Title chasing Rockets stormed past relegation threatened Thunder this evening, resting key players in the final quarter as they prepare for a tough away encounter tomorrow in East London against London Lituanica.
With point guard Craig Ponder ruling the roost and displaying a vast array of talent before an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd at Bohunt School as he hit a season high 36 personal points, Rockets eased their way to win number 18 on the trot. Ponder stroked five trebles in his majestic display ably assisted by a pair of sharp shooting guards in Juan Valerio and Ali Sbai who added six and five trebles and rebounder extraordinaire Chris Hooper who took down 19 rebounds ( 16 defensive ones ) on top of his 26 points.
Worthing scored off their first possession to take an immediate lead which turned out to be the only moment they add any advantage as Hooper scored inside and Ponder had a trademark pull up jump shot before stealing the ball and repeating the shot moments later. When Hooper slam dunked and then sent a dish pass to Sbai to hit the first of his trebles, coupled to Sbai releasing Valerio from a steal , Rockets were already showing fine team play as they opened up a 9 point lead. This quickly moved to a double digit advantage Carter gave a pair of assists for Valerio and Hooper to [profit from and taking Rockets to the first break 27-14 ahead.
A 34-22 second quarter began with Thunder going on a 11-2 run and getting within 4 points at 25-29. Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces called a time-out to remind his team of the danger this Thunder team possessed and quick discipline returned to his team as they went on a 32-11 run to head for the interval 61-36. Ponder hit 20 points in this quarter alone including three trebles and went through the eye of a needle to push home Rockets lead right on the half time buzzer.
Rockets opened the third period with a 11-4 run to extend their lead to 72-40 but a 14-2 Thunder run kept Rockets honest at 76-61 at the end of the quarter. A rare dunk from Ponder was one of this period’s highlights though the earlier three man break , started and finished by Valerio with a treble brought rapturous applause from the crowd. New to the team, Jay Carter had a good run in this quarter as he settles into senior basketball for another of Rockets Academy youngsters.
A huge 34-17 quarter by Rockets ensured they scored their highest points total this season as Sbai stroked three trebles from out wide ably assisted by Valerio and Ponder in similar fine form. Carter made a key stop early in this period and mid-way through it too before Pena Garces rested Rockets captain with nearly four minutes remaining and released Tom Goodyear for his home debut as he’s been promoted to the Senior team from the Div.4 Rockets team. to cover the injuries sustained by Jassey Demba, Fidel Gomez and Bikram Rana. With their biggest lead of 37 points at 103-66, Hooper and Ponder were also rested for tomorrow’s encounter and Thunder hit the last five points by suffered another defeat to a confident Rockets who primary issue right now as the league season draws to a close is the injuries to these Academy players who have made themselves vital to the senior side. Rockets physio is the busiest man around the team right now !!
Top scorers for Rockets were Craig Ponder with 36 pts.,6 assists and 4 steals; Chris Hooper with 26 pts., 19 rebounds and 3 steals with Juan Valerio and Ali Sbai with 21 pts., eac
|11/03/2017||18:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|