Worthing Thunder won an exciting match-up with old rivals Hemel Storm in over-time in front of a packed and noisy home crowd at Hemel Hempstead last Saturday.
As ever in matches between these teams, this game was hard-fought, competitive and closer than either side would have liked. On this occasion however it did not seem after the first half that there would be any doubt as to the result with Thunder hitting an impressive 35 points in the first quarter and a further 26 in the second period to go into the locker room at the break with a 14 point advantage.
Nevertheless Hemel are a difficult side to put down in front of their home crowd and a 25-14 third quarter ramped up the atmosphere in the arena to see the visitors lead trimmed to a solitary 3 points.
As the final period began the momentum was with Storm and although the lead changed hands several times it was with just 2 minutes and 3 seconds to go that the home side held the their biggest lead of the match at 94-89. Thunder however were not to be outdone and with just 24 seconds left and trailing by 2 points with Thunder in possession of the ball, coach Nick Stevens called a time out to plan the last play of the match.
As has happened so many times before, it was Zaire Taylor which lead the charge and with a driving lay-up he tied up the game with just 12 seconds remaining on the clock.
Over-time was initially a fairly nip-and-tuck affair but despite Hemel holding a brief 2 point lead it was Thunder who took control of the match and ended victorious by 5 points.
Although Alex Owumi, Cameron Hildreth and Zaire Taylor all had outstanding matches and were the top scorers, it was AJ Basi’s introduction back into the game during the fourth quarter which contributed significantly to the win. During this period he hit 6 consecutive free throws as well as scoring another 6 points; he drew 5 fouls and pulled down 5 rebounds to go with two assists and a steal.
Thunder scorers; Alex Owumi (31 Points); Cameron Hildreth (30 points); Zaire Taylor (22 points); AJ Basi (21 points); Tom Ward (5 points)