In basketball, the crowd are often referred to as the ‘sixth man’ and players are always grateful for the support.
This is backed up by one of Worthing Thunder’s new recruits, Ishmael Fontaine, who praises the team’s supporters especially away from the Worthing Leisure Centre.
Last weekend’s road trips against Leicester Warriors and division-lower side Greenwich Titans were played in-front of crowds that still would not come close to matching Thunder’s attendance on a usual game-night combined.
Fontaine said: “I think we are extremely lucky. I am extremely grateful that people take the time out of their weekends to come and support us. In our last home game, we were down by ten points against Reading and the fans’ spirits didn’t damper at all and that makes me feel like they are really deserving of a great, entertaining evening and season.”
Despite having a solid youth system, Warriors don’t have the same following for their senior side. Firmly in the shadow of British Basketball League side Leicester Riders, the Warriors’ attendances are sparse at best, with a reported 40 people at the game against Thunder.
Sunday’s National Cup encounter against Greenwich, a team currently sitting in third spot in Division 2, actually had a bit more atmosphere. The Titans were forced to move venues for this fixture due to a leaking roof at their usual home venue, with Worthing being notified a little over 48 hours before the game.
The short notice venue change did not deter the Thunder faithful, who bypassed the touring U2 just down the road at the O2 Arena to see their own heroes beat Titans 103-81.
Fontaine rewarded the travelling fans with a team-high 28 points on the night as they advanced to round four of the National Cup.
Thunder were ahead for the majority against a spirited Titans side, but were never fully able to pull away until a 20-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarter finally put the game to bed.
Thunder began the weekend with a clinical 100-79 hammering of Leicester. Alex Owumi, who was rested for the game against Greenwich, secured a double-double of 31 points and ten rebounds in the midlands.
Thunder player-coach Josh Goddard said: “Both games saw us unable to gain a substantial lead in the first half. After half-time we were able to play up a few gears at both ends of the floor.
“The take home message for us is to focus on making a better start to games and be more consistent and I feel that with the players we have, this will be an easy fix.”
Worthing will look to improve their 3-0 National League Division 1 record as they prepare to host Newcastle Knights on Saturday at the Worthing Leisure Centre, tip-off is 7:30pm.
n orge Ebanks is aiming for silverware in his second spell with Worthing Thunder.
The Staten Island-born guard signed for Worthing late last week, replacing Nick Lewis, who requested that his contract be cancelled.
And after Thunder announced Ebanks’ arrival on social media, fans welcomed one of last season’s favourites, who guided Thunder to the play-off title.
Ebanks wants to continue where he left off, but he wants to claim all the titles that Thunder are involved in.
He said: “I’m excited for another season with the club and a chance to defend our crown. I’m also excited that we have a chance to add more silverware as we are still in the hunt for the National Trophy and Cup.”
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