Worthing Thunder followed on from their National Trophy glory with a crucial double header win over the weekend.
Thunder defeated fellow title-chasers Team Solent Kestrels by a single point (73-72) on Saturday, then recorded a more comfortable 86-70 triumph over Barking Abbey Crusaders less than 24 hours later.
Those victories have moved them level on points with National League Division 1 leaders Team Solent to give their title aspirations a huge boost.
Following on from the National Trophy win last Sunday, Thunder welcomed Team Solent Kestrels for a much-anticipated league encounter.
It was the teams occupying the top two places in the division coming together and a large, enthusiastic crowd were in town to see who would come out on top.
This top-of-the table showdown did not fail to disappoint, with Worthing coming out winners by just one point.
Thunder trailed by 11 points in the early minutes but consecutive three-pointers from Zaire Taylor and Tom Ward pulled the score back to keep the hosts in touch.
Solent pulled away again to lead again by nine but a quick seven points Taylor in the last minute saw Thunder pull the deficit back to just two points at the first break (22-24).
A further four points early in the second quarter saw Worthing take back the lead before the game saw both teams trading baskets for the majority of the period. Thunder once again trailed by five points as the halfway stage approached. The third quarter continued with neither team able to gain any meaningful advantage but it was Thunder who shaded the period by a single point to lead by 60-56 as the final break was reached.
The final period was a tough one for Thunder as Solent gave everything. Great defending by Brendan Okoronkwo, Taylor and Alex Owumi kept Thunder just ahead.
However it was the scoring once again of Jorge Ebanks, who made all 13 of Thunder’s points in the last quarter, keeping the in touch.
And a match-winning steal by Okoronkwo ensured Thunder won it to go back to the summit.
Ebanks was voted MVP, his fourth award in a row, leading the scorers with 24 points.
Things were more straightforward for Thunder after the pulsating clash with Team Solent.
Making the trip to Barking Abbey, they recorded an 86-70 win.
This time Alex Owumi lead the scoring for Worthing with 26 points while Taylor followed closely behind with 22 points.
Thunder had their noses ahead in each quarter and really stepped up in the final stages.
Owumi was a strong presence as he controlled and commanded the floor for Thunder and it looked at times as though Thunder could score at will. Barking rallied late on but at the end it was a comfortable win.
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