With an awesome display against second in the table Thunder on the south coast on Saturday evening, Rockets blitzed the final quarter after losing the lead at 74-75 in the opening exchanges to go on a 26-6 run to earn a vital victory and join three other teams in a tie for second position in the league.
With Sam Grant side-lined for the rest of the year and captain Ed Potter playing with strapping over his 2 broken fingers, it was still good to see Pau Major recovered from his leg and knee injuries and the absence of the sickness that dramatically impacted the team in the last 2 weeks. The Thunderdome is always a menacing place to go to and when Thunder’s captain Taylor launched the first treble with the first offence the writing was clearly on the wall for Head Coach Alan Keane to see. A 2-7 early deficit was rectified by six A J Carr points, a Nick Richards pull up jump shot coupled to a pair of successful free throws from Ben Dixon as Rockets went on a 8-0 run. A magnificent piece of team play gave 6’9” Liam Davis the first of his slams whilst Richards went coast to coast to extend Rockets lead but Thunder stormed the next few minutes to be just 15/16 adrift before back to back shots including a big treble by Carr and another Richards score saw Rockets enjoy an eight point advantage at 23-15 and though Thunder came again it was a seven point haul from Davis including a buzzer beating treble that gave Rockets an opening period lead of 32-24 with Thunder having scored nine of their points from the free throw line.
The second quarter began with Thunder going on a 10 -2 run to level the scores on 34 apiece. Carr again kept Rockets side of the scoreboard turning over whilst guard Richards leapt high to slam dunk to open up a five point gap before Carr sank a big treble to give him a personal tally of twenty points midway through the second period. Rockets enjoyed a double digit lead as Richards hit a treble and then the three key Rockets scored and made assists for each other in the dying minutes before the interval as Carr helped Davis to an easy score before Richards did likewise to Davis and then A J finished the quarter’s scoring on the buzzer helping Rockets to a 56-44 lead at the interval. A three point play and a brace of trebles including a buzzer beating one from Thunder couldn’t stop Rockets fire.
The break did Thunder a power of good as they stormed to a 7-2 run to cut the deficit but academy player Asher Ndah continued his big improvement as he dived on the floor to regain possession for Rockets . Carr scored again and Richards stole the ball and finished to see Rockets back with an eleven point advantage at 66-55. Thunder were again secure from the penalty stripe coupled to a brace of trebles and even though another great piece of team play saw Davis slam dunk it was Thunder who took the quarter 27-18 to not only be back in this top of the table clash but also meaning Rockets advantage was just 74-71 going into the final quarter.
Within fourteen seconds Thunder had scored and moments later the Thunderdome erupted as Thunder took the lead at 75-74. How would Rockets react after playing well for so long ? Magnificently was the answer as they poured in twenty six points to just six for Thunder as Rockets blitzed the final quarter 26-10. Richards drove twice in succession to regain Rockets lead before making a huge rejection as Thunder threatened to score….the Thunderdome was quietened but four unanswered Thunder points saw the scores 80-79 in Rockets favour with just over six minutes remaining. And what a period this was Rockets as 17 year old Ndah hit seven personal points including a wide game defining treble and Richards and Davis gave Rockets the final lift off with a 20-2 run to secure a big and major win in their endeavour to stay in touch with undefeated league leaders Solent Kestrels .
Three of Rockets players played exceptionally well as between them they amassed 84 of Rockets 100 points with Nick Richards scoring 32 points, taking down 9 rebounds and making 5 assists. A J Carr and Liam Davis hit 26 pts each with Carr taking down 9 rebounds and making 6 assist as Davis hit a double double with 13 rebounds to add to his 26 points. Asher Ndah scored 9 points and took down 8 rebounds as the academy player continues his growth at the senior level.
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