After a very slow start and finding themselves 0-9 down in the opening exchanges thanks mainly to Thunder’s outstanding guard Zaire Taylor, Rockets slowly got into the game but were further adrift at the end of the first quarter by 8-20. Following a treble from Sydney Donaldson at the start of period two, Thunder plundered another 7-0 run to lead 27-11 causing Head Coach Manuel Pena Garces to call a time-out and regroup his team. And how they responded changed the whole complexion of the game as Rockets went on a 8-0 run and then another burst of 7-0 as Ali Sbai, Declan Soukup and Donaldson drained trebles though a Thunder treble in the last 30 seconds meant Rockets still trailed 30-35 at the interval.
Donaldson was at the heart of the action including some great floor hustle from which he managed to make a pass to Tim Gill to score. Gill had totalled ten points by the break and was imposing himself increasingly whilst defensively Rockets knew they had to get tighter on Thunder’s main threat, Taylor, who had amassed 19 points out of their 35. The half time instruction certainly brought results as Rockets powered their way through the third quarter by 29-11 including a 12-0 run giving Rockets a cushion as Soukup lit up the arena with three trebles and Jonny Foulds helping himself to one also. Taylor was harnessed with just 2 points and Rockets displayed some great team work as Foulds took a charge ( something of a regular occurrence with this brave young man ) and captain Danny Carter celebrated his birthday with dominance on the boards, a pair of dishes, a lay-up and one from the penalty stripe. Simas Raupys was also secure from the line as Rockets finished the period 59-46 ahead.
Donaldson again showed the effort needed to compete at this level as he rose high and determined to reach a rebound from a Carter treble attempt, making sure Rockets were not going to let Thunder back into the game. A 21-15 final quarter ensured Rockets came away with the victory though the most pleasing aspect for the coaching team was the improvement in performance and signs that after two competitive games, there was visual change with the offensive taking shape and the defence more certain leaving the impressive Taylor with no points in quarter four and only two in the second half. Gill helped himself to 11 personal points in this period and was the games’ leading scorer as Rockets won 80-61.
Top scorers for Rockets were Tim Gill with 25pts .and 8 rebounds; Declan Soukup with 16 pts., 6 rebounds and 3 steals and Sydney Donaldson with a double double of 15 pts., 12 rebounds to which he added 5 assists and a pair of steals.
Rockets now travel to newly promoted Team Newcastle next weekend in their first league encounter of the season.
|30/09/2017||19:30||National Trophy||2017 / 2018|
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