WORTHING THUNDER 81 SOLENT KESTRELS 94
Worthing Thunder’s hopes of reaching a BBL Semi Final were dashed last Saturday by Solent Kestrels in a compelling ,match which was a fine advertisement for Basketball England Division One.
After a delayed start – the result of trying to accommodate a capacity crowd of more than 800 spectators – Thunder started brightly and promptly took a 12-6 lead. The home side, keen to avenge two previous defeats by the visitors this season and roared on by the deafening support from their home fans, kept up the pressure throughout the first quarter to ensure that as the period ended they would enjoy a single point advantage (23-22). The Kestrels however are an excellent team, strong at both ends of the court and gradually they began to impose their presence on the match. As the buzzer went for the half time break the visitors had an 8 point lead (50 –42). It was really during the final minute of the second period and the opening exchanges of the third quarter that Solent took control with a 14-0 run which broke the game open and extended their lead to a massive 18 points (60-42). It looked very much as though the game was over but Thunder – despite both Alex Owumi and Zaire Taylor carrying injuries – were not going to take the defeat without a fight. A run of 7 points from Cameron Hildreth and 5 from Alex Owumi saw Thunder get back to within 5 points of with just under four minutes to go and the possibility of an improbable come-back momentarily looked to be on the cards.
However, the visitors showed exactly why they have remained unbeaten throughout the season and a strong finish from them secured the victory by 13 points (91-84) – albeit the last ten points that Kestrels scored came from the free throw line as Thunder had to fail their opponents in an effort to regain possession of the ball. Whilst the result did not go Thunder’s way, all-in-all this was a good performance from the home side and the whole evening was a sporting event for which the club and their fans should be proud.
Solent go on to play Bristol Flyers in a two-leg semi-final and will, without doubt be a challenging opponent for their higher league opponents.
Thunder scorers: Cameron Hildreth (19; points); Alex Owumi (18 points); Tom Ward (15 points); AJ Basi (13 points); Dominic Ives (9 points); Zaire Taylor (7 points)