It took a little while for Rockets to shake of the 4 weeks lack of competitive games and to fire up all the after burners but then they exploded from being level on 36 points mid-way through the second quarter to a 71 -31 finishing run that took the stuffing out of the visitors though they never gave up, to secure the first of the double header start to 2018.
Lancashire Spinners hit four trebles in the first quarter with Joel Keeble and Scotty Hendricks responding likewise from beyond the arc. Stout Rockets defence caused Spinners to have a 24 sec violation and Declan Soukup stole the ball on two occasions leading to Rockets scores whilst Sydney Donaldson brought his fast and competitive brand of basketball to Rivermead after nearly 4 weeks in the States. Rockets edged this period 23-21.
Again Spinners launched trebles to stay close as Rockets couldn’t get away but Soukup shone through and scored eleven personal points as Donaldson weighed in with seven but with Hendricks called for his third personal foul, Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces had to change the line up and rest Hendricks till well into the third quarter. Soukup brought the bleacher supporters to their feet with a double step fake finish and a glorious top of the key treble. This really got the Rockets fired and off into the distance they went. From being tied on 36 each mid-way through this quarter, they blitzed the remainder of the game with a 40 point difference, rarely seen at this level of basketball.
The double digit 48-38 half time advantage grew to 77-54 in the third as Jonny Foulds took his customary brave charge and Tim Gill rose to hit a Rockets career high of 25 points and 10 rebounds just in the third and fourth quarters. Academy player Adrian Nosa came off the bench to make excellent contributions and to score four points, much to the delight of the appreciative crowd. Hendricks and Donaldson rained in trebles, Gill made a big block and a buzzer beating finish took Rockets to a 23 point lead as the final period beckoned.
Hendricks added a brace of trebles early in the quarter and again the Aussie based Soukup scored when it appeared impossible. Keeble stroked another treble for Rockets and Foulds gave a super assist to Gill to finish yet again. With such an advantage Pena Garces released his y diminutive Academy point guard Inigo Perez in the last couple of minutes and the young 17 yo Spaniard scored with a lay-up and then hit a buzzer beating treble to cap a fine cameo short performance. Gill naturally hit Rockets last score as they took the win 107 – 67 and keep up the pressure on the other 4 teams at the top of the league table as they go into the crucial remainder of the season in search of silverware.
Top scorers for Rockets were Tim Gill with 34 pts and 16 rebounds, Declan Soukup with 17 pts., 5 steals and 4 rebounds, Scotty Hendricks with 16 pts., and 5 assists and 5 steals and Sydney Donaldson with 15 pts., and 4 rebounds.
|06/01/2018||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|