Team USA Select arrived on the Bishop Otter Campus for a double header of exhibition basketball matches. They are made up of players who have narrowly missed out on professional contacts after their college education, and tour Europe looking for playing opportunities.
The action started with a friendly between Worthing and Angmering colleges, an eventful match ending with Angmering taking the spoils with a 59-49 win.
A Worthing Thunder squad took to the court next for a thrilling match that went back and forth and resulted in Team USA Select Red winning 90-78.
Next was the University of Chichester Thunder’s national division-four south squad taking on Team USA.
The university fielded an experimental line-up featuring several new faces. As well as players from the public and the campus, the squad featured Angmering College’s Joe Carter and Julian Stanley.
A close opening stanza saw Team USA lead 16-9 but the second stanza belonged to Sam Johnson scoring 11, including two late threes and a spin move to the basket that left the American guard in his wake.
Team USA responded to stretch their lead at the break to 44-24.
The third stanza saw Carter impress again with early scores, but the greater cohesion and squad depth saw USA extend their lead through Fraser and Pappas.
An enthralling match finished 85-50 to Team USA. Top scorers were Sam Johnson and Jermelle Fraser, both with 17 points.
Sid Fletcher, sports development manager at the university, said: “What a fantastic event – it was probably the biggest basketball event seen in Chichester.
“Great credit goes to all the players, and we wish good luck to the two Team USA squads as they continue their European exposure tour. It was especially pleasing to see so many Worthing Thunder juniors involved in both senior matches.”
University of Chichester Thunder 70 Ealing Phoenicians 73
National div four south
The Bishop Otter Campus welcomed Ealing Phoenicians for the first home league match of the season.
The first stanza saw an early three from Sam Johnson, setting the tone for an impressive perimeter-shooting display.
Ealing responded well securing offensive rebounds and converting, with captain Quamina and Young impressing.
The first stanza finished with Ealing 18-16 ahead.
In the second, Thunder started to gel with Johnson hitting threes and Stanley leaving Ealing’s Anderson on the floor to the crowd’s delight before converting with a lay-up.
A further three from Stanley saw Thunder take a seven-point lead. Ealing reduced the arrears to one at the break.
More threes from Johnson and Corbin saw Chichester looking to build a lead, but Ealing refused to lie down and the third stanza finished with the visitors ahead by three.
Fresher Jack Green started the final stanza on fire scoring the first eight points including two three-pointers.
But great defence and a steal gave Ealing a late lead that was closed out by Young at the free throw line. Top scorers were Johnson (Chichester) with 24 and Young (Ealing) with 25.
Team secretary Sid Fletcher said: “It was a heartbreaking loss, but a new-look squad including five players under 19 should hold their heads up high after that performance.”
THUNDER: Johnson 24, Corbin 12, Oram 12, Green 11, Stanley 9, Coxon 2, Fleming, Griifiths, Edwards, Hendon-John, Marshall, Gear.