Reading Rockets 77 v 95 Loughborough Riders
For their fourth game in 8 days, Rockets didn’t have the energy required to beat the talented Riders who effectively kept their 15 point interval advantage throughout the second half to secure the win.
Rockets won the tip and scored first through a tip in from Sam Grant which Reis Pinnock added to moments later but that was the only time Rockets led in this game as Riders rained three trebles including a brace form ex Rocket Harrison Gamble who proved a thorn in Rockets side throughout the game as he hit 21 points and took down 9 rebounds. Again Coach Keane played the academy players from early on with Latrell Maitland scoring with a drive and giving an assist to O’Showen Williams, Rockets most consistent player and scorer, to finish off the glass and add the penalty shot as he was fouled in the process. When Ben Dixon gave Williams another treble Rockets were just 2 adrift at 15-17 . Chuck Duru drove to score after Riders had hit a treble and then Williams hit another treble from the top of the key to see Rockets just a single point behind at 19-20. Pinnock stopped a certain score with a brilliant run and stop but a treble effort on the buzzer rimmed out leaving the hosts 21-27 in arrears.
Rider’s Conroy Hayden not only hit 15 points but grabbed 14 rebounds as he led the Riders charge with a convincing quarter of 30-21 giving the visitors a have time lead of 57-42, something Rockets never recovered from despite all their efforts. Williams and Duru were the only Rockets in doble figures at the interval and still so at the end of the game as usual contributors failed to trouble the scorers. Dixon floated a shot to score and then took down a defensive rebound as Duru drove the end line to score and see Rockets just 29-32 adrift but Riders re-introduced Gamble to help them take control again.Pinnock sent an assist to Sam Toluwase to score before Williams stroked another treble keeping Rockets in contention at 36-38 mid way through the period but a 19-6 run by Riders saw them go to the interval with a 57-42 lead.
A much tighter defence from both sides reduced the scoring to just 14-15 in the third period in Riders favour as Chuck Duru showed all around of his determination to fight for the ball as he hustled on the floor getting possession from which Williams stroked a treble. 18 yo Kivuvu Live made a steal and scored whilst Jaz Bains took a charge but a tough call gave Riders a three point play right at the end of the quarter and a 72-56 advantage going into the final period.
A great team move was finished with Williams draining his fifth treble of the game which gave Rockets renewed faith as they reduced Riders lead to single figures less than 3 minutes into the quarter at 63-72. A Dixon drive and assist to Williams coupled to Toluwase spin and finish kept up the pressure on Riders and even when Pinnock took a defensive rebound and went coast to coast to score, it just wasn’t enough as Riders rode away from the John Madejski Academy with the win and a score of 95-77.
Top scorers for Rockets were O’Showen Williams with 28 points followed by Chuck Duru with 14 points as young Ronnie Oquekwe ked the rebounders with 6. Riders finished with 2 players with double double and a third with 21 pts and 9 rebounds….ex Rocket Harrison Gamble.