With both teams suffering recent heavy defeats and tumbling down the table at a time when both are seeking Play-off Championship places, they knew that one of them would be encouraged and strive for that elusive place and hopefully home advantage in this most competitive of leagues where 4 games finished within 2 points of each other the night before.
The ever improving American A J Carr hit a treble, had a tip in and stroked one free throw in the opening minutes though Dragons stirred up some fire to level on 8 points each. Rockets had worked all week on their defence as identified as ‘ not up to standard ‘ by Head Coach Alan Keane after recent losses. , and how that showed as they pressurised Dragons from tip to buzzer. 16 yo David Chive hit a treble, took an assist from Sydney Donaldson to make another 3 point play before Tanner Kuehn hit a step back treble to see Rockets lead 21-15 at the first break.
Chive was quickly out of the traps as he made a steal, went coast to coast and scored with the opening offensive of period two before he sent an assist to Kuehn to score and give Rockets a double digit lead at 25-15, something they were to extend significantly as they cruised the quarter 33-13 having a 54-28 lead at the interval. Both Carr and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo hit wide trebles and Kuehn sent an exquisite bounce pass to his captain Danny Carter to score with a slam dunk. When Donaldson went off the glass Rockets enjoyed a twenty point advantage and then Chive hit another treble this time from the top of the key.
Dragons had been stirred during the interval as Ricky Fetske stroked three consecutive trebles though Donaldson, Chive and Carr replied for Rockets but Dragons took the quarter 25-19 reducing Rockets lead to 73-53 despite a big Carr rejection and a Carter spin fake score.
The fourth quarter saw Rockets imperious from beyond the arc as they stroked five trebles in a 27-7 final push as they secured a key 100-60 victory. Nine of Rockets players scored in this period with the biggest appreciation coming as the academy youngsters all scored with 16 yo James Jolly hitting the 100 point score on the buzzer as he finished a fine Rockets move. Adrian O’Sullivan had had ten minutes court time in his first game for 5 weeks hitting a brace of trebles in this period whilst Trae Pemberton delved deep to hit a pair of downtown trebles too. And Adrian Nosa sank a big treble moments before Academy youngster David Obediah scored to loud applause from the appreciative supporters.
Though A J Carr yet again top scored for Rockets with 28 pts.,and 8 rebounds, it was the 16 yo David Chive who had his best game of the season to date as he scored 18 pts., took down 4 rebounds, made 5 steals and had 4 assists to complete an excellent performance. Sydney Donaldson hit 11 pts.,made 4 assists and 3 steals whilst Trae Pemberton hit 10 pts.
Rockets stay in 7th place in the table but have 2 games in hand over the 4th and 5th placed teams so everything to play for in the final 7 weeks of the league season.
|17/02/2019||17:00||NBL Div 1||2018 / 2019|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|