Starting the New Year with a victory was high on Rockets goals, especially as Rockets had tasted defeat on the opening day of the season’s campaign in the London Borough . How w ell they achieved that goal with an 18 point win and leading from tip off to buzzer.
With at least 4 Academy players still in Spain on an educational programme which also includes watching top European basketball and competing in tournaments ( JMA Rockets won the U 18 Junior Men Valencia tournament on Sunday ), a depleted team of just eight players took to the court at Rivermead taking the game to Warriors from the first possession. Liam Davis hit Rockets opening points of 2020 and decade before Matias Boho launched the first of his three trebles . When Nick Richards introduced himself to the score board Warriors were 2-11 adrift and called a time-out after just over two minutes play. Some great team play saw Pau Mayor stroking a treble which Rockets followed with a fast break finished by Richards, who extended their lead to double digits as Boho sent an assist to Asher Ndah who hit a treble from wide out seeing Rockets 26-16 ahead.
The second period began as Ndah scored off the glass and the other Academy player playing, David Chive, hit the first of his three trebles as Rockets as Rockets defence also caused Warriors to have a 24 second penalty. Richards hit a treble and Australian guard Ben Dixon also hit one from the top of the key as Rockets moved from just six points ahead to finish the quarter fifteen points ahead with a 12-3 finish taking a 52-37 advantage to the changing rooms at the interval.
Rockets kept up the momentum throughout this third period as Davis and Richards led all scorers during this time and Boho stroked a treble from the top of the key. Rockets defence again caused Warriors into a 24 second violation and capitalised with more fast break points principally through Richards though Davis finished one with a slam and another with a base line buzzer beating jump shot as Rockets extended their advantage to 72-52 as the final stanza beckoned.
Warriors awoke with a 11-2 run at the start of the final quarter, stirring Rockets into action of their own after finding their comfortable twenty point lead reduced to just eleven in the opening two minutes. A Boho treble form beyond the arc stopped the rot and when Boho took a big defensive rebound , Chive stroked a glorious treble form out wide to see Rockets ahead by 80-63, a lead they were to maintain till the end of the game. 18 yo Ndah hit a wide treble and Mayor stroked one too as the game drew to a close with Rockets victorious by 96-78.
Head Coach Alan Keane and Rockets leadership team are still trying to strengthen the team after the loss of A J Carr with a season ending injury just before Christmas, all in preparation for a big double header weekend ahead and then a National Cup semi-final on 19th.
Top scorers for Rockets were Liam Davis with 21 pts and 4 rebounds as Matias Boho hit 19 pts, took down 3 rebounds, had 3 assists and three blocks with Pau Mayor having 16 pts,4 assists and 2 steal and the ever influential Nick Richards with a double double of 15 pts 10 assists and 5 steals.
|05/01/2020||17:00||NBL Div 1||2019 / 2020|
|24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK|