Despite a sluggish start this clash against south coast rivals Thunder is always one of the highlights of the season and a packed Bohunt School witnessed some outstanding team basketball from Rockets and a class act from Thunder’s lead player Zaire Taylor.
Rockets’ diminutive guard Scotty Hendricks showed his treble shooting skills with three in the first quarter to give the home team a good start and a 17-8 lead at the first break. Captain Danny Carter had returned to the fold and took down an offensive rebound which led to Declan Soukup scoring before Sydney Donaldson hit the last four points of period one.
Joel Keeble started the second quarter and stroked a treble from a dish from the Aussie Soukup. Ali Sbai hit back to back trebles, one from way down town, before scoring off the glass and making a steal , drive and score in a purple patch for the 19 year old ex-Academy player. All three Rockets Academy players were missing as they were away touring Spain for a 2 week sport, educational and cultural project. This gave Rockets Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces time to further integrate Ed Potter into the side and also give a debut to Charles Acquah-Davis. When Keeble hit his second treble of the quarter Rockets held a 33-12 advantage which Tim Gill continued to extend as he again took down offensive rebounds to score inside. Jonny Foulds sent a great assist to Donaldson who was marshalling Taylor as close as he could but personal foul number three saw him rested. Nonetheless Hendricks hit a long two and then his fourth treble as Acquah-Davis cleanly found Foulds to drain yet another treble. When Gill dished a pass to Potter to hit a treble it took Rockets treble count to eight before the interval which saw Rockets head to the locker room 53-25 ahead.
From their first possession of the third period Hendricks hit three from three from the free throw line and Rockets’ big American Gill continued to take down rebounds and score inside. More outstanding team play led to Soukup hitting a treble and finding Rockets with a commanding 34 point lead at 63-29. However a Thunder 8-0 run coupled to a technical foul gave Thunder some encouragement though Sbai went coast to coast and Gill scored and then blocked a Thunder offence as Rockets lead was 71-43 as the final quarter beckoned.
This was a frantic affair as Thunder roared with a 10-0 run broken only by Soukup at the free throw line and a Donaldson key rejection. Taylor continued to score freely from anywhere on the court as only Hendricks hit a treble in this quarter from a Donaldson dish. Suddenly the score was 84-72 and Donaldson was fouled out. As Thunder hit the resultant penalty strokes the Rockets’ lead was just ten points at 84-74 with 2.27 to go…a difference easily attainable in basketball and with Taylor on fire, Rockets needed to button down the hatches. Onto court strode 6’9” captain Carter. He took a pass from Hendricks to score, was called for a technical foul, then took down a pair of key rebounds, got fouled himself and hit one of two shots from the free throw line to stabilise Rockets and see them secure another league victory and remain unbeaten.
The final quarter had seen Thunder roar hitting 40 of their 83 points in this ten minutes with Taylor being the main culprit with 25 points but the 92 -83 win keeps Rockets as one of only two unbeaten sides early in the season. For Rockets Scotty Hendricks’ five from eleven attempts at trebles saw him hit 25 points, Tim Gill had 17 points, Ali Sbai 16 points and Declan Soukup had 12 points.
The National Cup fourth round now awaits Rockets on Sunday 29th October at 5 pm at Bohunt School, Arborfield.
|28/10/2017||17:00||NBL Division 1||2017 / 2018|
|Sheerlands Rd, Wokingham RG40, UK|