After an encouraging start in only their second league game of the season and with a seven point interval lead, it was a disastrous third quarter that sealed Rockets fete as Derby poured in 30 points and kept Rockets to just 12 as both Rockets American players fell foul of the referees limiting their court time.
This was Rockets third game in eight days against a side who even this early in the season, appear to have found in Josh Ward Hibbert, one of the outstanding players in the league. Josh is a very talented tennis player who has now decided to make basketball his primary sport and how Derby benefit as he piled up 33 pts.. The game began with Derby stroking three trebles and Ward Hibbert not troubling the scorers. Craig Ponder was again most influential for Rockets as he created so much and finished with a variety of skills from finger rolls, drives, pull up jump shots and floaters in what was to become a great game for the neutral and encouraging for both sets of fervent supporters as a tough contest was fought on the court.
A 21-15 lead reflected the opening period and with the introduction of Juan Valerio who hit three quick trebles showing the continuation of the development of this shooting guard Rockets enjoyed a 41-28 advantage but an 8-2 run in by Trailblazers made the interval score 43-36 as Ward Hibbert announced his arrival on the game with nine points.
Danny Carter and Joel Keeble scored early to extend Rockets lead to double figures but with quality plays and excellent finishing Derby soon levelled the game at 46 each before hitting a treble and a lay-up to complete a 15-3 run with Ward Hibbert having scored eleven of those points. Ponder was Rockets best player and play maker so when he was called for a fourth foul as he tried to stop a certain Derby score, Trailblazers capitalised to take the quarter 30-12 with Ward Hibbert hitting 16 of them. A fine wide Keeble treble kept Rockets in touch but at 55-66 the final stanza needed something special from Rockets.
And though they fought tenaciously with the opening five points reducing the deficit to just six points, and even drawing level on 70 points each, a final run of 20-8 by Trailblazers saw them journey back to the Midlands with a deserved win as the polished Derby team took the honours and the applause of both sets of supporters in a great game for the sport.
Top scorers for Rockets were Craig Ponder with 29 pts., Chris Hooper with 18 pts. and Juan Valerio with 11 pts. though Josh ward Hibbert topped the charts with 33 pts. Rockets now have a 2 week break as Rockets Academy players depart for 14 days in Spain on an Erasmus culture, educational and elite sport based project before returning to play Hemel Storm in the fourth round of the National Cup away at Hemel on Sun 30th Oct tipping at 5 pm.
|15/10/2016||18:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|