Worthing Thunder are mad after Barking loss - then make Essex pay
What a difference a day makes. That's what Worthing Thunder's basketball were left to reflect on over the weekend as one poor performance was followed by one superb one.
Playing their first game away to Barking Academy London Lions, Thunder were lethargic and generally uncompetitive. On Sunday they had regrouped and were totally focussed against the Essex Rebels.
Apart from the first five minutes the Lions completely bossed the game on Saturday. From Thunder leading 13-4 inside five minutes to trailing 25-13 at the end of the quarter it was to prove a tough afternoon in East London.
If a 21-0 run was not enough the youthful Lions ran Thunder ragged for the rest of the game. Being behind 50-35 at the half and 71-51 three quarters of the way through, it was not going to be Thunder's day.
Reducing the lead towards the end was just small consolation for the team on an afternoon to forget. Eventually losing by 84-73 was certainly not the result they were anticipating.
Sunday arrived and it was a different Thunder team that took to the Durrington High School court for the visit of Essex Rebels.
Rebels, who had beaten Thunder by 25 points a couple of weeks earlier, were obviously thinking of a repeat. But they were to be disappointed as Thunder came out ready to put the day before behind them. The first eight points of the game all came from great finishes by Max Richardson as Thunder took charge.
Essex were not giving up, though, as they poured in five first-quarter treys and at the first break surprisingly led by one point at 23-22.
After the break Thunder, playing some great basketball, gradually began to ease away. It was however only a five-point lead at the halfway stage (45-40) as the visitors hit a further four treys from downtown to keep the game close. Again it was Max Richardson and the impressive Howard Crawford who kept the scoreboard moving - but a five-point lead was scant reward for their efforts.
The third period was to prove the period that broke the Essex team as a competitive force. Their treys were not dropping and Thunder's defence locking them down under the boards.. It was getting better for the Thunder and captain Zaire Taylor then found his range with four consecutive treys as the lead stretched to 65-56 at the final break!
The final period saw Thunder at their best as they dominated in every department. Richardson headed towards his second double of the weekend and Crawford hit a big 30 points and 11 rebounds to give the popular American his big double as well. Tom Ward became more of a scoring menace and the whole of the defence were superb. The final score of 87-72 was a fine turnaround from the previous day.
Thunder scorers (Saturday): Tom Ward 19 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals. Max Richardson 16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 3 blocks. Howard Crawford 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. Ishmael Fontaine 9 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 2 blocks. Zaire Taylor 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals. Josh Goddard 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block. Brandon Laryea 2 points, 1 steal, 1 block.
Scorers, Sunday - Howard Crawford 30 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, Max Richardson 20 points 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks, Tom Ward 17 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, Zaire Taylor 14 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists, 6 steals, Jack Sunderland 4 points, 3 rebounds 4 steals, Kieran Farrell 2 points.