Well they have done it again. In another last minute nail biter, the Rockets Men’s Premier League team maintained their “cardiac kids” image by holding off a fast finishing South Adelaide at Marion, finally winning by 4 points (73-69). Despite having led by 18, half way through the 3rd, the boys’ composure deserted them, and they couldn’t buy a basket, allowing South to snatch the momentum and make a game of it over the last 10 minutes, getting the difference back to a single basket on several occasions. At the end of the day the game was won from the foul line, with the boys making 7 of 10 free throws over the last few minutes.


North started with Leroy, Tom, Cody, Adam and Pikey, well aware of South’s shooting abilities and the athleticism of their US import (Johnson) who had a very good game the week before. We looked to run at every opportunity and that certainly paid dividends with the game moving quickly from end to end. The fast pace saw the boys take a very high 29 shots in the first period and even though the percentage wasn’t the best (31%), it was sensational to witness the effort of everyone, with 10 offensive rebounds secured to go along with 5 defensive ones for 15 at the quarter time break (to South’s 7 in total), so the boys were certainly keen to keep the ball alive and in our hands. The lead changed 3 times, (North’s biggest lead was 4 and South’s was 3), was tied 5 times and the closeness was evidenced by the 20-20 scoreline after ten minutes. Early statistics showed Pikey had a great start with 7 points, 3 offensive rebounds and an assist; Adam 4 points and 4 rebounds; Cody 5 points, 3 rebounds and a steal; Leroy 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals; and Tom with 2 rebounds and 2 assists.


The second quarter was all North, outscoring South 27-15, and every meaningful statistic pointed our way. Rebounds were 32-19; Assists 14 to 6; Turnovers 2 to 10; Steals 7 to 2, and the most important statistic of all was the score at 47-35. Everyone got involved and it was particularly good to see big John Wernham back on the court, registering his first point (and a couple of offensive rebounds) for the season after missing the first two games with knee soreness. Every player who entered the court contributed and at one stage we scored 16 points in a row to enjoy a “comfortable” 12 point lead at the main break. Pikey continued his good form with 14 points to the half, along with 4 offensive rebounds and an assist; Cody had 9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals; Leroy had 8 points, 12 rebounds (6 offensive), 3 assists and 4 steals; Tom had 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 points. Also pleasing to see Brad Jonnek continue recent good form with 7 points and a couple of offensive rebounds.


The 3rd was a frustrating one for coaches and players alike. Despite the effort, things just didn’t seem to go our way, and only 12 shots were taken (compared to 29 in the first) and we made 4 of them for a total of just 13 points for the quarter. Coach Hawkes tried different combinations, different offences, different defences and anything else available to him, but the offensive momentum was lost. The boys did dig in on defence though and held South to just 15 so a great effort there, and a 10 point three quarter time lead, which was hopefully enough to keep the record intact.  Marion is not an easy place to win so the challenge was there for the boys if they worked to take it.


The last started slowly, but the margin did increase to 12 with a  minute and a half gone. South came roaring back, to narrow the difference to just 6 with some six and a half minutes still on the clock and they seemed to have all the momentum. Coach Hawkes again had to call a time out to steady the boys and ensure they stuck to the plan for the run home, but we struggled putting the ball in the basket and South continued with their push for a chance to win it. With 25 seconds to go the scores were 70-67 and South who had hit several 3’s in their comeback were showing signs of running over the top of us. But the experience of Brett, Tom, and Leroy in particular showed through as they stepped to the foul line and made free throws to win the game 73-69.


Final statistics showed Pikey had a sensational game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist; Cody 13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals; Leroy with 10 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals; Adam 8 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and a block; Brett with 8 points, 1 rebound and 4 assists; Brad with 7 points, 4 rebounds and a steal; Tom with 5 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals; and John with 1 point, 2 rebounds and a steal in limited minutes. 


Team statistics were also pretty impressive with us leading every important category, Offensive Rebounds 23 to 15; Total Rebounds 50 to 42; Assists 19 to 9; Turnovers 12 to 20; and Steals 12 to 8.


A good win leaving the boys 3 and 0, but some very tough games coming up with Southern (Creek, Johns, Starling and Dodson), Norwood (with Lycett and Holmes) and Forestville (with Rios and Doyle) over the next few weeks. Thank you to the supporters who came out to cheer the boys on, we know that Marion is not the most convenient place to get to, it is appreciated and hope to see you at the next game.  


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