In another very exciting Men’s Premier League game, the North Adelaide Rockets, had to use all their experience and expertise to secure a tough road win against perennial contender Forestville. Despite having led reasonably comfortably for almost the entire game, the boys found themselves only 2 up with less than 90 seconds to go, and momentum on Forestville’s side. But composure, successful free throw shooting and support from a vocal Rocket’s contingent in the big crowd at Wayville, saw them over the line with an 8 point win !!!!


It had been some time since the boys had tasted victory against Forestville, and in the change rooms, Coach Hawkes confirmed what had to be done to be successful. Play our game, aggressive defence,  run, control Rios (their main scorer who had over 40 against us last time), and in particular compete for every rebound.    


The game started well, with the first 5 of Adz, Tom, Leroy, Lucky and Aric setting the tone to establish a 5 point lead, following the Coach’s instructions perfectly. Leroy, Lucky and Aric were all over the boards, and creating havoc with their quick transition, Adam was doing a great defensive job on ex Rocket Pero Vasiljevic, and Tom was running the team well from the point. Defensively we had forced them into 5 turnovers in a very short space of time, and kept their main threat Rios to just 2 points. Coming off the bench, Pikey had an amazing 2 minutes, for a quick fire 7 points, and the boys led 23-16 at the first break. Importantly the rebound count was 10-6 Rockets way, and amazingly 6 of our rebounds were offensive !! Great start.


The second quarter was all Rockets early, but the scoreboard probably didn’t reflect the dominance. The lead got out to 30-17 on the back of some good offensive play, and a big Brett Collins 3 pointer. Forestville, in response went to their bench in an effort to stay in the game, trying to find an avenue to the basket. But sharing the defensive assignment on Rios was working well (he had 3 points at the half time break), with Tom, Aric, Leroy, Pikey and Lucky all taking their turn. Even better news was that no one was in foul trouble despite this close attention. Another big 3 to Brett, saw the largest lead of the night (16) with three minutes to go, before Forestville, mainly through Bradley Haydon (now up to 13 points) managed to get it back to 12 at half time with the score 45-33. We were getting contributions from everyone, Lucky had 3 important offensive rebounds, Aric had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks, Tom had 5 assists, Adam had 7 points, Pikey had 9 points, Brett had 6, Leroy 8 points and 4 offensive rebounds. On the downside (and the focus of Coach’s half time address) was the fact that Forestville had outrebounded us 8-11, for the quarter, with 6 of them offensive, giving them lots of second chance opportunities. So the emphasis again, was to rebound every missed shot.


The third was a let-down, after having witnessed the first half. This quarter it was us who turned the ball over unnecessarily (5 for the quarter) giving Forestville plenty of opportunity to get themselves going. Suddenly we were struggling to score and at times, in an effort to change the momentum, took early shots which only played into Forestville’s hands. A 0-5 run saw the lead back to only 7, but a 4th foul to Pero for them, saw us go to inside to Adam for a quick 4 points and the lead was back to 11. Forestville continued to rely on Haydon, up to 20 by three quarter time, and Rios, who was starting to find his rhythm, with 7 points for the quarter. Ours was a team effort with everyone contributing in different ways. Aric was up to 10 points (7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 blocks), Lucky had 5 assists (3 offensive rebounds), Tom 5 points (3 rebounds, 5 assists), Brett 6 points (2 rebounds, 2 assists), Adam 11 points (4 rebounds), Leroy 14 points (7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Pikey 11 points. Three quarter time saw the score at 61-53, and suddenly momentum with them!


The last started slowly but with both teams scoring and the margin no less than 7 for the first 6 minutes. Then Rios found his shooting range despite some excellent defence. He kept them close with 2 massive 3 pointers and Forestville suddenly felt they had a chance being 3 down with less than three minutes to go. They were over the foul limit however and thankfully the boys shot well from the free-throw line (Aric shot 7 of 10 for the quarter) when required to do so. However it wasn’t over with Rios hitting another big 3, and suddenly the margin was 2 with a minute 21 seconds on the clock. An Aric free throw made it a 3 point margin, before they missed a shot and Leroy made it 5 points with a confident 2 pointer. A flurry of time outs, deliberate fouls and competent shooting from the foul line by Tom, and Aric (twice) saw the lead stretched to 8 on the buzzer. A tough game, which sets us up nicely for the season with a 6 and 2 record.


Again the statistics show what a great team effort it was for us. Teams are finding it difficult to close us down with so many options in offence and everyone contributing in many different aspects. For this game, Aric had 21 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks; Lucky had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block; Tom had 9 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block; Brett had 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block; Adam had 11 points and 7 rebounds; Leroy had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists; Pikey had 11 points. With John Wernham out (injured), physicality was always a worry but the boys worked hard to even the rebound count at 37 all despite Forestville being a much bigger team. That is he sort of effort the coaching team is looking for every week.


Next game is v Southern at Hillcrest on the 9th of May. Do yourself a favour and come out for a look !!!!!


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