Oaklands Wolves 77 | A.J. Roberts, 22 PTS, 15 REB | K. Daley, 15 PTS, 4 REB
Reading Rockets 98 | L. Francis, 19 PTS, 7 REB | J. Bains, 14 PTS, 6 STL
Rockets’ transfer deadline signing of Jaz Bains appears a good move as he makes an exciting debut with four trebles in a 14 point haul coupled to 6 steals and a block as Rockets eased past Wolves on their fourth successive away game. Rockets went down by double digits in the opening few minutes at 4-14 but a 16-8 run saw Head Coach Alan Keane herald the changes to see the hosts have just a 2 point lead at the end of the first quarter by 22-20 with O’Showen Williams making a buzzer beating score to keep Rockets close.
Rockets trailed till midway through the second period before Reis Pinnock and Leome Francis made lay-ups off good approach play and Chuck Duru hit a pull up and a treble to see Rockets have 6 point advantage at 51-45 at the interval thanks to a 31-23 quarter. However Wolves came straight back to within a point and then drew level on 56 and 62 before a 10-2 finish by Rockets, including a buzzer beating treble from Bains, saw Rockets with a 72-64 advantage going into the final stanza.
Academy player Lattrell Maitland hit a treble, mirrored by yet another Bains treble as Rockets shot out of the blocks at the start of the final quarter. Power forward Kivuvu Live, another academy player made a layup and took down a key rebound before Pinnock and Bains each made steals from which they scored as Rockets opened up a 21 point lead at 91-70 which they were to maintain till the final buzzer as they took the deserved victory 98-77.
This was another encouraging performance for Coach Keane as he now has a fit and Covid free squad. Stats wise both teams were evenly matched in most areas except with treble shooting and free throws where Rockets converted 69%. Rockets only had 16 turnovers and the bench points contribution showed the growing strength in the team even with young, academy and inexperienced players.
Rockets now look forward to 3 consecutive home games though lockdown still means , no spectators to watch this entertaining team. Top scorers for Rockets were Leome Francis with 19 pts and 7 rebounds followed by Jaz Bains with 14 pts, 6 steals and a block and the dependable O’Showen Williams with 13 pts, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Reis Pinnock was again outstanding with 10 pts, 6 rebounds 3 assists and 4 steals as Sam Toluwase also hit 10 pts and took down 5 rebounds. Chuck Duru and academy youngster Latrell Maitland both hit 9 pts with Duru taking down 4 rebounds and Maitland doing likewise with 3 rebounds.
Leicester Warriors are Rockets’ next opponents on Sat 27th Feb.