|Team Solent Kestrels||81||Loss|
In the type of game you expect from two teams on winning streaks, this most competitive of games was brilliant for the spectators and showed why both teams are vying for league honours. Having won their last 4 league games and reached the National Cup Final, Kestrels were confident on their home court despite losing to Rockets just before Christmas in Reading. Kestrels took the first quarter, Rockets opened up a double digit lead towards the latter part of the second period before the game was tied in the third but Rockets led by fifteen points midway through the final quarter to take another scalp and extend their victories to twelve consecutive ones.
Solent scored from the tip and eased to a 15-8 lead before Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces took a time-out to re-organise his tactics and bring Rockets back into the game. This was mainly through the ever imposing captain Danny Carter who not only scored eleven of Rockets eighteen first quarter points but took down key rebounds, made a big block and led the team with confidence. Solent took the period 20-18 as they shot well and had a brace of trebles.
The second period saw Rockets step up a gear as Paulin Jardim made a steal and strode the length of the court to score before Carter struck Rockets first treble of the evening to take the lead for the first time. Brilliant team play saw Carter pass quickly to Jardim who gave an assist to Chris Hooper to score the first of his ten personal points in this quarter. A Rockets fast break lifted the travelling Rockets supporters before Ibu Jassey Demba made the first of his slam dunk finishes and Hooper extended Rockets advantage to ten points. However a Solent treble and jump shot saw Rockets lead at the interval cut to five points at 44-39. Carter had scored 18 points and Hooper 13 before the break.
Both coaches had used the interval wisely as both teams covered each other’s scores with effective shooting and strong defence. Carter and Hooper were again dominant as they scored nine and six points respectively but also took down key rebounds and stopped a number of Kestrels scoring chances. The game was tied on fifty three, sixty one and sixty three respectively but Craig Ponder ensured Rockets had a slender lead going into the final quarter at 65-63.
Cometh the hour cometh the team and Rockets rose to take an excellent victory with Ponder as his most influential scoring eleven personal points but also controlling the pace of the game for Rockets. Ali Sbai took an assist from his captain to open Rockets scoring before an outstanding piece of defensive work by Jardim had his coaching team and team mates on and off court rising to show their appreciation. A big Carter stop and a Jassey Demba slam saw Rockets move ten ahead before Ponder struck a glorious pull up treble to see Rockets with a relatively comfortable fifteen point lead at 81-66. Kestrels hit a treble and made a steal and finish to ruffle Rockets feathers for a moment or two but a three pint play by Ponder and Carter safe from the free throw line gave Rockets win number twelve on the trot.
Tomorrow ( Sunday ) sees Rockets at home to another title contender Bradford Dragons at Bohunt School, Arborfield tipping at 5 pm.
Tops corers for Rockets were Danny Carter with 29 pts., Chris Hooper with 23 and Craig Ponder with 19 ( 11 in the final quarter ) but this was again a fine team effort as the Academy youngsters continue to grow and make telling contributions.
|11/02/2017||19:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
|Fleming Park Leisure Centre|
|Fleming Park Leisure Centre, Passfield Ave, Eastleigh SO50 9NL, UK|