Nottingham Hoods 79 v 98 Reading Rockets
After a 7 week enforced lay-off due to Covid, Rockets were slow out of the blocks in the Midlands and trailed 17-21 at the first break as Head Coach Alan Keane looked to introduce recent signing Jonny Foulds into the game together with the ever improving Kivuvu Live (known as KV) and 4 other Academy players.
The second period opened with more confidence and despite having been by 6 points throughout most of the first and early part of the second period, settled into amore cohesive unit displaying encouraging aspects. Foulds had a purple patch where he hit 6 consecutive
points which gave Rockets the lead for only the second time at 32/31 and from where Rockets ignited and took the second quarter by 31 -19 giving them an interval lead of 49-40 through some great defence including 24 second stops and control of the boards, especially from birthday boy Reis Pinnock.
Though the hosts had first possession at the start of the third quarter, it was a steal and finish by Rockets that saw them increase in dominance and confidence with a vast improvement in treble shooting coupled to quicker transition plays. Coach Keane was able to give big minutes to his academy players , a vital ingredient of Rockets beliefs in releasing young talent onto the floor. A resounding winning period of 25-19 had Rockets taking a 74-59 advantage into the last stanza.Here Rockets saw themselves 21 points up at 82-61 quite early so more opportunity for Coach Keane to give all his senior players much rest time too as they recover from the coronavirus which has taken much of their energy levels but with the academy players hitting step back shots and trebles as well as being influential on the boards, Coach Keane will have been glad to not only coach a game ( the first one since late November ) but also see a glimmer of fitness returning as the compressed league fixtures now come hard and fast. With Rockets American guard O’Showen top scoring with 23 points and giving 5 assists to be the Player of the Game, coupled to Rockets seasoned professional Leome Francis hitting 18 points as did 6’9” Academy guard Sam Grant though probably the most rewarding for all Rockets supporters was seeing KV hit 7 points and take down 11 rebounds in a cameo role earning him the Elephant & Castle Impact Player of the Game as Rockets took the victory 98-79.
Rockets next game is also away to Bradford next Saturday.