Worthing Thunder Basketball Club finished their season on a high on Saturday with a comfortable win at home to Leicester Warriors.
A 85-75 victory saw Thunder finish tenth in National League Division 1, although it looked for large parts of the game that they would win by the 20-point margin needed to finish above Leicester in ninth place.
However, the visitors, who had just a six-man squad for the game and had already forfeited their game at Team Northumbria on Sunday, finished strongly and took the final period 27-17.
In front of a large crowd at Worthing Leisure Centre, Thunder proved deadly from three-point range in the opening exchanges. Josh Brown, twice, Tom Ward and Louis Allen all sank three-pointers inside four minutes as Thunder opened up a 16-8 lead.
The hosts led 23-14 at the end of the first quarter and remained in control throughout the second stanza to open up a 43-30 lead by half-time.
Leicester cut Thunder’s lead to nine points early in the third period but Thunder responded well and led 68-48 with ten minutes to play.
A basket from Tomas Seduikis moved Thunder 22 points ahead at the start of the fourth quarter, before Leicester rallied well to reduce their losing margin to just ten.
The win was Thunder’s fourth in five games after their play-off hopes came to an end at the beginning of the month.
American James Cambronne again led the way for Thunder, with 28 points and 14 rebounds. Brown added 15 points, Ward sank 12 and Allen scored ten.
Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “It was a fantastic win and was really nice for the crowd first of all. They’ve been supporting us throughout the course of the year and I know they’ve been frustrated at times but, believe me, nobody has been more frustrated than the players and myself.
“We’ve been so close so many times and it’s been a story of ifs, buts and maybes. The reality is we’ve shown now that we can beat everybody in the league and compete with everybody in the league. There were only two teams who we didn’t beat this season.
“To finish the season with four wins out of five is nice for us. Even though the season has been over, the players haven’t just rolled over and fulfilled the fixtures, which some teams aren’t even doing. They’ve been putting on shows for the fans.”
At the end of Saturday’s game, the player-of-the-season awards took place.
Cambronne was named the MVP, as voted for by supporters, and also won the junior supporters’ player of the year.
The players’ player award went to Tomas Seduikis and Brendan Okoronkwo won the coach’s player of the year.
Special awards were also made to secretary Penny Marshall, who is retiring from her role, and club photographer Andre Nichols.
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