|Loughborough Student Riders||68||Loss|
For the third weekend on the trot Rockets upset the applecart with another fine win , this time against title contenders and joint league leaders, L’boro Student Riders, and away from home too. Though the twin peaks of captain Danny Carter and American, Tim Gill top scored for Rockets this was very much a team victory.
The game wasn’t of the highest level and for sure there’s still much to come from this rejuvenated Rockets side but 3 key wins on the trot keeps up their hopes of a home draw in the Play-off quarter finals though at this rate they fear no-one as Rockets travelled without Ed Potter, Adrian Nosa and Inigo Perez. L’boro were quick out of the blocks with a 6-0 run including a pair of dunks but Sydney Donaldson gave Carter his first points before receiving a wide assist from Carter and burying a treble. More exchanges between the pair saw Carter drain a treble and Donaldson spin to add to his tally and bring Rockets to 11-13 adrift with four minutes to go in the opening period. Declan Soukup took a charge and Jonny Foulds made a save before Soukup dishes the ball to Scotty Henricks to get him into the action with a treble and a brace from the free throw line before Academy player Alex Drincic gave an assist to Tim Gill to get him troubling the scorers for the first time in the game. That score saw Rockets level the match on 18 each at the end of the first quarter but they extended their 7-0 finishing run to 13-0 with the opening six points of quarter two. Drincic scored with a reverse lay-up and then a jump shot. The 24-18 was soon reduced by the talented Riders though Rockets held the slenderest of leads at 27-26 with 4 minutes to go to the interval. A Carter drive and Ali Sbai assist to Gill saw Rockets open up a 6 point gap but a treble and jump shot by Riders saw them go to the locker room just 33-35 behind Rockets.
An opening blitz of 9-2 meant Riders had been on a 14-2 run to quell the 13-0 of Rockets earlier in the game. When Hendricks fell hard and was carried off to be in the hands of the physio, Rockets travelling supported thought, ‘oh no’ we don’t need that’. But the American shooting guard recovered to play his part in the final stanza as Rockets trailed 48-52. Despite a Sbai treble and a pair of assists by Carter to Gil and Sbai, the thorn in Rockets side was Riders Roberts who hit back to back trebles to ease them ahead and into the last quarter.
Another Riders treble and jump shot either side of a Donaldson score saw Riders with a 57-50 advantage and when a Jonny Foulds treble was adjudged the wrong side of the buzzer, it needed a Donaldson assist to Carter to score a crucial treble and cut the deficit to a single score at 58-61. Both teams exchanged baskets before Student Riders went five ahead with four minutes to go. Donaldson and Soukup were both secure from the free throw line but a Riders score meant Rockets trailed by three as the end game beckoned. Up steps the mercurial Hendricks to drain a treble and bring the scores level on 67 with one minute 40 seconds remaining. Would the hosts buckle to the visiting Rockets ? They took a slender lead with one from two from the penalty stripe but Gill hit both his free throws to edge Rockets ahead by a single point with 32 seconds to go. Outstanding Rockets defence stood firm to keep out the Student Riders and Rockets journey home was a pleasant one….though as the coaching team acknowledged, this wasn’t one of Rockets better performances though to ‘win ugly’ against such opposition, was encouraging.
Top scorers for Rockets were Danny Carter and Tim Gill with 15 each as Sydney Donaldson hit 14 pts and Scotty Hendricks and Declan Soukup hit 8 apiece.
Now Rockets prepare for host Kent Crusaders at Bohunt School at 5 pm on Saturday.
|25/02/2018||14:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|