ROCKET BOYS BACK ON TRACK WITH SOLID VICTORY OVER CENTRALS

The North Adelaide Men’s Premier league team had a very comfortable win over a young Centrals team on Anzac Day at Hillcrest, 89-55, with Luke Pike winning the prestigious ANZAC Medal for his performance. Despite some early resistance from the Lions, the boys built their win on some excellent defence, cruising to a 34 point victory, by restricting Centrals to just 7 and 8 points in the 2nd and 4th quarters respectively.

With Luke Mapunda, Stephen Branson and John Wernham still unavailable, Coach Hawkes went with Tom, Adam, Brad, Pikey and Cody as his starting five. The instructions were simple, shut down Centrals obvious scoring threats, (particularly Daniel Carlin), and look to run the ball in an effort to put some early pressure on the opposition. The 1st quarter was however a see-saw affair, with the lead changing 5 times. Both teams appeared to settle quickly and were scoring reasonably freely, much to the annoyance of respective coaching groups. Brad Jonnek continued his recent excellent form with 10 first quarter points, hitting a big 3 pointer and scoring several contested layups. He also secured himself three valuable rebounds in what was a great start for him personally. Adam’s defensive efforts on Carlin saw him pick up two early quarter fouls, so he had to sit the last 2 and a half minutes, but had been a threat at the offensive end with 4 points along with 4 strong rebounds. It was good to see Josh Graetz hit the court early in the game and he proved his worth with 2 solid rebounds and his defensive efforts were worthy of note. Ray Harding also got the opportunity to contribute early, and an excellent offensive rebound and his energy caused some deflections which helped the Rockets cause. Quarter time score was 21-21, we led the rebounds 14-9 and were shooting well at 43%.

The second quarter started much like the first. The score at the 5 minute mark was 30-26, and there was no obvious indication of what was about to happen. The boys ramped up the defensive pressure, caused some turnovers, went on a couple of scoring bursts of 7-0 and 6-0 and the lead quickly became 15 by the half time whistle. Team statistics were impressive with the Rocket Boys leading rebounds (27-20), Assists (11-3), Turnovers (7-12), Shooting % (43% - 29%), Steals (9-1), and efficiency (53-24). Individually Brad continued to lead the way offensively with 17 points, (4 rebounds, 2 steals and a block); Josh Graetz had 7 points, (6 rebounds and a steal); and Pikey had 7 points, (3 rebounds). Adam was dominating the boards with 8, (4 points, 4 assists, 3 steals); whilst Tom Rowe was showing his value to the team with 5 important assists, (1 rebound and a steal).

The 3rd quarter was a struggle. Despite building the lead to 20 in the early stages, Centrals managed to restrict us over the last few minutes and we only outscored them 20-19. Carlin had a big quarter, (up to 20 points), but Adam and Josh Graetz, with support from the rest of the team had restricted him to just 3 rebounds. Pikey came to the fore, with 10 points for the quarter on some excellent shooting (3 of 4 from the field and 3 of 4 from the foul line), whilst Brad continued to build on his solid start, now up to 22. As a team we continued to dominate the main statistical categories. Third quarter scores were 63-47.

The last was all Rockets. Outscoring Centrals 26-8, the boys cruised to a 34 point win (89-55), with everyone getting the opportunity to contribute. By the 5 minute mark, the lead had built to 36 and Coach Hawkes cleared the bench to give all the boys a chance for some valuable court time. With such a massive change in personnel, the last five minutes were a little scrappy but valuable none the less. Final statistics showed some very positive numbers. Brad had 29 points (career high), to go along with 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 steals and a block. He was also fouled an unprecedented 9 times by the opposition, so they were well aware of his scoring ability!! Pikey had 22 points and 4 rebounds; Adam had 12 points and 12 rebounds in a nice double-double, to go along with 4 assists and 3 steals; Josh had a career high game with 7 points, 9 rebounds (5 offensive), an assist and 2 steals. Tom Rowe, the ultimate Captain, (who set the tone in the last with some great plays), finished with an unprecedented 10 assists to go along with 2 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Cam Simmons also had a good game, enjoying 20 minutes of court time, he showed his experience and offensive abilities with 8 points, 5 rebounds, an assist and 2 steals. Cody chipped in at important times with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a block. Also good to see Ray Harding, Jono Lloyd and Jake Crammond get some extra court time and we are confident their experience will stand them in good stead for the future.

Team statistics were also impressive with North leading every category. Rebounds 51-37; Shooting percentage 45% - 29%; Assists 20-8; Turnovers 13-23; Steals 16-4, so a big night for the boys. With Leroy and Brett due back this week, and Eastern on the program for Sunday, the team is looking forward to getting back into rhythm for a mid-season assault. Game time is Sunday 1:15pm in Mt Barker, long way to go, but we are confident of giving a good performance, so be there!!!!!

Ray Girvin




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