In a very solid defensive effort, (against a team renowned for its 3 point shooting), and a return to some form at the offensive end, the Rockets Men’s Premier League Team defeated Sturt on Saturday night by 9 points. The away win (at Pasadena) was built on the back of keeping Sturt, who had beaten us twice last year, to just 9 points in the 3rd quarter, and sees us sitting equal 3rdon the premiership ladder, exactly half way through the season.


Given the loss to South on Wednesday night, the boys were keen for a good first quarter and the crowd was not disappointed. Defensive focus was on the Sturt shooters, who had proven they could score against any team in the league, and Coach Hawkes had also stressed the need for a team rebounding effort to get some run going offensively. John Wernham had a very good start with 6 quick points, along with a couple of rebounds and was proving tough to defend.  Sturt had obviously focused their efforts on controlling Aric’s involvement and were defending him aggressively, but that backfired somewhat with him being fouled 4 times (in the last 3 minutes), going to the line for 5 free throws (1 of the fouls was “and 1”), all of which he made, and scoring 9 points !!!!!!  Quarter time scores 23-16, with Sturt not hitting a 3 pointer and importantly we led the rebound count 14-6.


North did not relinquish the lead in the 2nd quarter, in fact it got out to 11 with 3 minutes to go, but some unnecessary fouls saw Sturt go to the line 9 times (they scored 8) and they whittled the lead back to 5 by half time. It was also disappointing that we were outrebounded 5-13 during this 10 minutes, and 5 offensive rebounds to Sturt certainly hurt the boy’s efforts. However one highlight was a big two handed dunk to Pikey on a breakaway, which ended with him swinging from the rim with a smile on his face !! It lifted morale on the court and the boys on the bench were suddenly “up and about”. Offensively we did well with 20 points for the quarter and Aric was up to 15, Lucky 8, John 7, Pikey 4 and Leroy 4, so a good sign that everyone was involved.  It was also good to see Brett Collins and Adam Schild securing 2 offensive rebounds each.


Defensively the 3rd quarter was excellent, with Sturt scoring only 9 points, (in fact we restricted them to just 14 shots), but we struggled a little ourselves managing only 13. Both teams scrapped for every loose ball, every rebound and every opportunity to disrupt the others offensive, and whilst not high scoring the quarter was certainly intense. A good indication of the closeness was the rebound count (12 each), steals (1 each), and 3 point shooting (0 of 3 each). The team effort of the North boys was also evident with everyone involved statistically. Aric was on 15 points (3 rebounds, 4 assists), Lucky 11 , 4 rebounds, 2 assists), John 11 (3 rebounds, 1 block), Leroy 6 (4 rebounds, 2 assists), Pikey 6 (2 rebounds, 2 steals), Tom 4 (6 rebounds, 1 assist), Brett 3 (4 rebounds, 1 assist) and Adam with 5 rebounds (3 offensive).   


With a 9 point lead the boys started the last with confidence. Once again the lead grew to 12, but we just could not extend it any further and allowed Sturt the opportunity to stay close enough to think they had a chance. A very solid 25 point quarter (Aric had 10 and John 6), showed that offensively things were going well, with the boys running, supporting each other and making sure everyone was involved. Some crisp ball movement against Sturt’s zone and decent shooting (8 of 17 for the quarter) allowed us to finish the game well, but Sturt with some desperate 3 point shooting (despite us holding them to 0 of 9 by three quarter time) hitting 2 of 4, again kept them reasonably close. In the end a good team effort, in a game we would be expected to win, keeping us where we need to be to make finals a possibility. A long way to go, but again proof that we are definitely on the right track. Aric finished with 25 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists; Lucky had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists; John 17 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist and a big block; Tom 9 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal; Brett 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals; Adam 5 rebounds, 1 assist; Leroy 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal; Pikey 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals. Aric Miller won the MVP (awarded by Sturt).  


Another one down and 11 to go. Next week we play Eastern at home, so a chance to see the boys in action in another exciting round of Premier League Basketball. Get yourself along and have a look.


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