Brighton Bears 32-90 Reading Rockets
READING ROCKETS started their double header weekend on the road by achieving a comfortable win at Brighton Bears.
Though without star player Reis Pinnock, who is out due to injury and new American Taylan Rowe who is out due to personal reasons, the Rockets would find themselves comfortable throughout the game.
A 24-5 opening quarter would see the Rockets stroke four trebles and defend stoutly, allowing head coach Samit Nuruzade to give his young players much needed court time, Harry Millbank truly benefited from which by hitting 14 points.
Reading Rockets Pictures: Luke Simcock
Captain Lewis Champion led by example by scoring a treble before the Rockets would link up with some great teamwork finishing with an Elijah Maynard floater.
Aussie Mitch Clarke hit three trebles including a brace from the top of the key to further inflict damage to the Bears inexperienced squad. Zack Powell would finish the quarter by slamming a powerful dunk to cement a strong first quarter lead for the Rockets.
The second quarter was much closer, 15-13 in Rockets favour. Quality length of court passes, coast to coast scores and incisive drives continued to be Rockets way as they went to the break 39-18 ahead with both Clarke and Maynard in double points.
Powell started the third period with a pair of assists to Round and Clarke before an outstanding pass to Maynard for an alley hoop.
A Finleigh Porter slam coupled to a Maynard rejection, kept the tempo high for Rockets before a delicate finger roll from Champion and a Millbank end line drive and score saw Rockets on a 21-1 run and a lead of 64-23.
The Bears, despite an injury to one of their key players would continue to work hard and play their game in front of an appreciative crowd and scored nine points in the final stanza.
But Rockets would light the touch paper on trebles again, hitting five in the final quarter, the victory for Rockets was assured.
Reading Rockets 82-86 Barking Abbey
READING ROCKETS fell to a narrow defeat as a talented Barking Abbey side took the points in the Kitking Trophy group stages.
Though Rockets opened the scoring through 6’8” Chris Alexander the visitors hit the first of their trebles, something Rockets failed to do until the fourth quarter.
Zack Powell continued his rich vein of form of scoring helping the Rockets go 14-9 ahead. A Mitch Clarke drive and Finleigh Porter finish saw Rockets edge ahead by 20-18 at the end of the first period.
Isaac Round, who was enjoying his extra minutes on court, made a steal and score to see the Rockets enjoy a 27-23 advantage.
However, Barking stormed back with a brace of trebles tying the scores 31- 33.
Clarke sent an exquisite pass to the heavens which saw Powell complete the alley hoop, but Barking finished the stronger and led at the interval 40-37.
The third quarter began with a Barling treble and they soon had a 59-43 advantage.
A Powell slam and Rockets first treble of the game by Elijah Maynard saw Rockets reduce the deficit, Barking still held a seven point lead at 68-61.
Zack Powell would help in Rockets attempted come back, though a couple of controversial calls by the officials troubled Rockets, but the disappointment would only fire the Rockets on.
Powell made a steal and score, before Porter got Rockets to just a single point deficit at 72-73.
Barking edged ahead but an Issac Round treble and an Maynard score would see Rockets within just one point.
The packed Loddon Valley arena showed their support with huge noise and appreciation for Rockets’ fight back and with just 49.4 secs remaining and the score 82-80 in Barking favour.
Barking were given possession after a call of the only travel of the game, and scored from the free throw line to take the win 84-80.
Rockets would still progress however thanks to big wins over Worthing Thunder and Brighton Bears. This takes the Rockets into the quarter finals where they will welcome a remade Essex Rebels squad to Loddon Valley on Sunday at 4pm.