In a game where home court advantage for the already decided return match in the first week of the finals was the prize, the Rocket boys overcame a determined Sturt team to win 82-74 off the back of a solid defensive effort and a big night at the offensive end for popular import Aric Miller. The result means the teams meet again next Saturday at Hillcrest in the knock out semi-final in what should be an absolute beauty of a game.



The night started with the two teams looking to establish their game style. Both had plenty of players capable of putting up big numbers so thoughts where that the team that better restricted their opponents strengths over the entire four quarters, would win. Aric, John and Leroy got us off to a good start with successful shots, and defensively the boys were working very hard. At the 5 minute mark, the scores were 11-9 North’s way and it was already evident that this was going to be a four quarter game, probably decided in the last few minutes.  Sturt, as is normally the case, looked to have an impact from beyond the 3 point line (they hit three of them in the first quarter), but the North boys did everything to contest the shots and have an impact at the other end. By quarter time North led 21-19 and Aric was the standout with 13 points (he had three 3 pointers of his own), with scoring support from Lucky who had managed 4. North led several of the important statistical categories, but it was a worry that Sturt led the rebound count, and gave the boys something to work on for the remainder of the game.


The Rockets boys doubled their lead in the second quarter (led by 4 at half time 41-37), by narrowing the rebound differential, playing good defence and by every player contributing offensively. It was a good spectacle as the teams traded baskets, and both leading for periods of time, but the biggest margin was the 4 point lead North had at the main break. Contributions were coming from all over the court but Aric was having a big night offensively and led the way with 21 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals. Lucky had 6 points and a steal; and Leroy had 5 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. John led the rebound count with 5 and Brett Collins in some very valuable court time, secured 2 (1 of which was offensive). There were still a couple of issues to be addressed however, including the overall rebound count (15-17) and the fact John Wernham had 3 fouls potentially restricting his influence in the second half.


The third saw an excellent defensive effort by the boys, restricting Sturt to just 13 points, (on 5 of 22 shooting), whilst scoring 19 themselves (on 8 of 17 shooting) to see the lead extend to 10 points, but it was not all one way traffic. The difference hovered around the 4-6 mark for much of the quarter and it was only a big 3 pointer by Aric on the last offence that saw the lead extend into double figures for the first time. The good news was the boys evened up the rebound count (28 all), led the assists (14-7), steals (6-3), and turnovers (10-11), but there was some bad news with John and Lucky both on 4 fouls and Coach Hawkes had to be a little careful as to when they entered the game with a quarter to go. Three quarter time score 60-50.


The 4th quarter was a cracker. The lead built to 13 with 5 minutes 50 seconds to go, on the back of some good offence, but Sturt came storming back and narrowed it to just 4 with a minute 51 seconds to go. During this run, John Wernham picked up his 5th personal foul, but Adam Schild confidently stepped into the game and contributed at both ends of the floor. Tom Rowe’s composure was critical over the last few minutes, as he managed the play at the offensive end, whilst Lucky who was playing with 4 fouls, Adam, who finished the game with a big two handed dunk, Leroy and Aric (who hit another big 3) all played their part.  Final score was 82-74. In the end we led the rebound count 38-34, the assists 18-12, the steals 9-3, shooting percentage 49%-42% and the 3 point percentage 42%-27%.


Aric finished with 38 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals and a block; Leroy had 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists; Lucky had 10 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 1 steal; John had 8 points, 11 rebounds, and a steal; Tom had 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists; Adam had 3 points, 3 rebounds; Brett had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal; Pikey had 2 points, and a rebound.


A great team effort which sees the boys play the same team, same day, same time, same place, next week, but this time in a knock out semi-final !! Should be a beauty.


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