Rockets enjoyed a comfortable win on Sunday afternoon as they scored first and were never seriously troubled as they opened up 8 and 9 point leads in the first two quarters seeing them with a 52-35 lead at the interval which they stretches in the second half to secure a convincing victory and a visual improvement on the court, much to the delight of Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces.
Craig Ponder struck the initial points with a superb treble which Juan Valerio copied moments later. Spinners hit the first of their trebles and kept close to Rockets for the first 4 minutes after which Rockets began to increase their lead in a determined fashion. The big character and inside man Chris Hooper opened his personal account with a trademark spin and off the glass score at the offensive end and dominated the boards taking down 18 rebounds, 12 defensive and 6 offensive from which he scored three times. Hooper was a major presence and a thorn in Spinners side throughout the game and deservedly top scored with 29 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists and a couple of steals in an awesome display.
18 yo Spaniard and Academy player Fidel Gomez stood firm on defence whilst another student Ibu Demba Jassey was impressive in his time on court but Ali Sbai again showed the very best of the Academy system as he scored 12 points and took down a pair of rebounds. Ponder and Hooper were again key offensive players with new signing Elvisi Dusha contributing 10 points by the interval including a brace of trebles, an assist and a steal. A Hooper reverse layup and a Sbai drive and finger roll were a couple of highlights before the break with an Elvisi treble from the top of the key and a buzzer beating finish by Demba Jassey seeing Rockets having a comfortable 52-35 advantage.
A pair of back to back trebles by Spinners coupled to a pair of misses by Rockets encouraged the Lancashire outfit towards the end of the third period but Ponder was at his best with threading himself as if through the eye of a needle to score, then hitting yet another trademark pull up jump shot, arrow passing to Hooper for an easy score and then dishing a pass to Sbai to stroke a treble as Rockets increased their lead to 20 points. The brace of Lancashire trebles reduced the advantage to 70-56 but again Ponder shot a glorious treble form an assist from Dusha to give Rockets an early 17 point advantage. Then Spinners hit three trebles in a row to reduce the deficit to just 6 points at 75-69 causing Pena Garces to call a time-out and readdress the troops. And how well they responded with some great team play again finished with an excellent treble form captain Danny Carter and Paulin Jardim hitting 7 personal points including a glorious treble. With Carter prominent with assist and superb defensive work Rockets cruised to a 23 point victory and progress up the league table.
Top scorers for Rockets were Hooper with 29, Ponder with 20, and both Dusha and Sbai with 12 pts., apiece.
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|27/11/2016||17:00||NBL Division 1||2016 / 2017|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|