Following the Women’s excellent win on Saturday night, The Rockets Men made it a “Club Double” with a comfortable 31 point win over a young Sturt side in what was at times a lacklustre affair.

Given the great start the Boys had last week against reigning Premiers West, there were high hopes we would get off to a flyer on Saturday night, but it was not to be. Both teams struggled to find any rhythm in the early going and the shots were just not dropping. Brad Jonnek did score off the first offence, following two excellent offensive rebounds from Alex and Atem, who then provided Brad with the opportunity with a nice pass, but the score remained at 2-0 until the 4 minute 56 second mark following a number of missed shots. Adam was the next to score to make it 4-0, then CJ took the ball to the hoop for an excellent layup and it was 6-0 with things finally starting to gel. CJ continued his good work with a nice jumper, from an Alex Starling defensive rebound and assist, then made two free throws and suddenly it was 10-3 and we were off!! To their credit Sturt then had a little patch of their own, managing to keep themselves within touch. CJ Scored again and Alex made two free throws, but the quarter time score was 14-12, with neither team breaking any field goal percentage records (26% for us and 27% for Sturt). CJ ended up having a great 1st quarter with 8 points, with no one else getting more than 2.

Alex obviously decided it was time to get things moving in the second scoring the first 9 points, one a nice dunk following a Darcy steal, then CJ got involved again for a 2 point jumpshot, before a BIG, block from Adam saw Alex off again for another layup from a Brad Jonnek assist and it was 29-17 with 5 minutes gone. CJ scored again to take his tally to 12, Alex continued his dominance with a layup (to take him to 13) and we were running more like we would expect to. Following some excellent ball movement Nick Marshall hit a “3”, then young Matt Trandafil scored a nice layup over the Sturt defence and the scoreboard was really starting to tick over. Then a minor disaster with CJ picking up an unsportsmanlike foul and a technical for his questioning of the decision and his night was over. Given he had 12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals, his absence was going to have an effect, but thankfully with just 30 seconds to the main break, there was an opportunity for the Boys to settle down and get their minds on the game. The score was 34-24 and it was felt, didn’t reflect the difference in the teams scoring opportunities.

By the time the 3rd quarter was over the score was 54-37 and was probably a fair reflection on the state of the game. The North Boys never quite got into top gear, but did enough to win the game, whilst Sturt would have felt they stayed close enough to give themselves a chance if things went their way? With no CJ, Gab Saldavia ran the point for long periods and did a good job, making sure the ball got through some hands. Brad, Darcy and Nick (his second “3” of the evening) all scored and the difference quickly became 15 (45-30). Atem, who had to sit for an extended period following a couple of first half fouls, also made sure the scoreboard kept ticking over making the “and 1” taking the margin to 16 (48-32) with a couple of minutes to the break. The quarter finished with Alex scoring on a nice “alley-oop” pass from Brad and a nice little “put back” from Gab following one of his two offensive rebounds for the quarter and the score 54-37.

The last quarter was certainly the best on the scoreboard with a 26-12 effort and a final score of 80-49, which is a great defensive effort to say the least. Alex (11 points for the quarter), Atem (5 points) and Darcy (4 points) all scored early stretching the lead to 26 and this gave Coach Hawkes the opportunity to “clear the bench” giving Matt, Riley (Slater) and Gab some good experience with several minutes of extended court time and all played very well. Matt in particular, who scored 6 points (for a total of 8), giving him some much needed confidence for the remainder of the season.

Final statistics showed Alex led the way with 28 points, 19 rebounds, 4 assists and a block; CJ (despite his shortened game) had 12 points, 2 rebounds, an assist and 2 steals; Atem had 8 points, 5 rebounds, an assist and a block; Matt had 8 points, a rebound and a steal; Brad had 7 points, 5 rebounds, 8 (career high) assists, and 5 (career high) steals; Darcy had 7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 3 steals; Nick had 6 points, 13 (career high) rebounds and 5 (career high) assists; Adam had 2 points, 3 rebounds, a steal and a BIG block; Gab had 2 points, 2 rebounds and an assist; Riley had 1 rebound.

So we move on to a massive game against Norwood on ANZAC day at the ARC, quickly followed by an away game (Mt Barker) against a much improved Eastern on Saturday. This week could well decide how the season shapes for many teams, so take the opportunity and come and cheer on the Rocket Boys & Girls!!


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