BASKETBALL: Thunder lose to Sheffield and Guildford

A CROWD of 750 evoked bygone BBL days at the Thunderdome on Saturday.

It was Thunder's largest gate of the season but they suffered their second defeat of the weekend and slipped out of the play-off places.

While Guildford sit sixth on their way up towards the leaders, this defeat and the one on Friday at Sheffield knocked Thunder two places down from seventh spot and out of the play-off berths again. To come this Saturday are Leicester Riders '“ whom Thunder pipped away by one point.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Riders and Guildford both floored the leaders Scottish Rocks over the weekend, but Riders should find a Worthing crowd getting the hang of serious vocal support after seeing Guildford supporters show the way.

Thunder's braid-haired and head-banded shooting-guard or forward, Colby Bargeman, returned after injury for these back-to-back games. He played for 32 minutes at Sheffield and connected with two of his four three-pointers though only three of his 10 two-pointers. But against Heat, in a first half that ended 49-49, he sank two of three at both three-point value and two.

Thunder coach Gary "Chicken" Smith rested Bargeman's back for six minutes in the third quarter but inevitably it stiffened. He sat down only seconds before the end of the decisive 14-2 run that took Guildford into a 65-54 lead. After his return, Bargeman missed both two-pointers he took, but hit two of his three trebles. However, by then it was all over. Heat had stoked that earlier run into an inferno and took that third quarter 35-12.

Sheffield had effectively won on Friday with a 14-2 run straddling the third and fourth quarters. But Guildford coach Paul James' interval lecture had sent his Heat team out breathing flames. Smith also rested his playmaker and leading scorer, Ryan Patton, for three minutes of the third quarter.

That period read three Guildford three-pointers to none by Thunder; four more rebounds than Thunder; eight second-chance points to Thunder's three; five turnovers producing nine extra points; seven bench points to Thunder's none; 15 defensive stops to Thunder's seven; they out-stole Thunder by one and out-assisted them by two.

And they held Janis Ivanovskis and Jon Woods to four points apiece in their combined 20 minutes on court. Patton scored only two in his seven.

Ivanovskis said: "We are trying to regroup at half-time after giving ourselves chances to win the games but we're coming out flat and the opposition are making a run on us. We must not let ourselves get frustrated when things go against us. We have to be smart, have strong discipline, run our plays, pull the score back one offence at a time, play defence and the offence will come.

"The teams know more about each other and we are all getting hungry to reach the play-offs. Every match matters now and it's going to get much harder. Teams know we have two or three players they have to stop.

"People didn't know very much about me in the first part of the season but now they are paying me extra attention. They are playing against me as a team. They are double- and triple-teaming me to make it difficult and keep me off the glass (backboard] - and we have to find a way around it. "

By the end, Guildford had created 51 two-point shots from the field to Thunder's 39. Worthing took eight more threes - although Worthing were not significantly out-rebounded, and they had the better assists and steals performance. Dan Midgley had made all three trebles he took and in the last minute, bench guard Ian Berry showed his three-point shooting accuracy.

THUNDER 91: Patton 25, Ivanovskis 18, Bargeman 16, Midgley 11, Woods 11, Wardrope 5, Berry 3, Hildreth 2, Burns 0, Brame 0. GUILDFORD: Howell 28, Harrison 23, Martin 16, Williams 14, Metcalfe 9, Sandell 3, Ociepa 2.

SHEFFIELD: Sanders 21, Brown 18, Whyte 16, Lawson 15, Lyons 14, Rivers 11. THUNDER: Patton 27, Wardrope 16, Woods 15, Bargeman 12, Ivanovskis 9, Berry 2, Hildreth 0, Brame 0, Midgley 0. DNP: Burns.

-------------------------------------

Click here to go back to Worthing sport.

Click here to return to Gazette sport.

Click here to go back to Shoreham sport.

Where are you? Add your pin to the Herald's international readers' map by clicking here.

Email the Herald: [email protected]