Bradford Dragons 90 v 111 Reading Rockets
Rockets’ most experienced senior players Sam Toluwase and Leome Francis got them off to a brisk start with lay-ups and defensive rebounds respectively as point guard O’Showen Williams imposed himself from the tip and shooting guards Sam Grant and Reis Pinnock drained trebles easing Rockets ahead in the early exchanges. However Dragons’ Head Coach Chris Mellor soon changed matters for the hosts as they came back to trail by a single point at 13-12 before ending the opening period with a 24-21 advantage.
Rockets’ Head Coach Alan Keane got inside his guys at the first break and despite Dragons extending their lead, it was momentary as Pinnock, Francis and Williams led the Rockets’ revival with Williams again having an outstanding performance, hitting four from five trebles by the interval with Francis taking down 6 rebounds and scoring 11 points whilst Pinnock stroked a pair of trebles and was outstanding defensively. The fast approach was just too much for Dragons as Rockets hit them for 36 points in this second quarter to a response of just 18 seeing Rockets ahead by 57-42 halfway through. Rockets had 4 players in double figures before the interval with the academy youngsters making vital contributions as they learn their trade and are given every opportunity by Coach Keane. Sam Grant had a slam dunk and a top of the key treble as Williams made a steal and a buzzer beating score.
The third quarter was a more even affair as Dragons fired again though Rockets edged it 24-22 to extend their lead to 81-64 but 3 Rockets players were on 3 personal fouls but Francis and Williams still scored well including an audacious steal and finish followed by Williams’ 6th treble from 10 attempts…an awesome show of outside the key shooting.
Dragons opened with a treble and a brace of inside scores but academy guard Latrell Maitland stroked a treble and Williams rose high to make a block and keep Rockets some 22 points in the lead midway through the final period at 99-77. Coach Keane gave all his academy players much court time as Jacob Stanuel-Taitte scored to bring up Rockets’ century of points , Maitland took his tally to 9 points including a reverse lay-up as Kivuvu Live hit 7 points and took down 5 rebounds and Jacob Cirtautas hit 3 points. Coach Keane and the senior players were thrilled with the contribution of these young players as Rockets took the victory by 111 – 90 though their journey home was interrupted by the breakdown of their minibus.
Top scorers for Rockets and Player of the Game was again O’Showen Williams as he hit 30 points, made 4 steals and took down 6 rebounds for one of the smallest players on the court. Leome Francis continued to show his importance to the side as he has a double double by amassing 20 pts and taking down 10 rebounds. Sam Toluwase and Reis Pinnock hit 13 pts apiece though all players scored except one.
Next weekend Rockets travel to league champions Team Solent Kestrels who haven’t lost in the league since February 2019 so Rockets will need to be on top form to overcome them.