Thunder win thriller to reach semi-finals

WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club reached the semi-finals of the National Cup on Sunday evening with a thrilling 92-83 over-time win at Bradford Dragons.

Milton Chavis
Milton Chavis

Thunder will now travel to Reading Rockets in the last four on December 7, with Manchester Magic hosting London Lituanica in the other semi-final.

Worthing coach Daniel Hildreth, whose side are also in the quarter-finals of the National Trophy, says a cup final is a goal of the club this season: “We are taking each game as a one-off and are not concerned with future opponents or competitions.

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“But it has also been a goal of ours to make the final of a cup and we are now one stage closer. Last year, we were knocked out in the semi-finals of the National Trophy by Manchester in over-time, in a heart-breaking last second defeat. I know how hard we will prepare to make sure we get one stage further this year.

“Reading is one of the hardest places in the league to win and we have a rich history of rivalry in finals, which I’m sure will bring out the best in both teams.”

The teams have met once already this season, when Reading won 80-74 after over-time in the National Trophy pool stages. Thunder travel to Reading in the league on Saturday and Hildreth said: “Despite playing a poor game against Reading in the Trophy, we still took the game into over-time and, on that occasion, we came up short.

“We have to play them this weekend in the league and, despite numerous injuries, they always manage to find a way to compete. No doubt this game will be considered a warm-up to some but to us it’s another one-off must-win game in order to make our way up the league table.”

Thunder had lost 102-100 to Kent Crusaders in the league on Saturday and Hildreth felt that defeat made Sunday’s win more spectacular.

He said: “It was a roller coaster of emotions this weekend with a heart-breaking league loss to Kent and an over-time win away in Bradford the next day. The manner in which we won the game was spectacular, the character shown by the guys and the determination to win against all odds was a credit to the club.”