University of Chichester Thunder knew wins over Reading Uninversity Rocks and Taunton Tigers could take them close to the England Basketball division four south west title. Could they take spoils in both games?
Reading Uni Rocket 54 Uni of Chichester Thunder 82
After a two-week break Thunder were back in action against Reading – looking for revenge for a defeat suffered earlier in the season.
Thunder started with a strong starting five: Thompson, Chiwuzie, Johnston, Cahill and Johnson.
The opening quarter saw Thunder’s defence dominate, restricting Reading to ten points, while the offence operated well – contributing to a ten-point lead.
Nyathi’s introduction in the second upped the intensity defensively for Thunder as again Reading struggled to spark offensively.
Thunder scored regularly and ended the half with a 24-point lead.
The third stanza was closer, but unlike in the first fixture between the teams, Thunder stayed focused and maintained their lead as Reading started to impose their offence.
With a 25-point lead, Thunder saw out the match to avenge that defeat.
Coach Davies said: “It was a great result, especially after our last meeting with Reading.
THUNDER: Cahill, Godliman, Nyathi, Jones, Thompson, Hield, Johnson, Johnston, Chiwuzie, Coulter.
Uni of Chichester Thunder 77 Taunton Tigers 80
With just four teams left in the division following the withdrawal of six others, Thunder went into this game knowing they needed two home victories for the title.
This was the second fixture played at Worthing Leisure Centre as part of the nursery agreement with Worthing Thunder and Chichester started well, Johnston and Nyathi impressing with a pair of threes.
Taunton responded well, with Rickwood’s six points and Turner’s two threes at the end of the quarter allowing Taunton to steal a 22-20 lead.
The second stanza saw Thunder’s big men struggling with the officials as Thompson and Cahill found themselves in foul trouble. Hield created an impact defensively and offensively for Thunder, while Johnston’s consistent scoring saw a 42-40 lead by half-time.
The third quarter belonged to Thunder as Mitchell and Johnston scored threes to stretch the lead to seven points, and Chiwuzie contributed at both ends, including a spectacular block late in the third. Thunder took a six-point advantage into the final stanza.
A Nyathi three at the beginning of the final quarter gave Thunder a nine-point lead but a Turner three reduced the deficit.
Tough defence from Taunton prevented Mitchell and Johnston from killing the game off, and Taunton made a game-changing seven-point run in the last two minutes to establish a three-point lead.
Thunder’s late possession was expertly repelled as Johnston’s long-range three was within inches of putting the game into over-time.
Taunton’s bench erupted at the sound of the horn as victory secured the title.
Chichester team secretary Sid Fletcher said: “What a game to decide the title. We know a win over Reading at home will secure second place and a chance for promotion.”
THUNDER: Cahill, Godliman, Nyathi, Jones, Thompson, Hield, Johnson, Johnston, Chiwuzie, Mitchell.