North east trip brings one win and one loss

Milton Chavis
Milton Chavis

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club returned home from their long trip to the north east at the weekend with one defeat and one victory.

Thunder lost 84-77 to Team Northumbria on Saturday, before they won on the buzzer 84-82 at Tees Valley Mohawks on Sunday to end a five-game losing run in National League Division 1.

At Team Northumbria, Worthing failed to build on a solid first half showing and their losing streak at the university venue continued as they have not won there in their last five visits, dating back to the club’s British Basketball League days.

Hank Rivers led Thunder with 24 points and ten rebounds, Milton Chavis added 19 points and Brendan Okoronkwo scored ten but Worthing were guilty of 23 turnovers to Northumbria’s nine, which proved a telling factor.

For the first half, though, Thunder were consistent. They braved the cold and not to mention the 370-mile trip to lead 23-21 after the first period, but were pegged back to 45-45 at half-time.

Northumbria held a slender 63-60 lead after three quarters before making their move in the deciding period.

Christian Hatch led Northumbria with a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds.

Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth: “The game was close throughout, with the longest run for either team being seven points.

“For us, our half-court defence was considerably better but it was the unforced errors that led to 27 fast break points for Team Northumbria. You simply can’t do that at this level.”

Thunder bounced back the following day with victory at Tees Valley. A tip-in on the buzzer from Chavis gave Worthing the win in a game that threatened over-time until Chavis’s heroics.

Thunder only led for a total of 8min 25sec in the game and trailed by as many as 11 points, which is becoming quite a theme for the season.

But Hildreth was pleased with the win in Middlesbrough and said: “It was another come from behind win but a huge test of our character pulled the win out for us today.

“Understandably, we were sluggish from all the travelling but I said that it cannot be an excuse. Our defence was key down the stretch and Milton was in the right place and at the right time to tip the ball home as the buzzer sounded.”

Chavis led all scorers with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Rivers secured his second double-double of the weekend by adding 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.