|Loughborough Student Riders||70||Loss|
A packed Rivermead were witnesses to a great game as Rockets ignited in the first quarter, petered out a little in the second and then roared away on fire in the third and fourth periods to take a key win early in the season. Riders defeated Rockets twice last season , once in the Play-offs so this was a good barometer for Head Coach Alan Keane as Rockets took Riders unbeaten early season record with a purposeful offensive play before the interval coupled to an upbeat defensive team play from the interval onwards.
A J Carr was prominent on his return to Rivermead as he amassed 14 points in the opening quarter including a brace of trebles as Rockets took the period 30-21. Captain Ed Potter led by example taking down 4 rebounds and Rockets hit their highest points total of an opening quarter giving encouragement to the most appreciative crowd.
Back to back trebles from Riders quickly cut the deficit but a big defensive rebound by A J followed by a fade away score saw Rockets ahead 36-29. Another long Riders treble got the benefit of the roll of the ring and despite a long Nick Richards finish and a Potter inside score the game was tied on 40 each. Riders had controlled the boards in this period by 16-8 compared to Rockets dominance of them 14-8 in he first period. Riders then hit the last points to leave Rockets trailing 42-40 having lost the quarter 10-21.
Head Coach Alan Keane had now clearly seen the task ahead and made most effective use of the 15 minute interval to fire up his Rockets again. A Richards drive and Matias Boho dish to A J for a treble saw the game tied twice in a few minutes on 45 and 48 . A J hit another wide treble and Richards took down a key defensive rebound, was fouled and hit both penalty scores keeping Rockets on fire and energised. As both teams fought for control of the game, it was Rockets who took control with a 17-9 run which included an A J dish to Boho to stroke a treble quickly followed by a Sam Grant assist to A J to hit his 4 from 5 trebles. As David Chive gave Richards a superb assist and another Academy product Grant finished the period with a tip in Rockets enjoyed a 65-57 lead as the final stanza beckoned.
A 28-13 final quarter was the highlight of the excellent game as Pau Major scored off an offensive rebound to open his home venue Rockets account whilst A J spun to score. Richards starred in this period as he scored 11 personal points, made a steal, took a charge and took down 3 more rebounds firing Rockets to a storming quarter. Sam Grant had his most impressive performance of the season to date as he spun to score and then hit a trademark treble to have a season high 12 points complemented with 4 rebounds. Coach Keane was pleased with his senior players and keen to give his 5 academy students more court time that he brought them off court to a tumultuous reception from the appreciative crowd. This had been an excellent team performance so early in the season with encouraging signs for the long season ahead, recognising that this is a most competitive league with 4 different winners of the 4 trophies last season. It was so appropriate that one of Rockets exciting academy players, Ross Stepney hit Rockets last points as they took a well-deserved victory by 93-70.
Nick Richards was the first recipient of the Nando’s Player of the Game , a great start to his Rockets career as he also top scored with 30 pts; took down 8 rebounds. made 3 steals and a pair of assists. A J Carr hit 26 pts; took down 4 rebounds, made 3 steals and 3 assists with Sam Grant hitting 12 pts and taking down 4 rebounds though this was very much a whole team performance.
|13/10/2019||17:00||NBL Div 1||2019 / 2020|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|