Rockets Men, Win in a Thriller against South

Rockets Men, Win in a Thriller against South

The Rockets Men’s team, having been 15 points down with 1 minute 52 seconds to go in the 3rd quarter, managed to fight their way back and win the game against South off a final shot by Aric Miller with 7 seconds to go, witnessed by another big, noisy crowd at Hillcrest. The lead changed 9 times during the game, and scores were tied 7 times in  a see-sawing affair, where the imports (Aric for the Rockets and Jeremy Smith for South) showed what a difference they can make, both dominating the game at different times.

The first quarter gave a clue to what was going to happen with Aric (8 points) and Smith (10 points) for South both playing well at their respective offensive ends. Coach Nathan Hawkes had made it very clear to the North boys that rebounding was going to be the difference with the massive South front line very intimidating, and the boys were making every effort to ensure any rebounds were snared by us. Great blocking out by John Wernham, Adam Schild and Tom Rowe in particular allowed North to lead with a 9 (Leroy with 3 leading the way) to 8  advantage going into the first break. First quarter scores, 22 all, and it can’t get any closer than that !!!!

The second quarter saw South start well and establish a quick 5 point lead (22-27), but that was soon followed by a 10-0 run (John Wernham with 6) to North, which saw the score at 36-29 at the 4 minute mark, and it seemed that momentum had swung in our favour. Typical of the entire game however South came storming back, mainly off the back of Smith, and actually led 45-40 at the half time break. Stats leaders for the Rockets were Aric with 11 points and 4 assists; John Wernham with 12 points  and 4 rebounds; and Luke Mapunda with 9 points  and 5 rebounds. The positive for the North boys was that everyone was contributing on the scoreboard, whereas South were relying heavily on Smith and his 20 points.

During the break, Coach Hawkes reiterated his messages from the beginning of the game, with the need to stick to our game plan, and not lose focus. Unfortunately the third quarter saw South again enjoy a good start quickly getting out to a 10 point lead (43-53), before a long 3 from Lucky pegged them back a little. But momentum was with them and the Rocket boys struggled to stay in the game, as shots from outside the key failed to connect.  One very positive note was the contribution on the boards from everyone ( we won the boards 12-8 for the quarter), ensuring we kept within touch, but unfortunately the lead did get out to 15 with less than 2 minutes to go and things were looking dire. The boys however really pushed themselves for the last minute and a great offensive rebound and put-back from Adam on the buzzer saw the difference back to 10 (53-63) with one quarter to go.

The last was a very, very exciting affair. With less than three minutes gone, Daniel Goodluck had 6 points, a steal and 2 rebounds (1 offensive), Adam Schild had a big block, and Aric Miller had a couple of points, a couple of assists and a defensive rebound, seeing the scores back to even-steven at 63-63 !!! The bench and the crowd was suddenly up and about and the noise certainly saw the momentum stay with the Rocket boys for the rest of the game.  South’s weren’t finished though and even with most things going our way, they never fell behind by more than 2 points so were certainly not out of it.  Again though the team effort of the North boys, with contributions from everyone, proved to be the difference. Leroy scored 4 points late, John Wernham ripped down a couple of big rebounds, Lucky was everywhere with another steal, a rebound and an assist, and Aric and Tom showed their experience as the game neared its end. With 23 seconds to go North trailed by a point, missed a shot, and Lucky thankfully got the offensive rebound.  Now with the clock down to 16 seconds a time out was called, and North decided to hold the ball for as long as possible and leave South little time to respond, assuming we scored. Enter Aric and he hits the game winner with 7 seconds on the clock !!!!!  South did have one last chance but failed to connect.

Stat leaders were Aric with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists; Lucky with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals; Tom Rowe with his normal Captain’s game of 4 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal; John W with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, and a big block; Leroy with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. North won the boards 38-27, the Assists with 16-10, and overall efficiency 91 to 70.

Again, a very exciting game, with every member of the North team (including the bench) and the crowd doing their part to get the boys over the line. A 3 and 0 start to the season, with the Easter break coming up. As the old cliché goes, one game at a time and there is a long way to go, but undefeated after 3 games, and 2 very exciting encounters in 2 weeks on our home court. Don’t miss the next one, Centrals at Starplex on the 11th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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