Rockets secured their second consecutive league victory of the new season with yet another nail biter as they surrendered a 13 point advantage with just over 2 minutes to go to finally secure a deserved win by the narrowest of margins, a single point having also won by just 2 points away in Newcastle last week.
This was a pulsating game that will live long in the memories of all who crammed in to Bohunt School, Rockets second home venue, to witness some excellent basketball and where Rockets were almost always ahead, often with double digit leads, but Storm came back repeatedly with similar runs.
It all began with Rockets moving to a 11-4 early advantage and Strom hitting Rockets with a 10-0 run to take the lead. However Sydney Donaldson and Scotty Hendricks ignited Rockets flame again to see them have a 30-24 lead at the first break.
Storm hit the first six points of the second quarter to bring the teams level on 30 points each before an Ali Sbai tip in edged Rockets ahead again. Jonny Foulds and Sydney Donaldson took charges as they stood resolute to stop Storm. A Joel Keeble put back opened up a 7 point lead for Rockets but again the Storm arose to tie the game on 41, 43 and 46 points despite a brilliant treble from Hendricks as the half time interval arrived. Hendricks had imposed himself with 13 points and 6 steals by the break with Donaldson also scoring 12 points.
A 30-25 third period in Rockets favour was earned with some glorious team play by Rockets orchestrated by Hendricks as he dished assists to Sbai and Foulds to hit trebles having lead the way with a top of the key treble himself enabling Rockets to move ahead 57-49 early in the quarter. Tim Gill, who had spent much time on the bench before the interval due to being in personal foul trouble, then showed his value by working hard inside to score and draw the foul in making a 3 point play and keeping the 9 point lead. Strom hit back to back score but a Declan Soukup drive and score coupled to a Sbai steal and treble saw Rockets with a double digit advantage . A Foulds block and Soukup drive , score and adding the penalty point gave Rockets a 68-55 lead mid- way through the third quarter. Again the Strom blew and both Gill and Foulds were called for their fourth fouls so rested. A Sbai base line drive and a Donaldson finger roll seemed to be enough to ease Rockets into the final stanza with a comfortable lead but a 6-0 Storm offensive saw the scores 76-71 as the fourth period beckoned.
A Donaldson dish to Hendricks saw the diminutive point guard stroke yet another treble as Rockets held a 84-77 lead midway through the last quarter. Soukup was secure from the free throw line and also scored with the technical foul against Storm before Donaldson hit two from two penalty shots and Soukup scored with an outrageous fake and score to see Rockets with a comfortable 94-81 advantage as the game entered its end game scenario. Another Strom broke out and Rockets just couldn’t finish offensively as Storm raged with a 12 – 1 run to just one score away from extra time. Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces called a time out to plan another score and a stop to close out the game but Rockets twice around the ring and in fighting for the ball fouled Storm who went to the line knowing they needed both penalty scores to draw level. The first one was good but the second rimmed out and both teams fought for the vital rebound which ultimately went out of bounds and the victory was Rockets.
The packed arena rose as one to applaud a very good game and a deserved win for Rockets by the slenderest of margins at 95 to 94.
This had been a huge team effort especially considering captain Danny Carter is still out with a groin injury and Academy point guard Inigo Perez also recovery from injury enabling Div.4 player Ed Potter graduating and making his debut. With Simas Bauyps transferred late on Friday, Rockets readjusted extremely well.
Top scorers for Rockets were Scotty Hendricks with22pts.,and 6 steals, Sydney Donaldson with 21 pts., and 4 steals ; Declan Soukup with 18 pts., Ali Sbai with 13 pts., and Tim Gill with 9 pts., and 13 rebounds.
|14/10/2017||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|