Tag: #division1

Rockets looking to bounce back against Leopards

Reading Rockets (13-7) will be looking to bounce back from a pair of league defeats this weekend when they host a rejuvenated Essex and Herts Leopards (2-18) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets were humbled at home last weekend as they lost out to champions elect Team Solent Kestrels by 78 points to 110 as the league leaders made it 18 wins out of 18 games to put one hand on the NBL Division One trophy.

This weekend sees the Leopards come to the ‘Mead, fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table but with some key additional personnel added since the last encounter between the two teams back in December when the Berkshire outfit recorded a 98-82 road win in the National Cup quarter-finals. Leopards added former BBL players Orlan Jackman and Elvisi Dusha to their roster as well as Lithuanian Osvaldas Gaizauskas before the 31st January deadline.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is wary of the threat Essex imposes and knows his team needs to be better in the coming weeks as the season reaches it’s climax. The Reading play-caller said,

“Essex will be a much changed outfit to the team we have played twice already this year, three if you include a pre season game. We could also be described as much changed, which highlights to you the impact AJ Carr’s absence through a season ending injury has had on the team.

“Essex have done a great job supporting the team by signing three high calibre players, two of which have shined at the BBL level for the past few years. Based on resent performances by Essex, including running close to an upset over Hemel, we know we have our work cut out for us this coming weekend.”

“Regardless of results we are coming off a run of disappointing performances this side of Christmas and currently we are looking more from inside the camp to be better than focus too much on who we are playing. Whoever we play, we still need to defend the ball better, help each other better, rebound better, take better shots and not just the first one, communicate better and ultimately commit better to every action on court. We will know later in the week the injury outlook with a few guys carrying some injuries presently.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s game uncertain as to whether British Forward Ed Potter will be available for the Berkshire outfit. The 24 year old sat out of last Sunday’s loss to Team Solent with a knee complaint but it is unknown the length of time needed on the sideline so Potter will be a game time decision ahead of this weekend. Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor came through their first game back together and look set to continue their return to fitness ahead of the visit of Essex.

Rockets will be hoping to come out of their mini slump with six games of the NBL Division One season remaining with only a couple of points separating the teams in third to seventh position and the fight for play-off positions intensifies.

Follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

Match Report – Reading Rockets v Team Solent Kestrels

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Reading Rockets78Loss
Team Solent Kestrels110Win

Having lost to the league champions elect in the National Cup Final 4 weeks earlier, Rockets knew what a talented team would take to the Rivermead court, especially as since that date Kestrels had added another excellent recruit in the form of TrayVonn Wright to their roster. Could Rockets match their south coast rivals now they had both Spaniards returning to the court ?

Truth is that this Solent team is improving with and in each competition and having become the first team from Div.1 to secure a BBL Trophy Cup Final spot having overwhelmed Bristol Flyers at Southampton by 36 pts before losing by ten away, the Kestrels appear to be going from strength to strength with no team looking forward to meeting them in the Championship Play-offs next month.

Rockets opened the scoring as Pau Mayor finished with a floater though Solent his three consecutive goals to edge ahead. The outstanding Nick Richards drove for the first of his scores before Liam Davis struck Rockets first treble to regain the lead at 7-6 though that was the last time the Berkshire outfit led despite the valiant efforts of Richards who was the games’ top scorer with 27 points and a subsequent winner of the Nando’s Impact Player of the Game. The game was being played at a fast pace with clinical finishing from Solent who were between 55 and 72% across all scoring stats. Richards stroked a brace of trebles to keep Rockets in touch at the end of the first period though adrift 21-29 but then Kestrels had a 32-15 second quarter to go the locker room 61-36 ahead after commanding the boards and hitting three more trebles as they took control of the game.

Head Coach Alan Keane used the fifteen minute break to correct and re-direct his chargers with Leome Francis scoring six points and competing on the boards as the returning Spaniard Matias Boho stroked a treble but Solent again took the quarter 26-16 with a buzzer beating treble to lead 87-52.

In line with Rockets mantra of giving the young academy guys plenty of court time, it was good to see them contributing with scores and assists against such quality opposition . Rockets scored 50% of their points in the final period moving from 52 to 78 as Mayor and Davis hit 8 points each though Solent hit another 4 trebles to secure another victory and extend their unbeaten run in this Division back to Feb 2019, some awesome record. The final score was 78-110 with Rockets top scorers being Nick Richards with 27 pts., 5 rebounds and a block as Liam Davis hit 15 pts., and took down 6 rebounds and Leome Francis had 11 pts., and took down 8 rebounds. Pau Mayor had 10 pts.,, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

Details

Date Time League Season
23/02/2020 17:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Rivermead
24 Richfield Ave, Reading, Reading RG1, UK

Rockets to face unbeaten Kestrels

Reading Rockets (13-6) will be looking to bounce back from their surprise defeat to Leicester Warriors (8-10) when they take on unbeaten league leaders Team Solent Kestrels (16-0) on Sunday afternoon, 5pm tip-off at Rivermead Leisure Complex. Rockets suffered their sixth defeat in NBL Division One sending them right back into the play-off mix with only eight points separating the teams from second to seventh position. The Berkshire outfit lost 83-71 in the East Midlands and will have it all to do this weekend against the history making Southampton outfit.

Team Solent Kestrels were the first NBL Division One team to reach the BBL Trophy final last weekend as they recorded a memorable two-leg victory of Bristol Flyers. The Southern based team are unbeaten in the league and cup where they triumphed over the Rockets last month, winning the National Cup final by 90 points to 67 to lift their first piece of silverware.

Ahead of this weekend’s match-up against the league leaders, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane knows his team will face a formidable opponent but is ready for the challenge that lies ahead with his group. The Irishman said,

“With Solent proving a powerhouse in NBL (and maybe BBL for that matter), nobody will give us a chance this weekend. However we won’t focus on that. The only thing that is important to us is giving the best performance we are capable of. We have been presented with many challenges this year and what comes with that is great opportunities for all, particularly our Academy players who are gaining valuable experience and will be continue to be called upon the rest of the season.”

Rockets go into Sunday’s mouthwatering game with still with a number of injury concerns. Spanish forward Matias Boho looks likely to miss out again with his ongoing knee injury whilst counterpart Pau Mayor will be a game time decision following his Achilles’ complaint that has not yet fully recovered. Australian guard Ben Dixon tweaked his ankle during last Saturday’s loss to Leicester Warriors but the Berkshire outfit are hopeful he will be fit for the visit of Solent this Sunday. British forward Ed Potter missed the Reading outfits last game and could potentially miss out again with a knee injury he sustained during a practice session. New signing Leome Francis will play in only his second home league game for the club with regulars Liam Davis and Nick Richards fully fit.

With a high number of games in the last six weeks of the regular season throughout the club keep up to date with all the latest news and information by following the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk.

Match Report – Leicester Warriors v Reading Rockets

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Leicester Warriors83Win
Reading Rockets71Loss

An already injury stricken Rockets side travelled to the Midlands having just heard that joint captain Ed Potter was out with an injury and the ever improving Kivuvu Live was sick. Pau Mayor was shirted up and was keen to try out his Achilles strain but Matias Boho’ knee injury continues.

Warriors opened up an 8-2 gap within the opening exchanges before Nick Richards took down his own offensive rebound to get Rockets troubling the scoreboard. Recent signing Leome Francis had a personal following as he was previously with nearby Northampton and he scored five quick points with an inside move, a coast to coast score and a penalty point to level the game on nine each. The scores were tied on 11 and 13 before Rockets went on a 11-3 finishing run as part of a 20-5 run to lead at the first break 24-16.

Warriors took the second quarter 20-13 having begun this period with a 7-0 run before a Richards tip in kept Rockets ahead by a single point. Academy youngster David Chive stroked the first of his three trebles but Rockets soon found themselves in team foul trouble from which Warriors capitalised. Another Academy player David Obediah took an assist from Liam Davis to score before Davis made a key tip in himself. With the game in a nip and tuck phase, it was anyone’s guess as to who would lead at the interval but that honour fell to Rockets with the slenderest of margins at 37-36.

Warriors’ American guard T J Henderson was on fire as he stroked trebles from all round the arc as Warriors hit Rockets with a storm taking the quarter 31-11 having hit five trebles in this time as Rockets turned the ball over and just couldn’t finish even within a foot of the basket. With a score line of 48-67 it was going to take an almighty effort from Rockets to take the victory in the final period but when Chive hit a treble and Richards drove to score, Warriors looked a little concerned. However Rockets missed four from four from the line whilst Warriors hit all theirs so Rockets found themselves adrift by 17 points after just over three minutes of the final stanza at 54-71. Davis picked up too many fouls so together with Chive was fouled out of the game but Richards and Francis worked tirelessly to keep Rockets close as with Rockets having won the home game by 15 points, with the league being so tight, Rockets wanted to keep the head to head should the league points be level in late March. This they did after Head Coach Alan Keane called his final time -out as a reminder and the guys not only stopped Warriors but also saw Francis score leaving the deficit at the buzzer just twelve at 71-83.

Rockets find themselves in a scramble with 6 other teams vying for a home tie in the Play-offs when they hope to have a fully fit squad .

Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 26 pts., 7 rebounds and 6 steals with both Rockets’ big guys having double doubles as Liam Davis scored 14 pts., and took down 11 rebounds whilst Leome Francis hit 13 pts., and took down 13 rebounds though Warriors American guards was supreme on the day as he hit 40 pts., took down 9 rebounds and made 5 assists

Details

Date Time League Season
15/02/2020 15:00 NBL Div 1 2019 / 2020

Venue

Braunstone LC
A47, Leicester, Leicester LE3 1JN, UK

Rockets looking to bounce back from cup final defeat with trip to Loughborough

Reading Rockets (13-5) will return to NBL Division One action this weekend when they take on Loughborough Riders (10-5) on Sunday afternoon, 2pm tip-off. The Reading team missed out on the first piece of silverware last weekend when they were beaten 90-67 by Team Solent Kestrels in the National Cup Final so will be looking to bounce back in league play and keep up the pressure at the top of the table as they push for a top four finish.

Sunday’s meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with Rockets taking their home game in comprehensive fashion, winning 93-70 back in October. Since that match-up, Rockets have lost American AJ Carr through injury but gained British forward Leome Francis whilst the Riders have added former junior Rocket Harrison Gamble to their line up alongside Jonas Dieterich who re-joined the East Midlands outfit after a spell in the first team with Leicester Riders.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was understandably disappointed to see his team defeated in the National Cup but was very proud of his younger players stepping up and knows this will be necessary again this weekend. The Irishman said,

“We have really enjoyed our cup run and although we are disappointed not to win the competition, I am very proud of my team for the way they performed but now we are excited to get back to league action and chase a top four finish.”

“A very positive step this weekend was how our EABL (Elite Academies Basketball League) players stepped up and showed us they are ready for that next level of play and it is more than likely we will need them again this weekend with the injuries we currently have.”

“Loughborough are one of the best teams in the division and have bolstered their roster since we last played them. They play a good brand of basketball and are very well coached so it will be a tough trip there to gain a win and keep up the goal of finishing in the top four but I know the players are hungrier than ever to keep performing to the best of their ability with what we have as a group.”

Rockets go in to Sunday’s game with two major injury concerns and a notable absence. Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor both missed out during last Sunday’s National Cup final defeat to Solent and are a big doubt for the match-up against Loughborough. 6’5 forward Boho Sayo is currently sidelined with knee ligament damage whilst 6’3 guard Mayor has an achillies issue and it is unknown when either player can return to action. Co-captain Ed Potter, who pulled down 13 rebounds in the National Cup final, is also unavailable for this weekend’s encounter but in better news for the Berkshire outfit, Leome Francis comes back in after being cup-tied last weekend and the 6’5 forward will make his away debut for the Reading team after his first outing at home with a 28 point 17 rebound double double. Academy players Ross Stepney and Kivuvu Live made significant contributions last weekend with Coach Keane likely to call upon his youth once again as Rockets go in search of win number 14 of their 2019-2020 campaign.

Remember for all the latest news and information, follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website – www.readingrockets.co.uk

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