BBL Trophy: Cheshire Phoenix beat Worthing Thunder to make semi-finals

Cheshire Phoenix will face Sheffield Sharks in the BBL Trophy semi-finals after beating Worthing Thunder 106-61 in a game they led from tip to buzzer.

Phoenix started the game strongly, scoring the first 11 points of the contest, with Jerome Gumbs contributing six of the points. Thunder hit back with a 6-0 run shortly after, reducing the Phoenix lead to 15-10 after a Kadiri Richard dunk, but Phoenix pulled hit back, scoring the final five points of the quarter to take a 22-12 lead at its end.

Stuart Thomson’s three early in the second started Phoenix on a run of 10 unanswered points before they outscored Thunder 23-6 in the final 8 minutes of the half. Phoenix’s Chez Marks had 3 steals as they forced Thunder into turning the ball over 9 times during the run. That run put them ahead 47-23 at half-time.

A 17-2 run in the third allowed Phoenix to further increase their lead, with Alif Bland’s basket at the end of the run putting them up 69-28. Brendan Okoronkwo had 3 assists in an 8-2 run by Thunder at the end of the quarter that reduced Phoenix’s lead down to 78-43.

After an 8-0 Thunder further reduced the Phoenix lead to 32 points at 84-52 mid-way through the final stanza, Phoenix were able to close the game out with a 16-5 run to wrap up a 106-61 victory.

Phoenix put together a good team performance, making 66% of their field goal attempts and 47% of their 3-point efforts as five of their players scored in double figures. Jerome Gumbs led their scorers with 25 points and also had 11 rebounds as he achieved a double-double.

Phoenix captain Chez Marks ended the game with 23 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Gabe Haskins scored 16 points and also had 9 assists.

For Thunder, their scorers were jointly led by Kadiri Richard and Joe Carter, with 14 points each. Richard also had 9 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.

Phoenix coach Matt Lloyd was pleased with Phoenix’s performance, saying after the game: “A thoroughly professional performance from us tonight. All credit to Worthing, they hung in there. For us, it was a case of playing professionally for the full 40 minutes and executing which we did.”