A strong fight back wasn’t enough to counteract a poor start to the game as the Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods went down 74-84 at home to Worthing Thunder.
After a long stretch of road games, the Hoods were eager to get back home in front of their Merry Men, but were faced with the daunting prospect of last years Play-off Cahmpions and current 2nd place team, Worthing Thunder with one of the most effective players of Division 1 in Zaire Taylor.
It was 3 minutes before Hoods got on the board through Slavik but at the midway point, the game was close before Thunder went on an 8-0 run to stamp their authority on the game and put the Hoods on the back foot with the score at 6-20.
A 9-2 run by Hoods, led by Welle bought the Hoods right back into the game at 15-22 but the impressive and hot shooting Owumi hit back-to-back 3s to steady the visitors. James gave some much needed scoring off the bench to back up Welle and Watts and by halftime, Hoods were in a decent position, trailing 28-39.
The third started with a Powell 3 and another Welle 2, but again Owumi answered with a 3 of his own. As the quarter went on, Taylor started to find some rhythm and Thunder always found a way to stop the Hoods momentum at key times. At the end of the third, Hoods had it all to do, 44-62.
The teams traded baskets for the majority of the 4th. A 14-0 run by Hoods, led by Watts, midway through the quarter got the gap down to 8 but that was a close as it got as Thunder were able to close the game out from the free throw line.
Coach Westley was frustrated but full of praise for his opposition, “we were great in phases and the ability to come back twice to get us back into the game shows what we are capable of at this level. Cole (Welle) and Tin (Watts) were great as usual and James was great off the bench. Credit to Zaire Taylor for hitting some really tough shots and Owumi for shooting the lights out! There are positives to take from the loss, but we need to be more consistent, myself included, if we are going to turn these tight losses into wins.”
Welle – 24pts – 17rbds
Watts – 22pts – 2rbds – 1ass
James – 10pts – 4rbds
Slavik – 8pts – 5rbds
Wright – 4pts – 1rbd – 2ass
Powell – 3pts – 5rbds – 1ass – 1stl
Nelson – 2pts
Mitchell – 1pt – 2rbds – 7ass – 1stl