Basketball: Rockets fire to blow out Thunder’s storm

A last-gasp three-point attempt from Jack Green rimmed out to confirm a 74-71 victory for Reading Rockets against University of Chichester Thunder at Worthing Leisure Centre.

Pride Nyathi led the scoring in vain for Thunder with 27 points in the national league thriller.   

In an open first quarter, Platt opened the scoring inside before Reading then went on an 8-0 run to take an early 9-2 lead.

Chichester hit back through Nyathi hitting back-to-back triples, with Green hitting a third three that gave Thunder an 18-14 lead. Despite Reading’s pressure on the defensive end, Oram found his way through to hit at the buzzer to give Chichester a 24-20 lead after the first period.

Green extended Thunder’s lead with another triple to open the second quarter which was answered by a bucket from Meller for Reading. Thunder extended their lead to seven thanks to a three from Matt Edwards. A bucket from Nyathi gave Thunder a 42-37 lead at the half.

A bucket from Reading’s big man Mowezan narrowed the gap to 42-39, a bucket inside from Nick Corbin extended Chichester’s slight cushion to 44-39, which started a quick-fire 5-0 run to give the hosts a 47-39 lead.

Reading narrowed the gap as Chichester missed easy points under the basket. That streak was broken with a three from Nyathi and Thunder took a 58-50 lead into the final quarter.

A Rockets comeback came as they capitalised on four straight Chichester misses to pull the score back to 61-60, forcing Chichester coach Emmanuel Davis to call a timeout.

Oram hit a jumper from the free-throw line to give Thunder a 63-60 lead before a free-throw from Brading and a bucket inside from Mowezan tied the game at 63-63.

Reading gained control thanks to Platt hitting back-to-back buckets for a 72-69 lead that forced coach Davis to call another timeout. Nyathi scored inside but Reading secured the win from the line despite Green’s last-ditch attempt.

Team Secretary Sid Fletcher said: “Credit to Reading - they never allowed us to gain a large enough lead, made their free throws and hurt us late in the fourth quarter when it mattered. 

“Pride had another great all-round game for us, but we needed more players scoring double digits. If we maintain our level of performance, aside from the last three minutes, we’re confident we’ll be closer the top than the bottom at the end of the season.”       

THUNDER: Nyathi 27, Hield 14, Green 9, Oram 8, Corbin 6, Edwards 3, Johnson 3, Hendon-John 1, Marshall, Coxon, Davies, Phillips.