In their first league game of the new season, Rockets began it with a resounding 19 point win against a team that beat them on three occasions last season. Rockets began with an intensity and quality finishing that brings encouragement for the season ahead though slack defensive work in the second quarter saw Storm think they might continue where they left off just 5 months ago.
Captain Danny Carter led by example with the irrepressible American Chris Hooper continuing with his 20+ points per game record to date. With Craig Ponder asserting himself as the orchestrator of virtually all Rockets key offences, Joel Keeble showing the shooting prowess we know he possesses and Juan Valerio stroking five trebles, this was an excellent performance all round, pleasing the travelling fans and the coaching team led by Manuel Pena Garces.
The game began with a 30 point haul for Rockets in the opening period including five trebles thanks to Carter ( 2), Valerio (2) and Ponder including a 12-0 run. Hooper threw a pair of cross court passes to the open Valerio to start his personal 17 point tally while Ponder aced an arrow pass to Hooper to finish with a lay-up before hitting a buzzer beating treble to give Rockets a 30-18 lead.
This 12 point advantage was soon reduced as Storm peppered the Rockets goal with three trebles to get within 3 points of Rockets at 36-33. Despite a Rockets time-out it was Storm who then took the lead but after the scores were level on 41, Rockets edged ahead to lead 48-44 at the interval and never looked really threatened in the second half of the game. The 4 point advantage was opened to 8 and then 13 points midway through quarter three by 63-50, a double digit lead they were never to surrender as they kept the pressure up defensively and finished well offensively as five of the team hit double figures and the whole team did their roles well on the court. Despite Storm scoring a treble late in the period the 71-56 score truly reflected Rockets dominance in the quarter which they took 23-12.
Another high scoring fourth period of 27 points saw Rockets close in on a 100 point total but it was not meant to be as they comforted themselves with undoubtedly their best team performance to date. Dani Arcau hit his first treble for Rockets in this quarter as 7 of Rockets team scored. The diminutive Ponder had masterminded the on court and had the audacity to finish a fine display with a block. Carter sealed the game from the free throw line but a jubilant Rockets walked off court very satisfied though recognising there’s still much work to be done even though there was a glimmer of light of some potential for this young, new and exciting team.
Top scorers for Rockets were Chris Hooper with 23 pts., Craig Ponder with 21 pts., Juan Valerio with 17 pts., Danny Carter with 16 pts., and Joel Keeble with 11 pts.
Rockets now travel to Wales on Thursday evening when they play Cardiff in the National Cup third round before returning to Bohunt School in Arborfield on Saturday when they entertain Derby Trailblazers at 6 pm, again in the league. For tickets and more information on the Rockets, please go to their website www.readingrockets.co.uk
|08/10/2016||19:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
|Heath Ln, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP1, UK|