Head Coach Alan Keane travelled to Kent in the knowledge that all his squad were fit for the first time since early season and ready for the March madness of league games as Rockets vie for a play-off spot. However an early injury to American shooting guard , Trae Pemberton scuppered Keane’s plans and put extra pressure against the very fast and furious Barking team. Keane was pleased to see Sam Grant shirted up again and gave him plenty of court time as he re-introduced the 16 yo to Senior basketball.
The long journey to Canterbury, most in darkness, was not helped when the tip was delayed until 8.50 pm, yes 8.50 pm. The opening two minutes saw nobody troubling the scoreboard but then Barking stroked the first of their trebles before teenager David Chive saw Rockets first points go on the board. Captain Danny Carter was playing well at both ends leading by example whilst A J Carr caused trouble for Barking with his inside presence which he coupled to hitting his first treble. Sydney Donaldson took an assist off Chive to give Rockets a four point advantage but a 6-0 Barking finish edged them ahead 20-18 at the first break.
Adrian O’Sullivan drove to score but went over on his ankle and Rockets supporters and bench looked as he limped away, knowing he’s just come back from a month out of the team. What a relief when after a couple of minutes he was running quite freely . Carter was again dominant inside, influential on the boards and made a big rejection to stop Barking. The game was again tied on 30 points each but a brace of trebles and secure from the free throw line saw Barking head to the locker room with an extended advantage of 44-38.
A ten point personal haul by O’Sullivan including a pair of trebles kept Barking honest and Rockets in the game whilst Carter drove and scored with a reverse lay-up, hit a down town treble and gave an assist to Grant to score his first points after the 4 week lay-off. A buzzer beating treble from Donaldsonwas one of the highlights of some excellent Rockets team play as with four minutes of the third period remaining Rockets trailed by a single point at 58-59with a 14-5 run having been eleven behind at 43-54. A 10-4 Barking run at the end of the quarter aided by four from the line and a three point final play saw Rockets adrift 62-69 as the final quarter beckoned.
Either side of the end of the last period and beginning of this one, Rockets couldn’t buy a bucket as the ball just wouldn’t drop and after a 7-0 Barking run Rockets found themselves fourteen points down at 62-76. Despite Donaldson being called for his fifth and excluding foul, Rockets fought with four trebles from O’Sullivan, Carter and a brace from Carr but their efforts ended in vain as Barling took the win 95-84.
Tops corers for Rockets were A J Carr with 24 points, Danny Carter with 19 pts and Adrian O’Sullivan with 17 pts.
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