WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club’s under-14 team are national champions after they defeated London Greenhouse Pioneers 69-67 in the final at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, Thunder had defeated Manchester Magic 89-75 to reach the final.
They became national champions after Cameron Hildreth kept his cool to sink a pair of vital free throws with 18 seconds remaining that gave Thunder a 69-65 cushion, which they did not relinquish.
It was a team effort throughout the day by Mark Richards’ side, and the stellar efforts gave them all their deserved rewards.
Colin Luzinda led Thunder with 19 points and 14 rebounds, with support from Hosana Kitenge’s 17 points and 18 rebounds.
Raymond Jonas added 15 points and 12 rebounds for Worthing as they dominated the rebounding statistic 60-39.
Joshua Cyrus led London with 16 points.
Thunder got off to a flying start, as Kitenge handed them their first double-digit lead with three minutes left at 16-6, and Thunder led 20-9 at the end of the first quarter.
London got back into the contest gradually and narrowed the gap to 38-36 with 5-21 left in the third quarter.
However, Thunder kept their composure and were seemingly unfazed by the occasion. They maintained a six-point lead and, despite the Pioneers’ best efforts, Worthing were not to be denied their moment.
Click on the video above to watch Cameron Hildreth keep his cool to sink a pair of vital free throws, before the celebrations can begin a few seconds later.