READING ROCKETS came out on top in a low scoring match with Bradford Dragons as they came back from an early deficit.
Big man Christian Alexander opened Rockets account with a brace of plays before Bradford Dragons hit the first of their six trebles but a Zack Powell steal and slam dunk stirred the packed arena at Loddon Valley.
Reis Pinnock showed why he’s regarded as one of the very best defenders in the league with some great stops before being secure from the free throw line. He then hit a treble as Dragons edged out the opening quarter 17-16.
Captain Lewis Champion received an assist from Pinnock moments before he received a second assist, this time from Mitch Clarke to hit a brace of trebles giving Rockets a five point advantage within 31 seconds of the restart.
Reading Rockets v Bradford Dragons Pictures: Luke Simcock
Taylan Rowe then sent a great pass to Pinnock to make a lay-up before Dragons called a time out after an 8-0 Rockets run, their best of the game.
Pinnock continued to impress with his scoring ability as he sank a buzzer beating treble.
Powell enjoyed another slam dunk and the team defended resiliently to cause a 24 second violation to Dragons, much to the delight of the Rockets supporters.
A Powell block and a Clarke treble saw Rockets with a 39-33 advantage at the interval.
The Dragons hit three trebles in the third quarter but Powell and Clarke replied with a pair of trebles for Rockets and took a double digit lead with three minutes of the period left.
A Champion steal and score coupled to great defense which Rockets turned into a great team play and Fin Porter finish was another highlight as Rockets entered the final stanza with a 59-50 lead following their biggest lead of 59-48.
Finleigh Porter did his best work in this quarter as his other big man teammate Alexander was fouled out.
Dragons fought tirelessly and with a 9-2 run, Rockets Head Coach Samit Nuruzade called a timeout as Dragons came within four points of Rockets at 59-63.
A Powell rejection ensured Dragons didn’t get closer on the re-start but with Dragons next play the deficit was just one score, two points.
Clark struck a treble and Porter finished well inside before Powell scored, drew the foul and hit the free throw which he quickly followed up with an offensive rebound and score, seeing Rockets back to a 73-64 lead.
Dragons hit a treble to give them more encouragement but with Champion secure from the penalty stripe and Clarke hitting his fourth personal treble Rockets finished powerfully and took their first league game of the season with a confidence building victory at 79-71.
The Rockets now take on the Thames Valley Cavaliers on the road this weekend, before returning home on October 29 to take on the Loughborough Riders.