Worthing Thunder returned to winning ways with a thrilling and thoroughly entertaining, narrow win over visitors Derby Trailblazers on Saturday at Worthing Leisure Centre.
Trailing by four points with just 58.5 seconds on the clock, Barkers Man-of-the Match Cameron Hildreth hit a valuable three pointer from the corner of the court to leave Thunder trailing by just one point. Blazers next possession ended in a turn-over allowing Thunder with just 28 seconds to play to mount one last meaningful attack.
Kayne King, playing against his former club, teed up Alex Owumi to hit yet another basket from beyond the arc to put Thunder ahead by two in front of a wildly ecstatic home crowd.
In the visitors’ last possession Derby could not get a good look at the basket and when King tipped a defensive rebound to Tom Ward following a missed shot from the Blazers the game was effectively over.
All that was left was for the visitors to foul Thunder in an effort to recover the ball and two late free throws on the buzzer for Thunder gave them a victory which looked just a little more comfortable than it actually was.
One could not have imagined half way through the second quarter with Thunder leading by 20 points (38-18) that the game was not already over. However a spirited come-back be Derby in the remainder of the second period and at the start of third quarter saw Derby recover to take a 10 point advantage at 45-48 in this see-saw match.
The damage was done for the home side after the teams returned to court following the half-time break when the visitors stepped up their defensive intensity.
Thunder were only able to score two single points - both from the free throw line - in the first seven minutes of the quarter. However the home team were soon back on track and the experienced heads of Zaire Taylor and Alex Owumi encouraged by the fantastic atmosphere generated by the home support saw Thunder ease their way back into the game before the final climax unfolded.
Although Taylor and Owumi hit double-doubles (each pulling down 10 rebounds to accompany their points haul), Tom Ward and Cameron Hildreth both had impressive games and contributed significantly to Thunder’s victory.
Top scorers for Thunder : Zaire Taylor (21 points); Alex Owumi (20 points); Cameron Hildreth (19 points); Tom Ward (15 points); Kayne King (4 points); Ishmael Fontaine (2 points). Following the next three matches away, Thunder are next in action at home against Ipswich Tomcats in the National Cup on Sunday 3 November tip-off 5pm.