Thunder roar in basketball’s battle of the universities

Our latest local basketball round-up features a win for University of Chichester Thunder but a loss for Bognor Pirates’ Sussex League outfit.

Uni of Chi Thunder 97 Uni of East London (NASSA) 85

Thunder inflicted a first defeat of the season on the University of East London at Worthing.

In a fast-paced first quarter, Thunder made the better start led by Sam Johnson and Ian Marshall, racing into a 7-0 start before the visitors got off the mark.

An energetic Pride Nyathi drove through the lane to make it 9-2 before NASSA went on an 11-0 run to close the gap, but Thunder had the lead 28-22 after the first thanks to a Johnson three on the buzzer.

A bucket from Ben Stanley kept the momentum going for the hosts with a short jumper in the second to make it 38-30, which was soon a 40-30 lead thanks to a lay-up from Nyathi which was called as a goaltend.

Another bucket from Johnson with time winding down at the half gave the University of Chichester Thunder a commanding 52-37 cushion at halfway.

Back-to-back buckets from Marshall and Ben Stanley improved the lead to 56-39, and another basket from Stanley gave Thunder a comfortable 64-45 lead halfway through the third.

Both teams struggled to score in the last few minutes, but University of Chichester Thunder maintained a comfortable 70-56 lead going into the final stanza.

More back-to-back buckets from Lloyd Hendon-John made Thunder’s lead 79-64.

And despite NASSA narrowing the gap to nine midway through the fourth, buckets from Johnson kept Thunder’s lead going and a dagger three from Johnson gave the hosts a 90-75 and prevented a comeback from the East London University side.

Top scorers were Okerearor with 34 points for NASSA, and Thunder’s Sam Johnson with 29 points.

Team secretary Sid Fletcher said: “It was a great team performance from the start. The victory was all the sweeter as our opponents were previously unbeaten league leaders, a number of players were missing and it was in front of a Worthing crowd. Great credit to the players.”

Crawley 97 Bognor Pirates 64

Sussex League Bognor Pirates’ second team travelled with just seven players to face a powerful Crawley team.

The game started at a fast pace and Luke Attfield and Andy Pleskys were scoring freely from three-point range for the Pirates in a high-scoring well-matched first quarter.

In the second Kev Wilson found good space inside, making his foul shots in effective style.

Crawley edged ahead before the break with three quick baskets and the half-time score was 48-38. Crawley punished the Pirates in the third period and Pirates’ scoring rate dropped, allowing Crawley to create a growing lead.

Good time-out motivation from coach Kev Robbins slowed the Crawley scoring rate with a change of defence which relaxed the team.

The Pirates playing relaxed and intelligent basketball with all players chipping in at both ends.

Pirates finished the stronger team with good momentum going into the last few games before the Christmas break, but Crawley held on to win.

PIRATES: Andy Pleskys 19, Luke Attfield 19, Kev Wilson 17, Will Wilson 7, Dave Morgan 3, James Parker 1, Calum Jackson.