Reading Rockets vs Manchester Magic

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.

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Reading Rockets vs Team Newcastle University

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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Reading Rockets vs Nottingham Hoods

Before another packed crowd at Rivermead, Rockets secured a fine win against another Championship Play-off contender. Again American shooting guard Trae Pemberton was on fire as he added 26 points to his 30 from last night as both teams were a little less energetic having both played the two joint league leaders the night before. Hoods scored first but that was the only time they led. David Chive replied with a treble and ignited Rockets as captain Danny Carter gave the first of his 4 assists to Pemberton before Sydney Donaldson hit 3 from 4 from the penalty stripe, Chive scored again and Carter spun to help Rockets to an 8 point lead at 12-4. Hoods fought back but a Tanner Kuehn tip in and an Adrian O’Sullivan cross court assist to Chive to hit another treble saw Rockets 21-16 ahead at the first break.

The second quarter was a quieter time for both sides as a little tiredness crept in but A J Carr and Pemberton kept the Rockets scoreboard ticking though Rockets advantage was just 4 at the interval 38-34. Hoods were just one shot off the lead before the last play from which Chive scored on the buzzer. Rockets hit five trebles in the third quarter with Pemberton helping himself to 3 as Carr and Donaldson also stroked one apiece. Carr had upped the tempo after the interval as he fought tenaciously on the floor for possession whilst Donaldson took down a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score. O’Sullivan gave Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo his first points but a pair of 3 point plays kept Hoods on Rockets tail. The diminutive O’Sullivan stood tall and strong to take a charge and stop the high scoring and big forward Cole Welle from scoring. Carter sent an assist to Pemberton which he repeated to Donaldson a moment later and Rockets had their first double digit lead at 63-52. Hoods hit the final shot to trail by 9, 54-63 as the final quarter beckoned.

Donaldson again took down a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score, this time drawing a foul and hitting the resultant penalty shot. Ex Rockets Tintin Watts sent a scorcher of a treble from down town but Pemberton replied with a replica shot with the next offense. Rockets enjoyed their biggest lead of 15 points soon after but Hoods went on a 8-0 run just as Rockets supporters were thinking ‘ game over’ . 3 quick points from Donaldson and a Carter rejection saw Rockets regain a double digit advantage with 4 minutes remaining, something they extended to 12 points by the time of the final buzzer at 88-76.

This was another key win for Rockets who stay well in contention for not only a Championship Play-off place but also maybe a home draw if they can reach fourth place in the league.

Top scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 26 pts., ( giving him a weekend total of 56 pts ) , 7 assists and 5 rebounds with Sydney Donaldson having a double double with 16 pts., and 10 rebounds; A J Carr also with 16 pts., and 5 rebounds and Academy young man making a noise in Div.1 with 10 pts. ,and 3 assists, David Chive.

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READING ROCKETS vs Ipswich

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Reading Rockets vs Team Solent Kestrels

In a pulsating game at Rivermead on Saturday evening, Rockets got to within a whisker of defeating Kestrels,  missing some free throws with less than 10 seconds remaining. Nonetheless this was  most encouraging from Rockets in a game where two players had outstanding  performances namely Kestrels Travis Charles with 29 points and ten rebounds together with Rockets  Trae Pemberton with 30 points , 5 assists, 2 steals and 5 rebounds. ..a pair of gladiators trying to help their team across the winning line.

Kestrels shot off to a 10-2 start but after a time out by Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane, Rockets went on a 21-10 run to take the opening quarter 23-20 with captain Danny Carter scoring 10 points including a brace of trebles and Tanner Kuehn tipping in on the buzzer.  The Mead had an electric atmosphere. Kestrels are not just joint league leaders and title favourites for nothing and responded with a 20-7 run in the second period restricting Rockets to just 16 points too and hitting a buzzer beating treble to take a 43-39 interval advantage to the dressing room.

A Pemberton treble brought the deficit back to a single point with the first offence of the third quarter and soon an A J Carr hook gave Rockets the lead. Another treble from Pemberton extended the advantage before Kestrels tied the game on 49, 51 and 53 prior to a barrage of four trebles as they just couldn’t miss, which saw Rockets 7 points adrift. 14 Pemberton points and a buzzer beating treble from Academy player Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo kept Rockets in the hunt for the victory though 64-69 down as the final stanza began.

17 year old David Chive scored to start this vital period but again four more Kestrels trebles were only answered by a Pemberton one as Kestrels led by 11 points at 79-68 with just over 7 minutes remaining. Sydney Donaldson sent an assist to Pemberton to stroke another treble and scored 4 quick points himself to keep Rockets very much in the hunt. Adrian O’Sullivan sank a treble and hit a free throw as Rockets found themselves 4 points down with 1 min 23 secs on the clock. An exchange of baskets saw Kestrels open up a 5 point lead with 29.3 secs left. Up strolls Pemberton to hit a treble and The Mead was alive with noise and drums. Carter was called for his fifth personal foul so left the court with 21.2 secs to go but Kestrels missed both free throws. Rockets went to the line and unfortunately repeated the lack of success as the tension was at fever pitch. Kestrels hit 1 from 2 from the line to have a 3 point advantage with 6.7 secs left but with just 1.5 secs left Rockets had 2 free throws. The instruction went out that to tie the game Rockets needed to score the first free throw ( which they did ) but purposely miss the second one so Rockets could grab the rebound and score. Unfortunately the ball hit the side of the ring and backboard but instead of falling out dropped in leaving the final score somewhat disappointing at 90-91 but what a great game, what an improved team performance and encouragement as the league season draws to an end of March for Rockets. Don’t miss their remaining home games !!

Top scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals; Danny Carter with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals; A J Carr with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists; Adrian O’Sullivan with 11 points and 3 assists and Sydney Donaldson with 10 points and 5 rebounds.

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