|Team Solent Kestrels||65||Loss|
In their first home game of the season, and at a new venue with Rivermead being unavailable, Rockets got the crowd very involved as the new signings all made significant contributions and the captain Danny Carter leading by example in this National Trophy pool game.
But it was an ex-Rocket Matt Davis who made a pair of trebles to ease Solent into an early 6-0 lead. This seemed to galvanise the new look Rockets who went on their own 12-0 run and in the process taking the lead which they were never to lose again throughout the game. The big American Chris Hooper scored 8 personal points, took down two rebounds and made a pair of steals to announce himself to the adoring Rockets supporters as Rockets led 20-11 at the first break.
The second quarter saw Rockets take that 19-14 to have a comfortable 39-25 advantage at the interval. This period has many memorable highlights including a top of the key treble from Joel Keeble as he gets the just rewards for his extra off-season training. A superb Dani Arcau defensive rebound was passed exquisitely to Keeble who this time drained the treble from wide out. Then the 18 yo Ibu Jassey Demba took a charge and Carter made a slam dunk as the noise reached a crescendo in the ex-Army sports hall now Rockets interim home venue.
Solent were re-energised by their Head Coach Matt Guymon, another ex-Rocket now enjoying coaching in the top English basketball league as his team fought tenaciously and edged the third period by 23-21 with the score at 60-48 in Rockets favour. This double digit lead had been a feature of the game from early in the opening stanza as had the smart plays from Rockets new point guard, Craig Ponder as he helped himself to 13 personal points, 6 rebounds, a pair of assists and a pair of steals in this third quarter. Young Bulgarian Paulin Jardim showed his commitment to the cause with some great floor hustle for the ball.
Rockets Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces was giving all his team many minutes as he tried various combinations for the league season which starts on Saturday when Rockets travel to Hemel for a 7 pm tip at Sportspace. Garces started the final period with another new signing, Juan Valerio Rojas who’s first contribution for the small Spanish player was to take a charge and lift the team as they fought for the win. A banked treble from Ketsrels saw the gap reduced to just seven points but it was only momentary as Hooper drove to score, Keeble sent a great pass to Ponder to score and Carter stroked a very long two and then a treble before Keeble made a huge block to stop a certain Solent score.
The game finished on a high for Rockets who now go to Hemel Storm as prepared as they can and with team spirit high. Top scorers for Rockets were Chris Hooper with 26 pts., 8 rebounds and 3 steals; Danny Carter with 18 pts., 6 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal; Craig Ponder with 15 pts., 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals and Joel Keeble with 8 pts., 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal.
|02/10/2016||17:00||National Trophy||2016 / 2017|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|