Reading Rockets vs Bradford Dragons

With injury and sickness having depleted Coach Keane’s squad and interfered with his game preparation, he had no hesitation in promoting 18yo Asher Ndah to the starting five. The John Madejski Academy student showed not only his talent but also his invaluable worth to Rockets at this top level as he blitzed the opening quarter with ten personal point but also stroked a key buzzer beating treble getting Rockets to within a single point of their visitors at the interval.

In fact the first score of the game was a treble from Ndah and though the mercurial Nick Richards spun to extend Rockets early advantage, a 6-0 Bradford Dragons run caused Coach Keane to call a time-out. Liam Davis hit a jump shot and then a long two but Dragons shooting guard David Walsh was on electric form hitting three trebles in the opening period as he also took the last shot to give the visitors a 27-20 lead at the first break.

Guard Ben Dixon took his usual charge, a characteristic of the Aussie and then he drove, drew the foul and made a crucial three point play and cause Dragons Head Coach Chris Mellor to take a time-out. Another pair of trebles from the Dragons guard Walsh was matched with fast breaks and steals from Rockets which they converted into points to reduce the deficit. A Davis block lit up the court and a Richards electrically fast back track stopped a certain Dragons score. A brace of free throws from Carr brought Rockets to within three points before another Dragons treble. However the tempo had now increased markedly by the hosts and with Carr scoring off an offensive rebound and receiving an assist from Richards to add to his score, it was just left to the young Ndah to stroke the buzzer beating treble seeing the home team behind by just 45-46 at the interval.

As the third quarter started Dragons Walsh had scored 22 of their 46 points so was clearly a target for Rockets better defence….and how well they stopped him throughout the remainder of the game as Walsh didn’t add to his personal score. Davis and Richards gave Rockets the lead at the start of the period and then a Richards steal and finger roll coupled to a Dixon drive and a Davis pull up jump shot saw Rockets 55-50 up. Ndah and Dixon double teamed Dragons to cause the visitors to turn the ball over much to the delight of the appreciative crowd and then Matias Boho hit a wide treble to increase Rockets lead midway through the quarter having also kept Dragons to just four points in that time. Carr needed a further rest having been winded in one collision , and he didn’t have much wind at the start of the game !!.Captain Potter came in for a three point play but five unanswered points including a buzzer beating Dragons treble meant Rockets lead was just 63-61 as the final quarter beckoned.


Reading Rockets vs Leicester Warriors

With Rivermead not available Rockets played in the confines of the John Madejski Academy sports hall though with loud and dedicated supporters.

Rockets recorded their sixth win on the trot as they overcome a strong and talented Warriors team after the game was level at 41 each at the interval but Rockets took the last 2 quarters by 41- 26 to take a convincing victory and keep the pressure on the unbeaten Solent Kestrels whom Rockets face away on Saturday.

Rockets stormed the opening minutes, Ben Dixon made a great steal and a block as Rockets established a 8-0 run before Warriors took a time-out. From that moment Warriors hit 3 trebles as they went on an 18- 8 run to take the first period 18-16 having surprised the confident Rockets with their offensive prowess.

Nick Richards brought Rockets level on 18 and with David Chive and A J Carr also adding to Rockets points , the hosts found themselves 5 points up but another treble from Warriors kept the scores close or tied throughout this second quarter. Chive hit Rockets first treble and then Carr and Matias Boho stroked a brace as Rockets went to the locker room level on 41 points with Warriors American T J Henderson leading all scorers with 19 of Warriors 41 points. Rockets had commanded the boards by 20-13 and already had made 8 assists but the 6 Warriors trebles showed Head Coach Alan Keane that his team needed to step up if they wanted to take the victory.

Rockets fast breaks had caused Warriors problems in the first half and was to remain a thorn in Warriors side as Rockets peppered a total of 24 points against Warriors 6 in the second half.

Liam Davis hit a long score from wide out but an interception by Richards was the early highlight of the third quarter as he rose to slam dunk and raise the roof of the arena. Still Warriors stayed in contention to level at 51 but a 9-0 run saw Rockets enjoy a 60-51 advantage as the final period beckoned., thanks in part to a 10 point personal haul by Richards and a huge block by Boho that again raised the roof.

Richards had another slam dunk to open the quarter giving Rockets their first double digit advantage , something they weren’t to lose for the remainder of the game. Chive stroked a treble from wide out and then Richards made a steal and scored with a finger roll. Another huge and powerful rejection by Boho was acclaimed around the arena and soon Rockets had a 70-56 lead with over 6 minutes to go. Still the Warriors cry went up ’ there’s plenty of time ‘ as indeed there was but Rockets now looked very strong and determined to keep such a lead and take another win. Richards finished yet another excellent display by the American guard with a rejection followed by a slam and a free throw as Rockets extended their winning streak to 6. As the score line showed an 82-67 victory.

Rockets had kept Warriors Henderson to just 5 points in the second half as Rockets made 15 steals to disrupt Warriors offence whilst also outscoring Warriors 48-34 in the paint.

Top scorers for Rockets and the Nando’s Player of the Game , was Nick Richards who hit 32 pts, took down 6 rebounds, made 4 steals and 3 assists. A J Carr was near to a double double with 15 pts and 8 rebounds whilst Academy student David Chive hit 10 pts and made 3 assists though Coach Keane will have been delighted with most of Rockets second half display after his interval team talk.
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Reading Rockets vs BARKING ABBEY UEL

In an action packed thriller at the John Madejski Academy as Rivermead was not available, Rockets came from 2-14 down in the opening 4 minutes of the game to secure an emphatic victory by 26 points as they turned the game on its head from that moment onwards. The introduction of Ed Potter from that fourth minute stepped up Rockets defence, saw them work harder on the boards and when not in possession of the ball whilst Potter personally hit 10 points, took down a key rebound, made a steal, as well as a save to ignite Rockets and lead by example as a captain should. After Barking hit back to back trebles to disturb Rockets from the tip it was a Liam Davis score that put points onto the board for the home side. Nick Richards stepped in with a couple of assists and 4 points but Rockets were adrift 18-15 at the first break.

Ben Dixon took a charge in the opening seconds of period two and Barking’s Head Coach was called for a technical foul which Richards converted to set Rockets on their way to an impressive 27-16 quarter score. Potter continued where he’d left off with a spin score and a defensive rebound and Matias Boho scored ten personal points in this quarter and took down a pair of rebounds though Barking still controlled the boards at both ends of the court with the stats showing 28-18 in their favour. Nonetheless it was the role of another Rockets academy player, Asher Ndah, to score and give Rockets the lead for the first time in the game at 32-31 in the latter stage of this period. Boho was secure from the penalty stripe and stroked Rockets first and sole treble before the interval which was clinically finished by Nick Richards with a buzzer beating score off the glass seeing Rockets with a slender 45-41 half time advantage.

Liam Davis exchanged telling passes to Nick Richards as the American guard hit back to back scores before Matias Boho stroked a treble. When Dixon scored off an offensive rebound and then form a David Chive steal, Rockets enjoyed a double digit lead for the first time in the game and one which they never looked like losing for the remainder of the game. A Dixon floater was followed by an exquisite bounce pass from Potter for Davis to score which Potter followed with a defensive rebound, drive and score giving Rockets a 63-49 advantage.

Pau Major hit the first of his 4 trebles and Potter ended the quarter with a reverse lay-up. Rockets headed to the last period with a 72-54 lead thanks to another ten point haul for the third Rockets player in consecutive quarters via Nick Richards.

Sam Grant hit a wide treble and Rockets defence caused Barking into a 24 second violation before a great pass form Potter to Davis saw the big man slam dunk. A Potter save saw Rockets move 21 points ahead at 81-60 and allowing Head Coach Alan Keane to exercise his academy players for half of the last quarter which they took 18-13 and rounded off a solid final three quarters for Rockets where they hit 27 points in each and defended stoutly to restrict the talented Barking side to just to 16, 13 and 19 respectively and seeing Rockets to a deserved victory that takes them to second in the league.

This is encouraging start so early in the season for Coach Keane and his coaching team, the players themselves and the supporters though it’s recognised there’s a long way to go to the end of March.

Top scorers for Rockets were captain Ed Potter with 20 pts, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Nick Richards hit 19 pts and made 3 assists whilst Pau Major made his best contribution so far this season with 17 pts which included 4 trebles coupled to 4 rebounds and 7 assists. Matias Boho hit 14 pts took down 6 rebounds and made a p[air of assists and Liam Davis finished with a double double of 11 pts and 12 rebounds.

Ed Potter collected the Nando’s Player of the Game award for his leadership and his personal performance.


READING ROCKETS vs Team Solent Kestrels


Reading Rockets vs Thames Valley Cavaliers

With Rivermead unavailable Rockets played this game at their training and academy venue, The John Madejski Academy.  Two of the young Academy students played major roles in this vital win that sees Rockets up to 5th place in the league, as 16 yo David Chive made a steal with just 4.6 secs remaining and then hit both free throws in an ice cool manner to see Rockets secure the game. Arinze Emeka Anyakwo had his best game at this level by far as he knew before tip that captain Danny Carter was side-lined with his ongoing back strain so put in the performance of his Senior season as he top scored with 22 points and was a major trouble to Cavaliers from tip to buzzer.

With both teams playing the night before and not getting back till the early hours of Sunday, both Head Coaches would have been conscious of tiredness and concentration maybe creeping in as the game progressed but neither had any such worries as the game was extremely tight from tip to the last play which quarter differences of just 1, 2, 1 and 3 show. The opening 10 points were shared as Emeka Anyakwo hit 5 of them before A J Carr stroked a big treble and added 6 personal points but having had a 17-9 lead Rockets had a 13-4 reversal to be adrift 21-22 at the end of the quarter.

Period 2 began with the lead being swapped by virtually each offense. Sydney Donaldson and Trae Pemberton stroked trebles as the game hotted up and Tanner Kuehn was secure from the penalty stripe. A Cavaliers tip in with the last play saw Rockets ahead but just by 40-38.

Some strong defence helped Rockets to extend their advantage at the start of the third period whilst Pemberton and Chive were on the money beyond the arc. Within 4 minutes of the re-start Rockets enjoyed their best lead of double figures at 50-40  but Cavaliers hit back with a 15-5 run to draw level on 55 apiece before Donaldson hit a free throw to see Rockets go into the final stanza with a single point lead of 56-55.

Cavaliers took the early lead before Donaldson struck a treble but the game was soon tied on 59. A Cavaliers treble, one of just 2 successful ones during the whole game for them,  edged them ahead and with 2 minutes 20 sec to go Rockets were 3 down.  An assist from Carr to Emeka-Anyakwo saw him draw Rockets level on 66 with a key treble. Carr scored inside with 1.06 left but Cavaliers had possession. Rockets stopped them scoring and then and having had a shot rim out, Rockets needed another stop. And how they did it as 16 yo Chive made a steal and held on to the ball as he was fouled. With huge confidence the youngster hit both free throws to give Rockets a virtually unassailable 4 point advantage with just 1.9 secs on the clock. Cavaliers hit a single point but the sweet victory belonged to Rockets 70-67 and a rise of 2 places up the league table to 5th with just 4 games remaining, the final 2 being at Rivermead  on 24th and 31st March.

Top scorers for Rockets were Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo with 22 pts and 6 rebounds ably assisted by A J Carr with 16 pts and 7 rebounds coupled to 4 assists and 3 steals. Trae Pemberton had recovered enough to score 15 pts, take down 7 rebounds and make 3 assists with Sydney Donaldson nearly having a double double with 8 pts and 10 rebounds.

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