WORTHING Thunder Basketball Club closed the year with a loss away to Derby Trailblazers in National League Division 1 on Saturday.
Leading for the majority of the contest, Worthing were caught by Derby in the final minutes before they took the lead once more in the final 15 seconds.
Thunder coach Daniel Hildreth called a time-out to ensure that his side had the final possession but on the final play, Tom Ward’s lay-up was no good and Trailblazers snatched the win.
The loss drops Worthing to a 3-7 record, while Derby move to 8-1.
Hildreth said: “We can’t help feel that another one got away.
“In an intensely exciting game throughout, we simply gave up too many second chance points. Ironically, the play that sealed the game was for this very reason.
“We go into the Christmas break for a well-needed rest and a chance to iron out some of the issues we have in order to prepare for a quarter-final in the Trophy, a National Cup final and 14 more league games.
“There’s a lot more basketball to be played and we will do all we can to get better.”
Despite missing the chance to take the game to over-time, Ward led all scorers for Thunder with 29 points. James Cambronne got in on the act with 19 points and Brendan Okoronkwo added 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists. David Watts paced Derby’s attack with 24 points.
For the first three quarters, Worthing had the advantage. They led 25-21 after the first quarter, before enjoying a 51-41 cushion at half-time.
Trailblazers came out fighting in the third quarter but Worthing withstood the onslaught and still held a 70-66 lead heading into the fourth period.
But Derby made their move, and all their second chance opportunities got its reward as the final buzzer sounded.
Thunder will be taking a coach up to Sheffield for the National Cup final against Manchester Magic on January 24.
The combined cost of coach travel and ticket to watch the final will be £25.
The coach will leave Worthing Leisure Centre at 8am and return between 11pm and midnight. To reserve a place email firstname.lastname@example.org.