Thunder slump to heaviest defeat of season at Sheffield

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club slumped to their third and heaviest defeat of the season in the BBL on Friday as they crashed 107-84 at unbeaten Sheffield Sharks.

Ex-Thunder star Ryan Patton was on hand to haunt his old club as he led the scoring with 22 points, while despite matching this, Thunder’s John Nottley’s tally wasn’t enough to drive Thunder to that elusive first BBL win of the season.

The game was delayed for 40 minutes as the Thunder players were stuck in traffic, and when they did arrive were without assistant coach Alan Sweetman-Hicks who was further delayed, while head coach Gary Smith was unable to travel due to work commitments.

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But despite the circumstances, Smith believes their downfall was in playing to Sharks’ game.

He said: “When what happens did it is always going to be a tough game, but saying that after speaking to the guys we did exactly what I didn’t want to happen.

“We played into their tempo and against a team like that you can’t go into that mode. We got caught up in it and weren’t slowing it down or running our plays, incorporate that with not defending as well as we can and you come away with over a 20-point loss.

“Saying that, we scored 80 points which is a good score, but let them score 100 which is a bad thing but they are a top team.

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“Ryan Patton gave a master class, he’s a top player and in front of his home crowd, much as he did for us you expect a master class show.

“They have some solid players that play their roles and compete well, but we need to move on and put the negatives right.”

On Friday, Thunder’s popular point guard Sherrad Prezzie-Blue, who rejoined the club last week, was unavailable as his work permit and visa was not issued in time, but in a fairly even start to the match both sides traded baskets.

Sharks pulled into the early lead. Thunder then got themselves back to within three points of their opponents before Sharks immediately hit back to finish the opening period 35-24 in front.

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In the second quarter, Sharks took control with a strong offensive and defensive display as they pulled into a 55-30 lead. But a late cameo from Thunder saw them go in 55-36 down at half-time.

In the second half, the Sharks continued to extend their lead thanks to a 15-4 burst, including nine points from Mike Tuck starred for Sharks in the third quarter, but Thunder’s Marlin Capers and Adam Williams hit two three-pointers each, to finish the quarter at 78-60.

Sharks continued to show their offensive style in the final period as they extended into the biggest lead of the match, 29 points ahead at 97-68. Despite Thunder’s commitment to battle on Sharks ran out comfortable winners.

Mansour Mbye and Adam Williams led the rest of Thunder’s scorers with 18 points each.

n Thunder’s scheduled away trip to Leicester Riders on Saturday, November 6, has best postponed due to their hosts facing Guildford Heat in the BBL Trophy semi-final second leg.