Worthing Thunder’s juniors were heavily involved in the National League Final Fours at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport this past weekend.
The U18s won the National title for the first time ever, with a dramatic 83-81 victory over the Cheshire Jets. Kyifer Del Mundo won MVP honours, as his three-point play with seconds remaining gave Thunder victory. Del Mundo finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
After falling behind at the end of the first period, it was the outside shooting touch of Luke Nelson and Julian Stanley that brought Thunder back into contention and ably supported by Joe Carter inside, Thunder held an eight-point lead at the half (44-36).
Cheshire fought back in the third, thanks to Greg Krippa, who led all scorers with 20 points. Worthing went into the final stanza trailing by one (63-62). Both teams traded buckets in the fourth, setting the scene for a grandstand finish.
Luke Nelson led Thunder’s scoring with 18 points, Joe Carter added 14. England U18 international Jack Sunderland had earlier hit 31 points, as Thunder had to come from behind in their semi-final to beat the Leicester Warriors 100-90, setting up the clash with the Jets, who had upset the heavily fancied Manchester Magic in their semi.
The U16s put in a great effort, but unfortunately came up short in their semi-final, losing to the eventual winners Manchester Magic 106-86. The boys lost the 3rd/4th place game against Solent Kestrels 83-48.