Poor second half is costly for Thunder

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club suffered a fourth successive league defeat when they lost away to Reading Rockets on Saturday.

Action from Thunder against Manchester Magic earlier in the month.
Action from Thunder against Manchester Magic earlier in the month.

Following a positive first half showing, Thunder were held to just five points in the first three minutes of the second half, which allowed Reading to storm into a double digit lead and, from there, they never looked back.

Reading scored 23 points from 14 Thunder turnovers and they out-rebounded the south-coast side 36-22.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Milton Chavis led Thunder with 32 points, while Hank Rivers added 18 points to go with ten rebounds. Brendan Okoronkwo got 12 points but his performance was hampered by foul trouble.

Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth said: “We just went away from our defensive intensity in the second half, our rotations were slow and we just looked lost, it’s horrible to say it.

“The biggest thing, though, and I said this to the guys at half-time, was that we were not rebounding the ball. And that didn’t continue, we had nine total rebounds at half-time and we finished by losing 36-22. We won’t win games if we do that, so a lot of work is needed if we are to get on winning terms.”

Thunder started the game with an 8-0 run, highlighted by two dunks in transition by Chavis, but Thunder became culprits of rushed possessions and they allowed Reading back into the game. The hosts went on a 7-0 run near the end of the first quarter to take a 15-13 lead. Thunder regrouped and, after the first ten minutes, the game was tied at 20-20.

A block from Chavis on Dan Carter resulted in the American going coast-to-coast for the score, but Reading followed with an 11-0 run that spanned 1min 12sec to take a 31-22 lead and force coach Hildreth’s hand as he called a time-out.

Back-to-back buckets from Chavis narrowed the gap after the time-out, and as the second period went on, Worthing took the lead at 46-45 thanks to a bucket in transition from Josh Brown. Reading’s Matt Davis hit a three on the buzzer to give the hosts a 48-46 half-time lead.

Despite a positive showing for Thunder, Reading came out of the blocks stronger and they held Worthing to just one field goal in the first three minutes. Reading built up a 69-53 lead, thanks to an 8-0 run and, despite five points in the last 30 seconds from Chavis, Thunder trailed 73-62 after three quarters.

Any hopes of a Thunder comeback in the fourth were dashed quickly when a bucket from Adria Baiget Marco gave Reading a 84-64 lead and it was Marco who brought 100 points up from the foul line to end the game.

Worthing travel to Team Northumbria on Saturday (6pm), before they are away to Tees Valley Mohawks on Sunday (1.30pm).