Worthing Thunder hold off late Flyers comeback to pick up the win
Worthing Thunder got their home campaign off to a winning start as they defeated the Bristol Academy Flyers 81-77 in the EBL Trophy at the Worthing Leisure Centre.
Thunder faced fellow Division One opposition for the first time this season tonight and they can be proud of a victory against the injury-hit league champions. But after racing to a double-digit lead that went as high as 18 points, the hosts nearly blew it at the end as Bristol made their move, but it wasn’t to be.
Courtney Small led all scorers for Thunder with 25 points, 13 of them coming in a spectacular first period where Worthing ran riot. The American duo of Chris Talley and Marcus Tullis weighed in with 16 and 14 points respectively, while Francesco Amato recorded a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Bristol Academy Flyers were led by Tyrone Treasure, who hit 22 points, supported by American Davis Bowne, who got 19 points and added 10 rebounds to his stat-line. The away side were hampered with injuries to Greg Streete (hamstring) and Doug McLaughlin-Williams (ankle).
The early exchanges were dominated by the home side, led by Courtney Small raced into a 20-3 lead which stunned the visitors. Bristol clawed their way back to make the score a little respectable, but Thunder were rampant as they led 27-14 after the first quarter.
At that point, Flyers could not find their way back into the contest, they narrowed the gap slightly, but the home side minus Small for the second quarter were firmly in control at half-time 49-38.
Thunder had their lead pegged back to single digits mid-way through the third, as Bristol began getting a second wind, but their turnover count was rising, as the visitors piled up 24 turnovers overall, Worthing got their double-digit lead back, leading 64-51 heading to the final ten minutes.
The hosts led by as 13 heading to the final five minutes when they showed fatigue and carelessness. Bristol, led by Treasure’s 10 points in the final quarter nearly pipped Thunder to the post at the death, but it wasn’t to be.