In the third round of the National Cup away to Birmingham and without A J Carr as Rockets cannot play 2 import players against lower league opposition in the cup, the developing Spaniard Pau Major was given a key role as Head Coach Alan Keane played all his academy players for many minutes with Major as the ‘conductor’ for most of the time after Rockets had stormed the opening period with a game winning 34-7 score.
The first quarter had seen Nick Richards hit 14 personal points including a brace of trebles which Major matched as Ben Dixon began with a block and Matias Boho a hook score. Birmingham Head Coach was not happy with his players or the officials and was given a technical foul mid-way through the opening exchanges. Ed Potter took down his own offensive rebound and when fouled hit both free throws. David Chive did likewise from the penalty stripe and Coach Keane showed his plans by introducing 4 academy players.
The second quarter was a tighter affair as Rockets youngsters fought to retain the supremacy displayed by the team in the first period. This they did, just, by 13-12 as they settled into their roles . Asher Ndah finished a great 5 man offence before then stopping a Birmingham score. Liam Davis was asked to get some exercise and scored with a pair of slam dunks. Rockets had dominated the boards by 29-12 , had made 13 assists and stole the ball on 8 occasions to have a comfortable lead of 47-19 at the interval.
Coach Keane began the third period with his starting five but Birmingham hit the first score. Richards made a great rip to steal the ball and on the Rockets offence Birmingham’s captain D. Penkov and their Head Coach were called again for technical fouls against the officials so both were ejected from the sports hall increasing the pressure on the young Birmingham Elite. Matias Boho was given a long run in this quarter and hit ten personal points including a treble from a Sam Grant assist. Major hit another brace of trebles though it was good to see the hosts stroke their only treble of the game to much applause from both sets of supporters as Elite kept coming and competing for every ball. However a 31-17 period had made the game impossible for them to win as Rockets enjoyed a 78-36 lead as the final period began.
Seven of Rockets players scored in this quarter with four academy players troubling the scorers as Major made a steal, tipped out another Elite offence and took his own tally to his best so far this season of 20 points. Ndah slammed a score after an assist from Boho before he stroked a treble from out wide having taken the defensive rebound moments before which led to Rockets gaining the possession from which he scored. A final period of 23-16 gave Rockets passage to the next round with a 101-52 victory.
Rockets have again been drawn away and will now play either Derbyshire Arrows or Nottingham Hoods on Sun 24th Nov in the fourth round.
Top scorers for Rockets were Pau Major with 20 pts, 4 steals, 4 assist and 3 rebounds with Nick Richards, Matias Boho and Ed Potter hitting 18 pts apiece.
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