ROCKETS BOYS IN FIRST HOME LOSS THIS SEASON
ROCKETS BOYS IN FIRST HOME LOSS THIS SEASON
In a game where they never really got going offensively, the North Adelaide Men’s Premier League team missed an opportunity against Centrals on Saturday night, to make their 2015 finals spot a little more secure. The game was disappointing for several reasons, not the least of which was another poor shooting effort (35% field goal percentage for the game), and also a lack of defensive pressure for long periods of time, allowing Centrals to hit ten 3 pointers, in what probably was the difference in the end. Final score was 71-77 leaving the boys with a record of 9 wins and 6 losses, and plenty of work to do on Sunday the 28th June against Eastern, who, with the inclusion of 36er Adam Gibson, have found themselves on a roll lately.
As has been the case recently, the game started slowly with both teams struggling to get their rhythm going. Tommy Rowe hit a big 3 to get the Rockets on the scoreboard and John Wernham got off to a good start at both ends of the floor. The teams went basket for basket, with the lead changing 6 times and being tied 4 times, but neither looked comfortable in offence. There were 9 turnovers for the quarter (North 2, Centrals 7), which didn’t help either team’s cause. Then Centrals went on a little run from the two minute mark (19 all) scoring the next 6 points to see the Rocket boys behind 19-25 at the first break. John had 9 points to lead all scorers, and had 2 offensive rebounds, whilst Adam Schild coming in off the bench also managed 2 rebounds. It was a concern that Centrals had already connected on four of eight 3 pointers and led the rebounding 8-5.
The deficit quickly became 9 points as Centrals scored early in the 2nd quarter, putting pressure on the North Boys to get themselves involved. Coach Hawkes had two time outs and made several substitutions looking for the right combination with some scoring punch, but it was one of those nights where the offensive flow was proving elusive. Rockets managed only 14 points for the quarter and struggled to contain Centrals (20), particularly from 3 point land, where they had, by the long break, scored on 7 of 13 attempts. The lead blew out to 16 at one point, and threatened to grow, but to their credit, the boys managed to contain the damage and give us a chance by fighting back to a 12 point deficit at half time (33-45). As is always the case the coaching staff were measured in their assessment and reiterated what had got the team to where it was this season, and asked for the effort necessary to get us back in front. On a very positive note, John Wernham was proving to be the shining light with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks up to the main break.
The third quarter continued the frustration with baskets not easy to come by. The deficit was maintained in double figures for long periods, but the boys did manage a 7-0 run from the three minute mark, getting the difference back to 6, before Centrals regained the momentum. 3 point specialist Brad Jonnek came in off the bench for some extended playing time, in an effort to combat Centrals zone defence, and although he could not connect on any long bombs, he did an excellent job with 4 rebounds (2 offensive) and an important assist for a Luke Pike basket. Brett Collins was also having an influence with 7 points, 4 rebounds (2 offensive) and an assist, Leroy was being his consistent self (9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal), and John was now up to 15 points, 8 rebounds, an assist and 3 big blocks. Three quarter time score was 51-61, still within reach if the boys could produce their best form.
The boys to their credit had two cracks at it in the last quarter. Early on they got the deficit back to 5, before Centrals regained their composure and built it back to 11 at the half way mark, and then they managed to get it to 2 on a Brett Collin’s basket with 33 seconds to go !! With all the momentum with the Rockets, and an unlikely win suddenly a possibility, a (tough) unsportsmanlike foul call against us gave Centrals the chance to seal the game and cause the upset. Final score was 71-77. Statistically the Rockets led the rebound count 40-34, steals 9-6, and free throw shooting percentage 69-61, but Centrals shot the ball much better overall (41% to 35%), and in particular from the 3 point line, 40% (10 of 25) to 26% (5 of 19). John finished with 20 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, a steal and 3 blocks. Leroy had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Brett had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and shot the ball at 60%. Tom Rowe had 8 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and shot the ball at 75%.
A disappointing loss, against a team we need to beat if we are to be guaranteed finals, but as is always the case we need to move on quickly. Big game today (Sunday the 28th) against Eastern at the Titanium Security Arena (the Dome) at 3;00pm, then next Saturday at Hillcrest in a BIG game against West in what is Tom Rowe’s 200th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!