Reigning champions prove too strong for Thunder

Worthing Thunder Basketball Club lost their opening EBL Division 1 game of the season at home to reigning champions Essex Leopards on Saturday evening.

Despite a strong start, Worthing were unable to maintain the pace as Leopards raced ahead in the second period. Thunder pushed hard but could not find a way back into the contest, even though they forced 19 turnovers from Leopards and scored 21 from those errors.

Hank Rivers led Thunder with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, supported by Bud Johnston’s 13 points.

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Thunder’s Dominic Baker said: “I thought we played a lot better than at their place, so that’s some progress.

“We started off brightly, moved the ball well and stuck with our offences and led at the end of the first. It’s always difficult to win or even be in a game when a team scores 60 plus points in the first half, so defensively we’ve got to step up individually and as a team.”

Full report as well as details from Sunday’s 77-74 win at Westminster in the National Cup, in this week’s paper.