This was no magical journey as from ignition to the return to earth for the Rockets team, they lit up the arena at Rivermead with probably their best display of the season. Keeping the talented Magic to just 62 was awesome but to score 97 in the process was magnificent, though the Rockets coaching team well understand there’s somewhere to go to where they hope to be by the time of the Play-off Championship in 8 weeks’ time.
Manchester scored with their first possession but a Sydney Donaldson dish to Scotty Hendricks gave the impish shooting guard the chance to hit his first treble and set the scene for some scintillating offensive plays. A Jonny Foulds steal and finish was supplemented with a reverse lay-up form big man Tim Gill before the first of some great team play saw the American score again. Hendricks went coast to coast and Ali Sbai drove hard before sending an assist to Gill. When Hendricks made a steal, finished and hit the free throw Rockets enjoyed a 22-10 lead but Magic went on a 6-0 run ensuring Rockets advantage was just 22-16 at the first break.
Declan Soukup was spraying passes across and the length of the court and Danny Carter took down a rebound and gave a telling pass to Ed Potter to open his account. It’s good to see Carter as he continues to gain full match fitness as he showed his immense value with a block and points form the free throw line. A huge down town treble from Hendricks got the packed arena acclaiming the skill whilst also giving Rockets a 30-22 lead midway through the second quarter. Donaldson arrived from no-where to soar above the Magic defenders and score with a spectacular offensive rebound before the developing Academy player, Adrian Nose scored and Potter finished with 4 quick personal points to see Rockets to the interval with a 42-30 advantage.
One of the best quarters seen at The Mead this season ensued as Rockets blitzed the period 33-18 as Foulds, Soukup, Sbai and Hendricks sunk trebles point and another Academy player Alex Drinkie scored from wide out before finishing with a pair of free throws as he took down an offensive rebound and was fouled. Excellent quick interposing was a joy to the eye as Drinkie passed to Hendricks who passed to Carter who scored, drew the foul and made a three point play . Carter repeated the feat a minute later before Soukup made a steal and pass allowing Hendricks to score before a block by Drincic saw Rockets go into final period leading 75-48.
A Sbai spin move and wait by Soukup till Gill arrived to score was followed by some interpassing by the guards Soukup and Foulds enabled Soukup to lay up as Rockets extended their lead to 83-48 with a 8-0 run. With the game all but won Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces gave all his Academy players much court time together as they saw out their biggest ever margin of victory against their northern rivals, encouraging as the end of the league season beckons with league places determining who gets the four home ties. As Rockets entertain league title contenders, Team Northumbria at home next Saturday before journeying to the Midlands to play second in the league Loughborough Student Riders a week later, the next fortnight will help Rockets staff and supporters see how well paced they are for the final awards of the season.
Top scorers for Rockets were both Americans, Tim Gill with 19 pts and 7 rebounds whilst Scotty Hendricks showed his visiting girlfriend his repertoire of skills as he also scored 19 pts., took down 5 rebounds, made 8 assists and made a brace of steals. Danny Carter had 15 pts., took down 5 rebounds and made a p[air of steals and Declan Soukup was majestic with 9 pts.,6 rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals and Jonny Foulds also hit 9 pts., and took down 7 rebounds.
|11/02/2018||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|