along with the players, were made to sweat.

Having led for the majority – and seemingly in control – Worthing were pegged back in the final two minutes as Hemel went on a furious comeback where they narrowed to three points with 11 seconds left.

After Thunder guard Kevin Moyo missed from close-range, Hemel had a chance to take the game to overtime. But Worthing were well prepared defensively and Jack Burnell’s long-range three-pointer at the buzzer was well contested for him to miss the target.

Goddard said: “Playing a fellow title contender for the first league game is always good as it allows us to see where we are at already in the season.

"Having beaten Solent last week in the Trophy and then Hemel on the road this week, it shows we are heading in the right direction to achieve our goals for this season.”

n National League Division 2 side Sussex Bears suffered a setback in the Patrons Cup as they squandered a 16-point lead to lose 74-70 to London Greenhouse Pioneers.

Former Thunder forward Tomas Seduikis led Bears with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds as Bears fall to 1-1 in their group.

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