The Rockets will aim to bounce back from their overtime loss against Forestville last week when they take on the Flames in what should be a scintillating matchup. The Rockets were strong in their qualifying final, playing good team ball on both ends of the floor to limit the Eagles and get their own on offence. However, the team could not execute when it mattered in overtime and now face a Flames side who impressively dealt with the Tigers by 18 points. The Rockets will need to be at their best defensively to trump what seems to be a studded Norwood line-up returning to form. If they can, we’ll have a great game on our hands.
The Rockets thumped Norwood in the teams’ most recent matchup, defeating them at home 108-76. In that game, the Flames were completely locked down by a restless North Adelaide defence. Brine, the Webbers, Lycett and most importantly Legan were all negated to significant effect by the in-tune Rockets defence, which was scrapping and rotating at a high intensity all game. McVeigh also feasted for North and it would seem he’s close to his best after a strong performance against Forestville last week. If Norwood are clicking on offence, the Rockets need to bring the same defensive intensity as their previous meeting and will also need Starling and McVeigh to ball out again.
Ones to watch
Simply put, Starling has been huge for the Rockets this season. Averaging 21 points and 12 boards this year, he has been a huge presence inside and in transition for a Rockets line-up which likes to get out and run. He would not have had the performance he would have wanted against the Eagles, but still sunk clutch free throws to take it to overtime. Expect him to reach a level above what he was last week and be a huge factor for the Rockets getting up and down the court. The Flames will need to pay close attention to him.
McVeigh has been the general of the North offence and, with 32 points and 8 assists last week, he looks to be in fantastic form. He will absolutely need to have a strong game if the Rockets want to eliminate this Norwood side. If he can run the offence at a good efficiency, the Flames will have trouble preventing his impact.
Legan is without a doubt Norwood’s key player. If he doesn’t perform, more often than not the Flames lose. He can get his from almost anywhere on the offensive end, making him a tough matchup for the Rockets. If they can keep him on the outside, they’ll be a good shot of quelling his influence. Expect him to have a big performance nonetheless though as Norwood look to be in good form.
Brine is a bit of an X-factor for Norwood. He’s not the biggest offensive threat on the team but he can often have a huge impact with his long-range shooting. If he gets off the chain and sinks some triples in this game, the Flames will be looking like winners.
Hang Time prediction: With both teams being highly effective on both ends, this one should be extremely close. Expect both teams to defend well and make some huge offensive plays. Norwood to win by five points in another overtime game for North.