A clinical Worthing Thunder eased to a 74-55 win over Kent Crusaders at the Worthing Leisure Centre on Saturday night.

Thunder led from start-to-finish in a dominant display that saw their lead peak at 30 points. One positive for Coach D and his side was defence, which he highlighted as a positive after the game.

“It was a step in the right direction,” Coach D said. “Our help-side defence was brilliant when at times this season, it’s been a bit suspect and everyone contributed but saying that Kent were a depleted team, missing players and their head coach too so we had to stay professional and get the job done.”

Marquis Mathis led Thunder with a double-double of 20 points and 20 rebounds, which saw him claim the Barkers Tarring MVP award. Zaire Taylor added 15 points with Brendan Okoronkwo getting a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Tom Ward also got in on the scoring with 14 points for a Thunder team that were themselves without Jorge Ebanks and James Grinham.

“Happy with the win and happy that it was a total team performance,” said Mathis afterwards. “We were comfortable with every possession we had, we felt good about ourselves and we need one more win to stay at home for the playoffs, which we want because we love playing in front of our home fans.”

Micah Savery-Richards led Kent with a game-high 22 points.

Thunder got off to a solid start as an early three from Ward gave the hosts a 10-3 lead. Worthing’s patient defence led to easy scores at the other end as they built a sizable advantage. The visiting Crusaders threatened briefly but Worthing enjoyed a 24-14 cushion after the first quarter.

Worthing scored the final two buckets of the first quarter, and they carried on for a 13-0 burst, bridging to the second quarter to give the home side a 33-14 lead. A 7-0 run later on in the period, guided by Taylor handed Worthing a 46-22 lead, and Thunder settled for a 48-25 cushion at the half.

Mathis, who grabbed 11 rebounds in the first two quarters, got his double-double, two minutes into the third with a score inside, as Worthing’s lead grew to 30 points in a very one-sided period until Caleb Fuller took matters into his own hand to single-handedly instigate a 6-0 run for Kent, but Thunder still led 65-40 after three.

The Crusaders began to take advantage of missed Worthing opportunities to narrow the gap to 19 points. But Thunder, now regularly rotating the bench kept the visitors at bay, led by Mathis as the eased to the win, leaving them with just Manchester left with a win confirming home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.


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