Recent results suggested the game against Woodville was going to be a tight affair, and that is exactly what the good sized contingent of Rocket’s fans witnessed, with the final result not clear until the very end. In a very close encounter, with just 1 minute 18 seconds left on the clock, and momentum with the Warriors, North were 2 points down, and things were looking ominous. But a couple of big 3 pointers by Tom Rowe and Brett Collins, were enough to seal the win at St Clair Recreation Centre 71-68 and give the Rocket Boys a 2 and 0 start to the new Season.

The game started with some bad news for the North Boys, in that Steve Branson, who played very well in Round 1, could not take his place in the starting line-up due to knee soreness. Luke Pike was called upon to take his place for the opening tip, along with normal starters, Leroy, Tom, Adam and Cody. The boys struggled to settle however with 5 nervous turnovers in the first three minutes and Woodville took immediate advantage racking up an early 14-7 lead. Coach Hawkes called a time out, which saw the introduction of Brad Jonnek, allowing the boys to settle and by quarter time, they had managed to get the deficit back to just 2 (18-20). Leroy continued his good form with 7 points and 4 rebounds for the quarter, Adam Schild had a great start with 4 points, (including a perfect 2 of 2 from the line), 3 rebounds and a steal, and Brad had an immediate impact off the bench with 4 points and some solid defence. Rebounds are always a very good indicator of effort, and an emphasis for the boys this year, so it was pleasing to see North ahead 10-6 on that count.


The 2nd quarter was very close. Woodville did lead for all but 55 seconds (and scores were tied for that period), but the difference was never more than 5 points as momentum swung between the two teams. Every North player who entered the court played their role, whether that be offensively or defensively in what was a true team effort. There were a number of highlights including Leroy’s massive dunk over Woodville’s import (that got the bench up and about), Brad Jonnek’s 6 points on 3 of 5 shooting, Cody’s 3 steals and Tom Rowe’s big 3 pointer to tie the game at 38 all at the half. Statistically the boys had fallen behind in the rebound count (17-19), but turnovers had improved dramatically with 9 to the half (given we had 5 after the first 3 minutes of the game), whilst forcing Woodville into 12 turnovers, and 8 steals to this point was impressive. So at 38 all, we were in for a big second half.


Woodville had the better of the 3rd quarter, outrebounding the boys 11-5, which in turn got their transition game going and/or gave them some second chance points. For the Rockets, Cody had a good quarter with 6 points and a couple of excellent steals, Brad got himself to 12 points on the back of some excellent shooting, Leroy was also on 12 points, along with 8 rebounds, whilst Tom and Brett continued to ensure the game was played on our terms, contributing in every statistical category. Three quarter time score was 54-58, but the mood was positive and the boys were confident they could do what was required for the win.


The last quarter was a reflection on what the game had been so far. Woodville were up by 4 early, but the boys fought back to level the scores at 58 all with 2 minutes gone. A steal and a layup by Cody saw North lead by 3 with almost 4 minutes to go, but again Woodville came back  through their import Kirksey (who had 22 for the game), scoring a quick 5 points which saw them lead by 2 with 1 minute 18 seconds left.  Then up stepped Tom and Brett, who showed all their experience and skills, taking and making two big 3 pointers to see the Rockets lead by 4 before Kirksey scored again to make it a single basket difference with 12 seconds on the clock. Woodville needing the ball fouled Leroy, who calmly sank one of the free throws and gave us a 3 point lead with just 11 seconds remaining. Coach Hawkes called a time out just to make sure the boys know their assignments and that is how the game ended, with scores 71-68!!!


A very exciting game, played in the right spirit by both teams. Statistically there were some individual highlights, Leroy with another double-double (17 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals), Brad Jonnek in his second good game in a row (12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and a block), Cody showing his true value (12 points, 2 rebounds, 6 steals), Tom playing his normal “Captain’s Game”, (9 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal), Brett showing all his experience when the game was on the line (9 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists), Adam working as hard as ever and showing some very positive signs from the free throw line (8 points (4 of 4 free throws), 5 rebounds, a steal and 2 blocks), and Pikey contributing wherever his talents are needed (4 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and some great defensive work).  Also good to see youngsters Ray Harding and Josh Graetz get into the game early and again show they have a role to play at this level.


Great win by the boys, with South next on the program. Thanks to all the spectators who made it to St Clair (not the most user friendly arena for viewing games), hope to see you at Marion on Saturday the 2nd of April after a break for Easter.


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