This game was re-arranged form Saturdays postponement and still leaves Rockets with 3 games in 6 days this week !! The victory was not only their fourth consecutive win but also keeps the pressure on the teams above them in the league as they all vie for a top four finish and home advantage in the Play-off Championship which starts on 7/8 th April.
Captain Danny Carter began by showing Rockets strength in the paint as he spun to score before the other in the twin towers attack, Tim Gill did likewise moments later. With the most influential Declan Soukup sending the first of his ten assists cross court to sharp shooter Scotty Hendricks to drain a treble, Rockets were all over the court form the opening minutes. However Crusaders are a very talented young team coached by ex-Rocket Lloyd Gardner who gets the absolute most out of them and they fought to stay in touch, despite some great team play by the developing Rockets. A pas and return between Gil and Ali Sbai saw the 19 yo finish well before Soukup took down a key rebound and sent a floater to add to his score. Jonny Foulds copied Soukup moments later and saw Rockets keep their advantage as the opening quarter ended 23-20 in Rockets favour.
A 30-17 second period saw Rockets on fire as Ed Potter scored inside and young Alex Drincic scored off a Soukup assist. When Sydney Donaldson made a steal, Potter was the benefactor and Rockets held their first double digit lead at 33-23. Carter scored off the glass and Potter fought tenaciously to gain possession. Foulds took a charge and stopped a certain Crusaders score, all before Rockets finished the quarter with a demonstration of their shooting prowess as Hendricks hit a brace of trebles and Foulds stroked one out wide. But Crusaders has a pair of three point plays to sty in touch at the break though 37-53 adrift of the hosts.
Crusaders had spent the interval preparing well for the second half though found themselves 64-45 down after the opening exchanges as Foulds hit a treble, Soukup took a charge, Gill continued his dominance of the boards at both ends and Carter scored inside. A three and four point play ( most unusual in basketball but due to Crusaders player scoring with a long treble and hitting the free throw as he had been fouled in the process) midway through the quarter spurred the Crusaders to a 12-0 run and narrow the deficit to 69-57. Carter and Potter halted the advance as they scored, seeing Rockets enter the final stanza 74-63 ahead.
Despite taking down three consecutive offensive rebounds Rockets couldn’t score until a Soukup to Gill to Soukup excellent play saw the Aussie stroke a treble. Gill was outstanding on the boards and scoring where it hurts, in the paint and Hendricks hit his fourth treble of the evening from a Carter dish to secure a 10-2 run and a 84-65 lead. A Crusaders treble coupled to their secure points from the free throw line as Rockets found themselves in team foul trouble early in the fourth quarter due to a pair of technical fouls called by the referees, gave crusaders more encouragement but a professional end game form Rockets saw them secure another victory before the double header weekend ahead.
Top scorers for Rockets were Tim Gill with 21 pts., and 19 rebounds, Scotty Hendricks with 15 pts., Declan Soukup with a magnificent 15 pts., 10 assists and 9 rebounds and Danny Carter with 14 pts.
|03/03/2018||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|