Against basement team warriors, Rockets strolled to consecutive win number eleven as they strive for the league honours and a home draw in the Play-off Championship. This was more of a workmanlike performance than a great basketball game but all opposition must be respected and Rockets did that.
Clearly with a double header next weekend at the back of his mind, Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces wanted to rest his experienced players as much as possible so improving Paulin Jardim played the most minutes in a game all season and was rewarded with his best personal statistics to date brining encouragement to the coaching team and watching spectators.
Rockets blitzed the opening five minutes with an 18-5 score line and had a 30-16 lead at the first break thanks mainly to American small forward Chris Hooper’s personal tally of 12 points and 4 rebounds though captain Danny Carter showed the breadth of his game with four assist in the same period. The mercurial point guard, Craig Ponder, stroked a treble as did Spanish shooting guard Juan Valerio but a pair of Warrior trebles kept Rockets honest. An Ali Sbai steal and drive before a smart assist to Jardim was followed by a buzzer beating slam dunk as Ibu Jassey Demba rose high to finish the quarter in style and bring the home crowd to its feet as Rockets led 30-16.
The second quarter began with a brace of trebles from Warriors before Sbai drained one for Rockets and Hooper made a crucial block. The diminutive guard Bikram Rana Ganesh at just 5’2” stood tall and strong as he took a full bloodied charge as Rockets extended their advantage. A Carter arrow pass to Hooper was clinically finished moments before a trademark Hooper spin move took him to the interval with 17 points and 7 rebounds. In the dying seconds Rockets had p[possession and Carter took a few steps and launched a gigantic treble on the buzzer taking Rockets to the changing rooms 47-29 ahead.
After building on their first 2 quarters , Rockets repeated the feat as they took the third period 15-13 to cement a twenty point lead at 62-42 though both sides were guilty of poor finishing for the first half of the period as just ten points in total were scored. A Jardim finger roll and Carter spin move were only up staged by a Hooper score as he drove, fell and in the process of apparently about to lose the ball scooped a shot to score, much to the amazement of the officials, his team mates and the spectators. Another Carter assist saw Jassey Demba finish with another slam dunk just before Sbai took down his own offensive rebound to score, draw the foul and hit the penalty shot too.
A Jassey Demba steal and pass to Valerio saw Rockets maintain their urge to extend their winning streak. A Sbai drive and assist to Valerio saw him repeat the lay-up move before Ponder went coast to coast. Hooper was privileged to be on the end of another Ponder assist before a glorious alley hoop pass from captain Carter saw Jardim finish with aplomb. 17 yo Jay Carter , another Rockets Academy player, has now been promoted to the Div.1 Men team , made his 2017 debut for the last couple of minutes as Rockets played an all under 21 yo team with 4 Academy players and one University student on the floor to end the game and see Rockets to another important victory by 24 points at 79-55.
Tops corers for Rockets were Chris Hooper with 25 pts.,and 16 rebounds, Craig Ponder and Paulin Jardim with 13 pts., apiece and Danny Carter almost having a triple double, a most rare occasion as he hit 11 pts., took down 13 rebounds and had 9 assists…a captains role for sure.
Rockets now go to Eastleigh on Saturday night where they play National Cup finalist Solent Kestrel before playing at Bohunt School, Arborfield on Sunday against Bradford Dragons who inflicted one of Rockets early season defeats so a win is a must.
|04/02/2017||18:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
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