North Adelaide hosted the Norwood Flames who were coming off a loss against the Forestville Eagles in their 2nd round fixture. The Rockets were looking to continue their good form after their blowout victory over the Warriors in their season opener.
North Adelaide import Aric Miller had an influential 2nd game for the North Adelaide Rockets and looks to be a key figure in this team for their 2017 Premier League season. Miller drained 22-points for the evening including a few crucial plays in the final term.
The opening quarter showed all the crowd in attendance that they were in for a thriller. Right from the opening tip, both clubs were going back and forth. Both sides were demonstrating a strong defensive presence on their respective ends of the floor. Although, scoring was not a burden for either team, with both teams hitting 20 or 20+ points by the end of the first quarter. Alex Starling found himself in the same situation twice, with the opportunity to tie then take the lead in both the first and final term.
In his first term attempt, he scored 1 of 2 Free throws only giving the tie game whilst John Wernham, celebrating his 100th Premier League game, helped North Adelaide take the lead in the final seconds of the first term with his free throws. This was not the case for Starling in the final seconds of the game as he drained both clutch free throws for the tie and win sending the Hillcrest crowd into a frenzy.
The second term was much of the same between the two clubs although this still did not disappoint. North Adelaide were struggling to box out on their defensive end although this did not stop Alex Starling overall as he was eating the glass. Norwood were demonstrating their chemistry as they were moving the ball around rapidly and their team awareness was astounding. After a very physical half, Norwood had a very small lead of 3-points.
The third term was the Norwood we know as they were shooting lights out from the field although North Adelaide kept the margin close. The biggest margin of the night was 5-points by Norwood whilst the Rockets had the biggest scoring run of the night with 9-points. Norwood’s team awareness was again on show with 4 quick passes up the court and then a huge triple from Ahmad Starks igniting the Norwood fans in attendance. Despite this, North Adelaide found themselves heading into the final term looking to take the win. The margin was set at 4-points and this was shaping up for a thrilling ending.
The final term was everything all in attendance expected as the anticipation of not knowing a clear winner was building. After an early triple by the Rockets and the margin at 1, North Adelaide picked up two quick fouls that could have been costly. After easing their lead back out to a ‘steady’ 5-points, import Aric Miller checked into the game and within 44 seconds, scores were level. Miller showed his effectiveness, as within 7 seconds of checking in, the ball was in the net for 3 and North were down 2.
After heating up from the field, Miller helped take the lead in the final term despite the Rockets being in foul trouble with 5 minutes remaining. Aric contributed 3 straight triples in the final term proving he is one to watch this season. Andrew Webber also kept his game presence known after finishing through solid contact with the opportunity to again take the lead although he was unable to convert the and 1 play and the margin again was at 1-point.
The decisive moments of the game were very physical and emotions were on a high on the hardwood after Starling received an offensive foul late. Webber had the opportunity to bring their lead to 3-points although he missed both free throws with 25 seconds remaining.
The emotions on the court did not stifle Starling in the final seconds of the game.
“I knew that they weren’t going to come in here and just lay down, so we definitely were prepared heading into tonight’s game”
“as soon as I got fouled… the confidence [and] instincts kicked in and knocked down the free throws [which] sealed the win” Starling said after the game.
Aric Miller: 22-points (6-10 3pt) (41 FG%)
Alex Starling: 18-points (40% FG%) 18 rebounds
Luke Mapunda 19-points (56% FG%), 9 rebounds
Andrew Webber: 21-Points (57% FG), 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Ahmad Starks: 15-points
Jerell Sanders 16-points (46% FG), 12 rebounds