WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club’s winning league run came to an end at home to bottom-of-the-table Newham Neptunes on Saturday.
Thunder went into the game on the back of five successive league victories but a young and energetic Newham side fought back from a six point deficit with 80 seconds remaining to claim just their second win of the season.
Worthing were without the unavailable Hank Rivers and Tomas Seduikis and missed the duo on the front court as they were out-rebounded 57 to 36.
The hosts were slow out of the blocks as Newham started the game with a 11-0 run.
Thunder’s first points came after 2min 46sec when Dominic Baker sank a three-pointer on the buzzer. However, the visitors held a 28-13 lead at the end of the first ten minutes.
Worthing came to life in the second stanza, with Milton Chavis, Baker and Louis Allen all sinking three-pointers in quick succession.
Thunder closed the half with a 13-4 run to go into half-time with a 44-42 lead.
The third period was back and forth until Newham went on a 7-0 run late in the quarter to move 71-63 ahead. Chavis ended the stanza with two points as Thunder trailed 71-65 with ten minutes to play.
Newham had possession at the start of the final quarter but a technical foul was called on Newham coach Andrea Boreland for something she said to the scorers table.
Allen sank one free throw and Thunder also gained possession of the ball, although they did not manage to make it count as they were unable to find the basket.
A bucket from Brendan Okoronkwo got Thunder to within a point at 73-72 but the visitors then went on another 7-0 run to move 80-72 in front.
Newham increased their lead to nine points, at 84-75, before Thunder went on a 15-0 run, with back-to-back three-pointers from Allen and Josh Brown moving them 90-84 ahead with 80 seconds to go.
Newham responded with a 11-0 run, in a streak where Thunder were frustrated that Chavis did not get a foul called when he put a shot up.
Newham had possession with ten seconds to go and 95-92 ahead but Chavis stole the ball back and put up a three-point attempt, under pressure, however it came back off the backboard and Newham kept possession to see out the win.
Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth was frustrated with the defeat and said: “We’ve got to take our hats off to Newham.
“They started particularly well, while we were very slow off the blocks and arguably if we didn’t find ourselves in that big hole in the first instance, maybe later in the game we wouldn’t be in the same situation. We got ourselves back into the game and, yet again, situations and decisions have gone against us, which arguably could have turned the tide.
“When you put yourself into a situation where you can win a game against a team that’s bottom of the league or top of the league, you expect to be able to decide the outcome of the game, rather than having it decided for you.”
On having Rivers and Seduikis unavailable, along with Joe Carter and Alex Barbary still out injured, Hildreth said: “We said before the game that we don’t want to make excuses. With all due respect, we had the capabilities to win the game today with what we had but we didn’t.”
Thunder travel to Westminster on Saturday.