National Basketball League Division One – Saturday 7th/ Sunday 8th March

In a weekend when Solent Kestrels were crowned National League Division One Champions, Worthing Thunder embarked on a double-header road trip to Leicester and Liverpool in their continued efforts to chase a home berth in the post-season play-offs.

The two games could not have been more-contrasting; a close fought win by the narrowest of margins on Saturday in Leicester followed by the demolition of the hosts in Liverpool by a massive 80 points.

Saturday’s affair was a tough battle for Thunder. Leicester Warriors always seem to provide a challenging opposition when they meet up with Thunder and this match proved to be no exception.

Thunder started slowly losing the first quarter by 31 – 28 and matters went from bad to worse in the second period losing 28-19 and going into the half-time break with a 12 point deficit at 59-47. However after the interval Thunder returned to the court with renewed energy and determination winning the next quarter 23-14 and reducing the gap to just 3 points (73-70). The last session was a tense affair with both sides finding it difficult to score points (just 24 points between the two sides). In the end however, Thunder’s experience was to prove vital down the stretch and their reward was to take the spoils by just a single point.

Thunder scorers: Cameron Hildreth (24 points); Alex Owumi (21 points); AJ Basi (15 points); Zaire Taylor (14 points); Dominic Ives (7 points); Tom Ward (3 points).

After an overnight stay in Stoke, Thunder were back in action less than 24 hours later at Basketball Liverpool and their dominant victory at least ensured Thunder will be in action in the post-season play-offs.  Thunder lead from tip to buzzer and ran up  their biggest score of the season and the largest winning margin for many a year. The opening quarter saw the visitors sink a massive 43 points and a further 38 in the second period to go into the locker room with an 81-37 lead. The second half was more of the same as Thunder were on fire with their shooting and seemingly scoring baskets at will.  Worthing continued to pile on the agony for the home side winning the third quarter 35 -14 and the final session 34-19 ending the match with a resounding 150-70 victory.

There were some amazing statistics; Thunder hit 72% of their 2 point shots and 58% of their three point attempts. AJ Basi hit a ‘double-double’ (29 points and 10 assists) and Zaire Taylor was one assist short of a ‘triple-double’ (31 points, 13 steals and 9 assists). However these stats pale into insignificance in comparison to those of 17 year-old Cameron Hildreth who turned in a stellar performance scoring 45 points hitting 77% of his shots to go with his 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

Thunder scorers : Cameron Hildreth (45 points); Zaire Tylor (31 points); AJ Basi (29 points); Alex Owumi (17 points); Nick Ballone (13 points); James Lloyd (9 points); Dominic Ives (4 points); Ishmael Fontaine (2 points)