Worthing Thunder storm to double: Leicester and Bristol are defeated

Ishmael Fontaine is in flying form / Picture: Kyle HemsleyIshmael Fontaine is in flying form / Picture: Kyle Hemsley
Ishmael Fontaine is in flying form / Picture: Kyle Hemsley
Worthing Thunder enjoyed a double-win weekend.

Thunder were late arriving in Leicester for their match-up with the league’s basement team and the first two periods were close as Leicester’s Americans showed their class.

Thunder trailed by three (22-19) and two ( 45-43 ) at the first two breaks.

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With Thunder’s Americans failing to put any points on the board it was left for Zaire Taylor (four treys) and Hafeez Abdul to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

The irrepressible Tom Ward was as mobile as ever but with the new Leicester players hitting 39 points between them it was a great effort by the Thunder to stay close.

After half-time Thunder came out looking like a new team. Howard Crawford started scoring and dominating the defensive boards and with Abdul heading towards his usual double/double it became more difficult for the home side to score.

At the third break Thunder held a single digit lead but as the game progressed they began to take control.

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Ward was outstanding and became the second Thunder player to get the magic double/double finishing with 11 big boards to go with 12 hard earned points.

It ended in an 88-79 victory for Thunder.

On Sunday Thunder hosted division two side Bristol Hurricanes in the National Cup third round in front of a large enthusiastic crowd.

Thunder started strongly with Howard Crawford scoring well and Ishmael Fontaine hitting two long treys. A 28-21 lead as Thunder’s at the end of the first quarter.

The Hurricanes hit back and the lead changed six times in the second period.

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Scores from Hafeez Abdul, Jorge Ebanks and a third three from Fontaine kept Thunder in touch and Jorge Ebanks gave them a 51-50 lead at halfway.

Thunder upped the ante as 24 points hit the net to extend the lead to 11 at the final break.

Hitting the first 8 points of the period Abdul started strongly and with Ward finding his range it was beginning to get away from the visitors.

A strong game American De Vaughn Rucker kept the West country side in touch at 74-63.

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The final quarter saw Thunder stretch the lead to 22 points as a cameo performance by Kevin Moyo and consistent play by Abdul, Crawford, Ebanks, Ward and Fontaine helped.

Even without Jerrad Dixon and Jack Sunderland, Thunder looked a good side and they won 94-74.

Thunder travel to to take on Solent Kestrels on Saturday (6pm). Tickets are limited.

Thunder are next at home on Saturday, November 6 v Derby Trailblazers ( 7.30 pm) and Sunday 7 v London Lions (5pm) both in the league.

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* For the third season running, Worthing Thunder’s men’s team are wearing pink throughout October to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Director Sara Jenner said: “We feel this is really important as it affects so many families.

“Some of our players have had to deal with loss of family members or with people undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

“On November 7 the kit will be auctioned after our home game against London Lions and proceeds donated to cancer research.

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“We will be holding a raffle, £5 per ticket, with prizes donations from local businesses.”

Also up for grabs are free tickets to Thunder games and a place at a three-day basketball camp.

Jenner added: “Worthing Thunder would like to thank businesses for their support and donations. Tickets for the game can be purchased via our website.”