|Loughborough Student Riders||83||Win|
Loughborough Riders 83 v 63 Reading Rockets.
In the Playoff Championship quarter final, despite a good and encouraging first half, Rockets couldn’t contain Riders as they stormed the third period 22-10 thanks in principle to outstanding treble shooting. Riders hit five in this quarter and defended stoutly to take a double digit lead into the final stanza, which they edged to take their place in the semi-final stage next weekend.
In the 2 league games Rockets had the head to head as each team won their home game but at the semi-final stage of the National Trophy in January, Riders lifted their game to win and go on and take the Cup. Rockets were quick out of the blocks at the University but A J Carr was a little too enthusiastic as he was called for a pair of fouls inside the opening two minutes of early exchanges, meaning Head Coach Alan Keane had to bring him off court . Captain Danny Carter ( in what was to be his last ever appearance in a Rockets vest ) worked tirelessly inside, took down rebounds and made key assists whilst Sydney Donaldson again proved the heart of the team seeing Rockets to a 19-14 advantage at the first break.
The second quarter was a much lower scoring affair as both defences stayed on top though Riders took the lead for just 50 seconds before the interval before Carter saw Rockets go the locker room 31-30 ahead. The third period was a tough one for Rockets as Riders hit five from beyond the arc compared to just one in the whole of the first 2 periods as they took the quarter 22-10. Carter, Donaldson and Trae Pemberton were the only Rockets scorers as Riders stepped up their already good defence. Despite a David Chive rejection with less than two minutes remaining of the third quarter, Riders stroked a brace of trebles, the last one on the buzzer and giving Riders a big boost and an eleven point lead at 52–41.
A Pemberton effort came back out of the ring at the start of the final quarter before Carr hit his only treble of the afternoon to reduce the deficit. When Carter went inside to score, Rockets found themselves just seven points down inside two minutes. A very tough call with just one second left on the shot clock proved disappointing and costly for Rockets as Riders were secure from the free throw line and hit a pair of trebles to take a fifteen point lead at 64-49 mid way through the quarter. Carter shone throughout the game but especially in the final period as he worked ferociously to take Rockets to the semi-final stage as he poured in ten personal points, drove hard drawing fouls but Rockets just couldn’t find a way of stopping the rampaging Riders. Adrian O’Sullivan hit two trebles to reduce the deficit to just ten points at 63-73 with two minutes remaining but with Rockets needing to stop the clock to regain possession, Riders were frequent visitors to the penalty stripe from which they only missed one whilst Rockets’ treble efforts were unsuccessful as Riders took the quarter final 83-63 with a 10-0 run.
Top scorers for Rockets were Danny Carter with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists with Sydney Donaldson hitting 14 points and taking down 7 rebounds. Adrian O’Sullivan and A J Carr hit 8 points each with Trae Pemberton and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo scoring 7 each.
|06/04/2019||14:00||NBL Div 1||2018 / 2019|
|Loughborough Student Riders||63||Win|
In a most unusual Play-off Championship draw both Rockets Men and Ladies found themselves playing Loughborough away on the same day so they travelled together bringing encouragement to each other with Ladies taking the moral win though Riders went to the semi-final stage with a narrow margin of just five points. From a 3-14 deficit Rockets got within five points midway through the final quarter and into the last 1 minute 17 secs but a very contentious refereeing call saw Rockets top scorer being called for an unsportsmanlike foul and having to leave the court. Despite this impact Rockets Ladies tried fervently to take the victory but just one of three treble efforts hit the target and Riders hit three from the free throw line to move into the semi-final stage. Four of Rockets Ladies had scored double figures compared to just the pair from the Riders professional WBBL team as Rockets fought tirelessly giving a great performance.Riders had made three blocks inside the opening three minutes as Rockets just couldn’t break through the tough defence , finding themselves on the receiving end of a 12-2 Riders run. Rockets captain Maike Delow Fasbender stopped the rot and Noa Sanchez Marques made a pair of steals and finishes before Monica Herranz De Antonio was secure from the penalty stipe as Rockets returned the 12-2 compliment and the scores levelled on 14 apiece. Five unanswered Riders points saw them enjoy a narrow 19-14 advantage at the end of the period.
Andrea Gomez De La Vara stroked the first of her three trebles and Herranz hit one too to stay close to Riders at 20-26. Sanchez Marques caused Riders into a five second inbound violation as Rockets ramped up the pressure but nothing seemed to be going Rockets way as they found themselves 26-37 down at the interval. Head Coach David Sanchez was expecting a fresh upturn in pressure from Riders and quickly Rockets found themselves 42-28 and then 48-32 in arrears as Riders struck a brace of trebles, one on the buzzer. Nonetheless this Rockets Ladies team wears the badge with pride and great team work and ethics shone through as they recovered to 43-48 moments before the last break though Riders went into the last period 50-43 ahead.
Rockets scored off their first possession to close the gap and then made a pair of stops but Riders stroked a treble. Sanchez Marques scored and Herranz De Antonio made a big rejection as the travelling Rockets fans bellowed their encouragement. Another Gomez De La Vara treble saw Rockets just two scores behind at 53-59 with two minutes remaining and Rockets in the ascendancy and causing this smart Riders team many problems they hadn’t envisaged after their early dominance. Then the decision that fuelled up Rockets through losing their stalwart player as Rockets did their upmost to take the win though losing out narrowly 58-63.
Top scorers for Rockets were Monica Herranz with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals accompanied by Andrea Gomez with 13 points, Noa Sanchez with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and Anabel Latorre Ciria with a double double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.
|06/04/2019||16:30||WNBL Div 1||2018 / 2019|
On captain Danny Carter’s final home game at Rivermead on Sunday afternoon, before retiring after some 18 years’ service to Rockets, he shone brightly as he scored 21 points and made 8 assists. Though Mother’s Day, an appreciative crowd turned up to say a hearfelt thank you to the lionheart of the team for this long period of service .
Carter was in majestic form as he poured in 12 pts., in the opening quarter with A J Carr adding 11 pts. as Rockets took control of the game at 30-16. They added a further 29 pts., in the second period to enjoy a 59-39 lead at the interval with Carter having 19 personal points. 17 yo Academy player Sam Grant hit 7 personal points during this time as Trae Pemberton found his treble range and Sydney Donaldson provided the drive energy. Tanner Kuehn made a block and scored to see Rockets 23 points up midway through the period though a buzzer beating treble from Magic reduced the deficit to 20pts at 59-39.
The third quarter was highlighted by a huge treble from Adrian O’Sullivan from inside his own half but there was a back court violation so it didn’t count but was a magnificent shot. Rockets were dominant in the paint and scored 19 pts., from turnovers as well as 19 pts., from fast breaks, much to the delight of Rockets supporters.
Magic had opened the scoring but that was the only time they led throughout the contest as Head Coach Alan Keane saw six of his players reach double digit scores. The low scoring third period saw Magic take it 21-14 as Jonathan Barnes continued his impressive contribution for Magic though Rockets still enjoyed a 73-60 advantage going into the final stanza.
This was highlighted by Rockets last signing before the January deadline, Kuehn stroking three trebles in the last quarter. O’Sullivan wanted to join the party too with Rockets fourth three of the period as they saw out the game 95-85. Coach Keane was pleased to see thirty points from his bench as well as 24 assists and ten steals of which Rockets two big men were the most prominent. Donaldson retrieved a Rockets turn-over with a great interception as Magic fought tirelessly to get close to the hosts but Rockets experience and determination to make this a real day to remember for their retiring captain, saw them take the victory.
Rockets now look forward to the Play-off Championship which starts next weekend with them travelling to Loughborough for the quarter final stage.
Top scorers for Rockets were Danny Carter with 21 pts., 4 rebounds and 8 assists; A J Carr with 19 pts and 9 rebounds; Sydney Donaldson with 13 pts.,6 rebounds and 6 assists together with Tanner Kuehn also scoring 13 pts and 6 rebounds. Adrian O’Sullivan and Trae Pemberton had double digit scores with Pemberton taking down 5 rebounds and having 3 assists.
|31/03/2019||17:00||NBL Div 1||2018 / 2019|
Reading Rockets (13-12) will be looking to finish in fifth position in the NBL Division One table this weekend but to do that they must beat already-relegated Manchester Magic (2-23) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex and hope Derby Trailblazers (14-11) lose to Hemel Storm the night before. If the two teams finish with the same record then the Rockets will take the higher seeded position thanks to beating the Trailblazers by more than they lost to them in league play. The Reading outfit lost the opening encounter 84-94 but secured an 87-74 away win meaning they would have the head to head should any tie occur.
A fourth straight loss for the Berkshire outfit could see them finish as low as eighth position should Essex Leopards (12-13) and Leicester Warriors (12-13) secure final day victories with both teams having the head to head over the Rockets. The Leopards have beaten the Rockets in both league match-ups this season, whilst the Warriors have the points advantage as they cancelled out their 96-82 defeat with a resounding 89-63 last month at Rivermead. The Warriors will host third placed Loughborough Riders whilst the Leopards will welcome champions elect Solent Kestrels (21-4) to Brentwood.
After seeing his side slip to their second and third defeats in a row with losses to Loughborough Riders (81-84) and Team Newcastle (77-80) last weekend, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane knows Sunday’s game is crucial to secure the best league position possible and take a win into the post season. The Reading play-caller said,
“Last weekend’s two defeats were big blows for us but there is no time to dwell on it, we must learn and be better and move on to this weekend’s challenge. We performed well on Saturday against Loughborough which is a big positive but it was disappointing to lose the game but then to follow it up with a poor performance and poor result was tough to take. However, the one thing this group does is come back into practice, work hard to improve, hold each other accountable, and keep working to be the best versions of themselves and that is exactly what we will do this week in preparation.”
“This team can beat anyone on it’s day and now we need to find that ingredient to do so as we head into the last couple of games; I really believe in the guys and I think if we can mould a few things this week, we can be a force to be reckoned with in the post season.”
Rockets will go into their final home game of the 2018-2019 campaign with no new injury concerns and a fully fit roster to select from. Captain Danny Carter will play his last ever league game in front of his home crowd with the 30 year old forward retiring at the end of the season. The Berkshire outfit will play their play-off quarter-final game away from home the following weekend and will know their fate at the end of Sunday’s match-up against Manchester Magic which is also expected to be a sell-out.
|Team Newcastle University||80||Win|
Reading Rockets 77 v 80 Team Newcastle
Having been relegated the previous evening, Team Newcastle appear to have lulled Rockets into a false sense of security, a trap they operated successfully.Rockets supporters had packed Rivermead hoping to see the anticipated victory which would virtually assure Rockets of a home draw in the Play-off Championship quarter finals in 2 weeks’ time. But this was a rude awakening against a side who had nearly won on their own court just a few weeks back when Rockets scrambled an overtime win. For the second evening on the trot Rockets surrendered a double digit lead much to the consternation of all who witnessed Rockets demise.
Perhaps of most concern is that Rockets only shot 12% of their treble efforts against an average of 37%, only 3 in the first half and none in the second half against 10 drained by the opposition…..a difference in itself of 21 points alone. Rockets had begun well as A J Carr again was most impressive with nearly half of Rockets 25 points as Adrian O’Sullivan and Trae Pemberton complimented him with a brace of trebles and 16 yo David Chive threw a length of the court pass to fellow Academy youngster Arinze Emeka -Anyakwo to score. Rockets headed to the first break 25-20 in the lead.
Captain Danny Carter was able to return after missing the previous evenings away game in Loughborough and increased Rockets advantage with an up and under inside basket before scoring off the glass and sending an assist to O’Sullivan to score. Rockets kept the 5 point advantage for most of the second period , even enjoying a 9 point lead with just over one minute remaining before the interval but a Newcastle rally took them to the interval just 44-47 down.
Having missed on their opening offense from possession at the start of the third quarter, Newcastle hit a treble to tie the game on 47. This was repeated on 49 and 57 but a step back finish from Carter coupled to 6 and 7 point personal hauls from Sydney Donaldson and Trae Pemberton respectively saw Rockets enjoy a 66-60 lead going into the final period. A pair of Rockets misses either side of a Newcastle treble was soon settled as Carr scored off the rim, from the free throw line and from the top of the key, so increasing Rockets narrow lead to 9 again at 72-63 . However a turn over, a steal and another Newcastle treble gave them a 11-0 run despite the efforts of O’Sullivan taking a charge to stop another Newcastle score. Rockets nervousness was there to be seen no doubt with last nights loss from an even better position and the thought of a third consecutive defeat just ahead of the Play-offs. From level on 72 Newcastle drained a treble and scored inside though O’Sullivan hit 1 from 2 from the penalty stripe. A huge Pemberton treble seemed destined to score but it went in and rimmed out much to the frustration of the Rockets supporters. Chive scored to reduce the deficit to just 2 inside the last minute but Newcastle scored again. A might Carr treble effort came back off the ring and even though Carter saw Rockets close to 3 points adrift of Newcastle, Rockets couldn’t tie the game as they did in Newcastle a few weeks ago and resigned themselves to a loss at 77-80.
Top scorers for Rockets were A J Carr with 20 pts and 7 rebounds, Sydney Donaldson with 13 points and 4 rebounds together with Danny Carter with 12 pts., and 6 rebounds and Trae Pemberton with 10 pts, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Rockets now finish their league campaign at home next Sun 31st when Danny Carter bids his retirement farewell after some 18 year with the Club only interrupted with a 4 year stint at college in the States.
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|24/03/2019||17:00||NBL Div 1||2018 / 2019|