What an achievement by Rockets as both U 18 Junior Men and Girls win through to the National Cup Finals in the New Year.
Reading Rockets Junior Men 88-78 Sussex Storm
Rockets, playing at their home court of the John Madejski Academy, started the game on the front foot racing into a 9-1 lead but were pegged back by their opponents as Sussex made an impressive 17-2 run to lead 18-11 midway through the quarter. And it was the visitors to Reading that would finish the period on top as they led 24-32 after only ten minutes.
Rockets responded well as a 7-0 run to open the second quarter reduced the arrears to just one at 31-32. The home team really improved their defence and kept the Storm to nine points in the second stanza as they headed into the locker room with a two point advantage leading 43-41 at the break.
A nip and tuck opening to the third quarter saw the game finally poised at 46-45 before Sussex blew the game open with a 18-5 run to lead 63-50 with two and a half minutes remaining in the period. Rockets did trim the deficit to eight at the end of thirty minutes as Storm took a 26-16 quarter to lead 59-67.
But the Rockets weren’t done and had an excellent start to the final quarter as a 19-2 run propelled them into a nine point lead, 78-69; an advantage they wouldn’t surrender. The visitors reduced the deficit to seven but another 10-2 run for the home team ensured delight for the Berkshire outfit at they won a pulsating encounter 88-78 to secure their place in the National Cup final when they will take on Haringey Hawks in Essex.
Head Coach Ben Fisher was very proud of the players and was particularly praiseworthy of point guard David Chive. He said,
“I am so proud of the group and the way they never gave up. We have a real resilience in this team and that showed later in the game even when we were 13 down. The guys deserve this win so much and I am so pleased we get a chance to compete in a national final.”
“I must also give credit to David Chive who was fantastic throughout the whole game and led the team with a huge 33 point haul but today was really about the whole group and their character to win a hard fought contest ” said Head Coach Ben Fisher.
U 18 Girls
City of London Academy 62 – 69 Reading Rockets
In a very big day for Rockets U 18 Girls they narrowly beat CoLA to take them to their first ever National Cup Final !!
CoLA are a very skilful and tough team at both ends of the court and are always prepared and ready to do battle. On Saturday the Rockets U 18’s managed to overcome them in a titanic battle by 69-62.
Coach Blai Benlloch reflected ‘ the game was tied for nearly all of the first 35 minutes but with just 4 minutes to go ColA took a 6 pint advantage and our girls needed to dig deeper and ignite the Rocket in them. In the final minutes Rockets hit a brace of key trebles and played some of the best defence we have played all game to hold the opposition to very few tough moments for them. Our thanks go to Coach Jackson and his always impressive team and Rockets is honoured to take our place in the final in January.’
Now to a historic day for Reading Rockets on Sat 19th January 2019…what a start to the New Year for Rockets elite performance programme.