It’s been a good couple of weeks for our two top local basketball teams, University of Chichester Thunder and Bognor Pirates.
University of Chichester Thunder 83 Team Gloster Jets 79
England division four south west
Thunder welcomed Gloster Jets to the Bishop Otter Campus off the back of two away defeats to top of the table contenders Reading and Taunton – and ran out narrow winners.
Led by Johnston, Thunder came out with purpose and surged into a 14-5 lead before Jets called a time out. The opening stanza ended with Thunder leading by a deserved six points.
An opening three-pointer from Nyathi and consistent scoring from Johnston kept Chichester ahead before the Jets started to find their feet, Morris and Prewitt providing their scoring threat.
Late in the second quarter, a big three from Prewitt bought the deficit down to one point before Johnston and Chiwuzie restored the Thunder lead to ten at half-time.
The third quarter was closerr with baskets being traded before Jets player Colley, just 16 years of age, started to make his mark.
Two big three-pointers, incisive passing and excellent ball protection saw him take the game to Thunder, who took a nervy lead into the final stanza.
Good work from Cahill and Johnston saw Thunder regain the momentum, but Colley nailed another series of three-pointers to keep themselves in it.
Deep in the fourth, the Jets took a deserved lead, Colley again making two clutch free throws for a three-point lead.
But Johnston brought the ball up for one last possession and drained a three-pointer to tie the game with 2.5 seconds remaining and for the second time this season Thunder went to overtime.
Jets player Fawl made an opening three-pointer in overtime and baskets were traded until nine points from Johnston and an inspirational chase from 6ft 10in tall Chiwuzie from half court and defensive clear-out on a certain lay-up swung the momentum back to Thunder, who grabbed victory by four points.
Team secretary Sid Fletcher said: “Hopefully this win will restore our team’s confidence after some narrow defeats. It was particularly pleasing to see last season’s character and fight returning.”
Another positive was the 30-plus youngsters from the Portsmouth FC Respect programme who came to watch as part of their basketball coaching under coach Emmanuel Davies.
THUNDER: Chiwuzie, Johnston, Cahill, Nyathi, Jones. Fazackerley, Godliman, Johnson, Coulter.
Bognor Pirates 72 Wellingboro Phoenix 64
Pirates remain unbeaten in 2011 after an eight-point triumph at home to Phoenix.
They signalled their intent from the start moving the ball well on offence and driving to the hoop to grab baskets. They also worked hard to fast break but Wellingborough did some fast breaking of their own.
The first quarter ended with the Pirates trailing 26-20.
Dave Turner started hitting some big threes, drawing the defence out creating more gaps for the Pirates to exploit. Defensively, Bognor switched to a zone, forcing Wellingborough to shoot from outside.
Bognor won this quarter but were 43-40 behind at halfway.
The Pirates increased their defensive intensity and Wellingborough missed shots.
Matt Robbins set up offences and drove to the hoop himself. Bognor regained the lead, which was 53-50 with one quarter to go.
Bognor switched back to man-to-man defence and it could be seen the team pride themselves on their defence as Wellingborough continued to struggle to find their offensive form.
Offensively Joe Mclaren and Dave Turner shone.
Wellingborough pressed the Pirates but they moved the ball well and let the final quarter run out by moving the ball all over the court.
PIRATES: D Turner 31, J Mclaren 16, R Lowe 10, M Robbins 9, L Barnes 6, S Clive, S Hardyman, C Watson.
Bexhill Giants 67 Bognor Pirates II 68
The Pirates started slowly and the Giants took an early lead. But the Pirates battled away and with Dave Turner and Joe Mclaren grabbing baskets, they got themselves back in the game, ending the first quarter 13-13.
The second quarter saw the scores remain close but the Pirates got a couple of steals and converted these into points for a 37-30 lead at halfway.
Bognor fell into their habit of struggling in the third quarter. The Pirates struggled to score on offence and let their defensive intensity drop, which Bexhill to take a 50-47 lead.
The Pirates knew they would need to step it up – and did. They regained their defensive intensity, causing the Giants to make mistakes. The Pirates scored three big three-pointers and began to move to ball well.
It went to the last few seconds and with the Pirates up by three points the Giants pushed hard and scored a lay-up.
That reduced the lead to one – but it was enough.
PIRATES: J Mclaren 27, D Turner 18, L Barnes 15, M Wakeling 6, G Pridie 2, S Hardyman, J Parker,