Thames Valley Cavaliers ( TVC ) 103 v 88 Reading Rockets
Having got within a shot of winning the last encounter between these 2 teams just a couple of weeks ago, Rockets knew Cavaliers wouldn’t want to allow it to be that close again as they chase the league title, and after early exchanges, an 18-0 Cavaliers run gave them control from which Rockets fought hard to recover but Cavaliers strength in depth kept them ahead till the buzzer.
Rockets’ two key scorers throughout the season, and vital players, O’Showen Williams and Sam Toluwase again led Rockets from tip to the end as they opened with most of the 21 points Rockets scored in the opening quarter with Williams hitting a brace of trebles and Toluwase also sinking a treble but doing most of his work inside. From level on 17 points apiece, TVC edged ahead 27-21 at the first break and Rockets knew they were in for a tough encounter. Chuck Duru got Rockets closer at the start of period two with a treble which Williams and Toluwase copied to see the game at 32-34. Jaz Bains stood firm and took a charge to keep Rockets on fire but a couple of Cavaliers trebles hurt Rockets’ advances and saw the score 44-55 at the interval.
Another brace of Williams trebles complemented by one from Ben Dixon saw Rockets close at 57-60 after just 3 minutes of the third quarter but an 18-0 run by Cavaliers in a 31-16 period gave Cavaliers a commanding lead which they were determined not to surrender. Cavaliers had scored 51 points in the paint to this point compared to 20 from Rockets whilst Cavaliers guards also shot the lights out to take a 86-60 lead into the final quarter.
Though winning the last quarter 28- 17, Rockets acknowledged that Cavaliers are chasing the league title and knew this was a vital game so were fired up. Head Coach Alan Keane gave his academy players much time during this period and they played well with Ronnie Oguekwe spinning to score and then working inside to add another score besides taking down 4 rebounds in a purple patch for the 17 year old. Sam Grant returned to something like the kind of the form he was in a month or so ago with 6 points and 8 rebounds as Jaz Bains finished the quarter with three trebles, one from a great dish from Latrell Maitland, another academy player. With a buzzer beating treble Rockets had cut the deficit to 88-103 and now prepare for their final two league games this coming week securing as high a place for the Play-offs which start on the weekend of 24/25thApril.
Top scorers for Rockets were O’Showen Williams with 24 points and 6 rebounds with Sam Toluwase hitting 19 points and also taking down 6 rebounds. Ben Dixon scored 10 points with Jaz Bains on 9 points.