The Thunder took to the court on Saturday without popular guard Kevin Moyo, who had left the club during the week to pursue his career in Italy. His loss leaves Thunder looking rather light in numbers, but on this showing there surely can be no other team in the league with such a big heart. Once again, it took Thunder a long time to get into their stride but when they did, the supporters were loving it!!
The first period was a close ten minutes as Thunder started quickly, but were outsmarted by the much larger Hoods defence. Time and again Thunder’s offence ran into trouble as they got to the net with Hoods breaking up field and scoring at regular intervals. At the first break, Thunder held a narrow two-point lead at 24-22.
It was much the same in the second stanza as the Thunder struggled to break down the stubborn Hoods. The build-up play was good, but the home favourites were becoming frustrated as it was difficult to score from tightly congested positions. At the halfway stage, the lead had swung the way of the visitors as they took a two-point lead to the locker room (46-44).
After the break, things began to look even worse for Thunder as the Hoods gradually extended their lead. Thunder were always giving their all, but again, a resolute Hoods defence was giving nothing away. The crowd were beginning to wonder if Thunder’s title charge was going to hit the rocks as the task was beginning to look impossible. As the final break arrived, it was a disconsolate arena as the hosts trailed by 70-60.
Thunder are fast becoming the comeback kings of English Basketball, but this time it was incredible. Down by 12 after two minutes of the quarter, and then still trailing by 9 with fewer than five minutes on the clock, the stage was set for a big finish. The man to step up was Zaire Taylor who, in a fantastic final five minutes, began to dominate the game; 15 points in the last quarter, he probed the weakening Hoods defence at will. Feeding the ball to Tom Ward regularly in the last five minutes saw Thunder outscore the visitors by 21-3, sending the fans into raptures, to see the Thunder to victory by 93-84. All of the team played their part; Brendan Okoronkwo and Alex Owumi were outstanding in defence; Jorge Ebanks and Tom Ward skilfully running the plays plus scoring regularly; but it was the big time man, Zaire Taylor, who not only stole the Barkers Tarring MVP, but finally stole the match to break the visitors’ hearts.
Thunder have the long journey to the North East next Saturday when they face Newcastle University. The 2:30pm tip-off means a 5:00am leave from Worthing and after that long journey it’s going to be a tough time in the North.
Thunder are next at home on Saturday 23rd March when Manchester Magic are at the Thunderdome, tipping 7.30pm
Scores: Zaire Taylor – 30 points, Alex Owumi – 20 points (11 rebounds), Jorge Ebanks – 18 points (10 assists, 6 steals), Brendan Okoronkwo – 15 points, Tom Ward – 9 points, Ishmael Fontaine – 1 point.
Dave Marshall – (#voiceonthemic)
|2nd March 2019||7:30 pm||Division One Mens||League 2018/2019||Home|
|Worthing Leisure Centre|
|Shaftesbury Ave, Worthing BN12 4EA, UK|