Essex Rebels 90 v 102 Reading Rockets
On Saturday afternoon in Essex, Rockets showed the type of energy and performance to lift the team, coaches and supporters as they battled hard for the opening two periods , only to open the game up with a 32-18 third quarter from where they secured a fine win on the road.
Head Coach Alan Keane welcomed back his power forward Leome Francis after missing 4 games where his rebounding was missed but O’Showen Williams showed why he’s so cherished by the Berkshire outfit as he hit 29 points and generally ran the ‘operation’. Sam Toluwase and Sam Grant scored early for Rockets whilst a Dixon treble kept Rockets close to Rebels who led 14-13 midway through quarter one. Some great team play saw Chuck Duru drain a treble to keep Rockets still a single point behind at 23-24 before the game was tied 3 times in the period at 25, 27 and 29 as Rebels hit a buzzer beating score to see the scores level on 29 at the period end.
Rebels scored from their first possession of quarter two but Jaz Bains hit a treble , Williams made a steal and score moments before he sent a length of the court pass to Toluwase to finish and see Rockets with a 36-31 advantage.
Rebels spun to score but a Francis defensive rebound was quickly sent to Williams to stroke another treble edging Rockets further ahead by 6 points. A 7-2 Rebels run got them to within a single point of Rockets at 42-43 before they tied again on 43 and 45 before hitting a treble to lead Rockets. Kivuvu Live received an assist from Williams which was repeated moments later but for the second period running Rebels hit a buzzer beating score to go to the interval with a 52-48 lead.
Toluwase scored from Rockets first possession and Reis Pinnock hit a free throw before the sharp shooters on both sides got in on the action as together six trebles were shared equally in a high scoring quarter of fifty points with Rockets taking it 32-18. As they found even more energy and quality in their finishing as Toluwase hit a buzzer beater and Bains gave an assist for Pinnock to hit his first treble which was matched by Duru and ever reliable Williams as Rockets went on a 17-4 run to open the game up and bring more confidence into them. A brilliant team defence stopped a Rebels score and a Bains step back score coupled to a Williams assist to Duru saw Rockets enjoy a double digit lead at the end of the third quarter by 80-70.
A Pinnock drive and Bains buzzer beater kept Rockets noses ahead but Rebels fought back with a 7-0 run pegging Rockets to a slender four point advantage just under three minutes into the period. Toluwase sent an assist to Williams to drain another treble and a big defensive rebound from Francis, which he finished with a drive and score, aided by a Dixon assist to Bains to score with a treble saw Rockets ahead 92-82 mid way through the final stanza. Some tight defence kept Rockets with a double digit advantage right through to the buzzer as the commentator said ‘Rockets are truly pumped up today’.
O’Showen Williams again shone brightly with 29 points, 7 rebounds , 8 assists and 2 steals ably assisted with Sam Toluwase with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals whilst Jaz Bains continues to show what a good late signing he was on transfer deadline day just 5 weeks ago with 12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Chuck Duru hit 10 points and Leome Francis hit 7 points but took down 10 rebounds in this fine victory for Rockets.