In a must win game, despite having only 9 players available to “suit up”, the Rockets Men’s Premier League team had a comfortable 28 point win over the Southern Tigers at Noarlunga on Saturday night. The long road trip, very cold weather and lack of atmosphere in the stadium did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm as the boys displayed a complete team effort, with everyone contributing to the final score, leaving them with 11 wins and 7 losses for the season and a solid 4th position on the ladder with 4 rounds to go.    


Despite the boys getting to the stadium very early and spending more time than normal on some pre game shooting, the first quarter started slowly. By the half way mark, it was just  9-7 our way, but the signs were good with North dominating the boards and looking to run at every opportunity.  The lead swapped back and forth as the teams traded scores, but we just weren’t getting the reward for the level of effort (putting the ball in the basket was proving to be difficult). The game was also very physical, evidenced by 13 fouls being called for the quarter, (we went to the foul line 12 times) and as is normal these days, Aric seemed to be bear the brunt of the physical attention.  Quarter time score 17-19, with Aric (6 points, 2 assists), John (4 points, 6 rebounds), and Adam (4 rebounds) leading the way statistically.


The second quarter was all Rockets as the boys clamped down on the Tigers offence making it very, very difficult for them to get off any sort of unpressured shot, (by half time Tigers were shooting 24% from the floor), whist enjoying some excellent offensive play themselves. We went on a 14-0 run before the Tigers managed to score, with the scoreboard reading 31-19 at the 6 minute mark and the game almost out of reach. Brett Collins had a purple patch during this run, scoring, rebounding, giving off some assists, and running the team from the point. With the Tigers 12 down, they threw everything at the boys, managing a little 5-0 run themselves before North responded with another 10-0 run and stretching the lead to 15 at the main break. Half time rebound statistics were very impressive at 32-19 North’s way, and shooting percentages also confirmed the dominance 41% to 24%. Statistical leaders were Aric with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists; John 10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assists and 2 BIG blocks; Leroy 9 points, 6 rebounds.


The third quarter was a little disappointing. Despite continuing to dominate the game, that dominance just didn’t show on the scoreboard, following a number of missed layups, put backs and mid-range shots. For the quarter North shot just 6 of 26 field goals, and whilst not allowing Noarlunga back into the game, probably had them thinking they still had a chance being “only” 13 down at the last break. On the positive side, we continued to dominate the boards (44-29, with a massive 16-4 advantage at the offensive end), and efficiency in total (72-36). Also good news was the fact that all 9 players had scored, with Coach Hawkes giving everyone the chance to play and taking a rare opportunity to allow the starters more rest time on the bench than normal.  Three quarter time score was 61-48. Aric (20), Leroy (13), and John (10) were doing most of the scoring , but as well as all 9 having scored it was also very pleasing to see that all 9 also registered rebounds.


The last quarter was a complete rout by the Rocket boys, outscoring the Tigers 31-16, and outrebounding them 13-4 !! The boys rebounded, ran, layed the ball up and quickly transitioned into defence to steal the ball or force a turnover (Tigers had 23 for the game) on a number of occasions, to start the process over again. Everyone got involved, and it was pleasing to see Brad Jonnek scoring 8 points, take 2 rebounds, have an assist and a steal in what was his longest court time this year. The lead built to 20 quickly and hovered between 20 and 25 for most of the quarter, so there was an opportunity to savour the win without getting carried away. Final score was 92-64. Aric 30 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals was a whisker away from a triple double in just 31 minutes; John 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks had another big game; Leroy 15 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal does what he does most weeks; Brad Jonnek as above had a career game at this level; Pikey 7 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and a steal had one of his best; Adam 5 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal proved his worth yet again; Tom 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks played his normal team game; and Brett 3 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist showed his experience on a number of occasions to run the team.


A great team win and an opportunity to find some good form for some big games in the next couple of weeks, with Forestville (at Hillcrest) and Norwood (at Mars) to come. Big, big games with the chance to fight for 3rd spot (and a double chance) or to consolidate 4th and look forward to a finals campaign.   The competition is tight, but the boys are looking good at the right time. See you next week !!!!!


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