The first half was very much a normal game of basketball with end to end scoring. The twist on this early action was how tough Derby were playing - focusing their game on Thunder's young star Cameron Hildreth.
It looked to be working as he left the court at the halfway break with no points to his name, looking thoroughly depressed. His teammates, however, had dug in with Max Richardson and Howard Crawford leading the way to keeping the tie level at the break.
The score of 40-40 emphasised that it was Derby's potent attack against Thunder#s composed defence which led to the stalemate.
The third period started badly for Thunder as Derby continued to enjoy the attacking game an had an early lead lengthened to 11 points.
Thunder then played their joker in this enthralling game - Hildreth was brought back into the game with just under six minutes left in the quarter and with a mix of great defence and inspired forward play clawed the game back to parity.
Leading by a single digit at the final break had seemed unlikely but Thunder were up and running again.
The final period saw Thunder at their best in both attack and defence. With Derby resorting to strong arm tactics (mainly against Hildreth) Thunder went to the line at regular intervals. Then the defence took hold and in the last four minutes and 40 seconds held the previously rampant Derby forwards scoreless.
A turnaround of 19 points was complete as Thunder ran out 81-73 winners.
An all round team performance saw great performances from Max Richardson, Howard Crawford, Hildreth, Ish Fontaine and Tom Ward.
A special mention must go to Jack Sunderland who, despite not being a regular starter, showed up with his energy throughout his time on court. Guided by the experienced Zaire Taylor, this was a Thunder display to be proud of.
Next up is a league game away at Hemel Storm on Saturday (Jan 16), 7pm start.
Scorers (v Derby) - Max Richardson 23 points/11 rebounds; Howard Crawford 17 points/9 rebounds/4 blocks; Cameron Hildreth 14 points/7 rebounds/3 assists/ 3steals; Tom Ward 11 points/3 rebounds/3 assists/1 steal; Ishmael Fontaine 5 points/2 rebounds; Jack Sunderland 4 points/4 rebounds/1 assist/1 steal; Zaire Taylor 3 points/3 rebounds/4 assists/2 blocks; Dom Ives 2 points/2 rebounds/2 steals Josh Goddard 2 points.