Worthing Thunder produce Magic BBL Trophy giant-killing against Manchester on FA Cup third round weekend
Traditionally, giant-killing acts in the first week of January are confined to the FA Cup third round but this year Worthing Thunder got in on the act with victories against higher league teams in the BBL Trophy.
As invitees into a tournament predominantly for teams in the BBL, many might have expected results to pan out somewhat differently than they did in the first round ties.
First, on Saturday Solent Kestrels overturned London Lions 92 -82 and less than 24 hours later Thunder enacted their own giant-killing feat – figuratively and literally – by beating Manchester Giants on their own court 88-84.
The combined results sets up an intriguing home BBL quarter-final match for Thunder with Kestrels on 19 January (subject to confirmation) which is sure to be a sell-out encounter between two of the best teams in the National League.
While Thunder’s result looked to be quite close, the reality of it was they were always comfortably in command of the match, enjoying a double-digit lead for most of the game.
At one stage towards the end of the first quarter, Thunder were 18 ahead and again in the third period the lead was a comfortable 16 points.
With just under four minutes remaining, the visitors looked to be at ease with a 12-point advantage at (86-74).
But a 10-0 run for the home side saw them cut the deficit to just two points with a little more than 20 seconds left on the clock.
With Thunder in possession of the ball it was left for the Giants to foul the visitors in order to try to recover the ball.
But two free throws from AJ Basi in the dying seconds saw Thunder home to a memorable victory.
Once again it was the outside shooting from Thunder which caused most of the damage.
The visitors hit a very creditable 15 baskets at a scoring rate of 45 per cent and with Alex Owumi scoring six of from long range.
Cameron Hildreth also had an excellent game, scoring a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds) but this was a solid all-round team performance for the visitors with all five starters hitting double-digit scores.
Thunder are back in league action on Saturday as they travel to table-toppers Solent Kestrels (6pm).