Worthing Thunder strengthened their National Basketball League, Division 1 Playoff push with an impressive 94-86 victory over Hemel Storm at Sportspace on Saturday night.
With each game being treated as a post-season clash, Thunder demonstrated what credentials they have with an all-round team effort. Highlighted with numerous double-digit leads and excellent responses following Storm’s runs to get back into the contest.
And Hemel certainly did threaten, trailing by as many as 15 at one point, the hosts narrowed the gap to 78-77 with two minutes left thanks to a three from Darren Best. But Worthing answered the challenge and the game was put to bed with a dagger triple from Tomas Seduikis with 42.2 seconds left to Thunder an 89-81 lead.
Along with Seduikis’ key showing with 16 points, Milton Chavis led the victors with 25 points and 14 rebounds and Hank Rivers added his usual double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds to the mix, which left coach Daniel Hildreth a happy man.
“Pleased with this win tonight at a venue that we have struggled to pick up results in previous seasons,” Hildreth said. “We’ve spoken about every game being treated as a Playoff game and we put in a performance tonight worthy of beating anyone in this league and it goes to show what we are capable of.
“We had a double-digit lead and while we let that lead slip, we didn’t drop our heads and concede, we hit back and everyone on the court stepped up. I was really happy with the way we responded in the fourth when the momentum was with Hemel, and we closed out the game, and it now sets us up for next week against Bradford.”
Bode Adeluola led all scorers with 32 points for Hemel.
Chavis and Rivers got Thunder off to a good start with buckets inside, and as the tempo of the contest quickened, Worthing’s execution got better offensively and defensively, they held Hemel to limited second chance opportunities.
As the first quarter ticked down, a 6-0 run, inspired by Chavis gave the visitors the advantage as the buzzer sounded, leaving Worthing with a 26-19 lead.
And the second quarter started in exactly the same vein as the end of the first as Selby Hind-Wills gave Thunder its first double-digit lead of the game, as his aggressive play inside was a highlight of a solid half of basketball.
Hemel, through Adeluola though responded and they would narrow the gap to nine points at various stages of the second as they slowed the pace of the game down to suit them.
Thunder though held on to their lead at the interval, as the returning Joe Carter’s off-balance three-pointer stuck to the side of the rim as the buzzer sounded, but Worthing led 51-43.
The third quarter was sluggish as both teams failed find any sort of rhythm that they established so easily in the first half of play. Thunder, thanks to a three-point play from Chavis handed them a 63-55 lead but thanks to six straight points from Best as the third quarter buzzer sounded, Worthing’s cushion was reduced to 67-61.
Hemel by this point had the momentum, Worthing were missing shots, while the hosts were aggressive and scoring comfortably. Following a timeout from Hildreth, the visitors hit back again and this time, despite holding a one-point late on found enough to see the game out and record a vital victory.