In a physically demanding encounter against East Midlands opposition Rockets prevailed with a tight end game to secure the win and stay just 2 points behind the league leaders Loughborough Riders.
Tim Gill galloped out of the stalls to score all Rockets first ten points as they lead 10-5, the same margin with which Rockets secured the victory. The game was not for the faint hearted as Warriors were true to their name, fighting for everything with much skill to punish any slackness by Rockets. The pattern was set and as much as Rockets tried to draw away on numerous occasions, even enjoying a twelve point advantage at one point, back came Leicester, often to tie the game as just before the interval and at 64 and 67 in the dying minutes but Rockets dug deep and eked out the crucial win in their last home game before the Christmas break.
At 17 -12 with the first offence of the second quarter Warriors went on a 8-0 run to take the lead for the first time at 20-17 and then 22-19 though it was only momentary as the game became somewhat ugly as the foul count mounted and technical fouls were dished out to both teams. A Declan Soukup big treble was immediately matched by a Warriors one as Rockets battled to come back from a 26-32 deficit. A clever spin move by Soukup was followed by a Gill floater before Soukup hit four quick points and Scotty Hendricks sunk a downtown treble to take the teams to the changing rooms level on 34 points each.
A 25-15 third period saw Rockets enjoy a double digit lead as Jonny Foulds imposed himself with a pair of free throws, a might treble from the top of the key to couple with some great defence to stop a certain Warriors score. With Sbai hitting his second treble and Sydney Donaldson scoring and adding the penalty shot Rockets retained a ten point lead going into the final quarter at 59-49.
However the fourth quarter jitters arrived again as despite Sbai hitting a treble, Warriors stroked a brace of their own to draw level on 64 points with just over four minutes remaining. Foulds hits a magnificent treble but Warriors replied with one of their own immediately to tie the game on 67 with one minute 43 seconds left on the clock. Now both Head Coaches had to be at their tactical best with thoughtful use of the time-outs as Rockets were in foul trouble but Warriors had four to give before they were in the penalty. Rockets played very cleverly using the time well and scoring at critical times, like the Soukup treble to ease the pressure. But still the Warriors fought, scoring two from the free throw line and with a technical foul called on Warriors coach with less than 23 second remaining, Soukup was secure from the line moments before Ed Potter hit Rockets last points as Rockets took the spoils in a hard fought game with the result 75 -70 in Rockets favour.
Top scorers for Rockets were Declan Soukup with 19 pts., 6 rebounds and 3 assists; Jonny Foulds with 13 pts., and 7 rebounds and Tim Gill with 13 pts., and 14 rebounds though Ali Sbai hit 12 pts., and took down 7 rebounds and Sydney Donaldson hit 11 pts., took down 6 rebounds and made 5 assists in a very complete performance.
Rockets now travel to Bradford next weekend in their last game before the Christmas break seeking to sty close to the league leaders before they return to Rivermead for a New Year double header home start to 2018.
|03/12/2017||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|