Back in winning ways

Without injured centre Chris Alexander due to injury from Birmingham the night prior, coupled to the absence of two Academy youngsters, a depleted in numbers team settled quickly into their task in the east Midlands easing into 23-14 opening quarter lead thanks to a brace of trebles from captain Lewis Champion and Jermiah Jenkins coupled to assists from Elijah Maynard to Zack Powell , drives from Mitch Clarke and fluid team plays.

Lewis Champion of Reading Rockets. Loughborough Riders VS Reading Rockets in NBL action.

The seconds period saw Riders stroke a treble with their first possession before Clarke took a charge and Fin Porter slam dunked to re-assert Rockets advantage. A Clarke finger roll saw the visitors with a double digit lead at 29-19 and one they were to hold till the end of the quarter when Riders went on a 10-0 run to get to the break only 6 points behind Rockets at 33-39.

A 25-19 third quarter for Riders evened up the game and brought the result very much into question as Riders lit up the arena with five unanswered trebles interspersed with a sole Clarke treble and a couple of inside plays from Porter seeing the hosts just a single point in arrears as the final quarter beckoned at 59-58 in Rockets favour.

A rejuvenated and on fire Riders took the lead for the first time in the game with their first possession and extended it with the next before Reis Pinnock scored off the glass and then with a jump shot. However the Riders came back again with a pair of trebles to lead 69-63 before a great four point play form Champion, a rare occurrence when the player scores with a treble , is foiled in the process and hits the penalty shot too. This galvanised Rockets as Porter spun to score and Jenkins hit another treble to tie the game on 75 with just under 4 minutes remaining. With the impressive Porter on four fouls and Pinnock just fouling out, Head Coach Samit Nuruzade shuffled his team frequently in the end game scenario trying to stop the resurgent Riders whilst keeping the scoreboards ticking in Rockets favour. He did this admirably as the smallest player on court, Jenkins, showed how key he is in such situations as he sent an assist to Porter and then hit four from four from the free throw line to secure the victory.

Lewis Champion of Reading Rockets, Mitch Clarke of Reading Rockets and Elijah Maynard of Reading Rockets. Loughborough Riders VS Reading Rockets in NBL action.

This was a magnificent team effort as five of Rockets eight players all hit double digit scores with Porter having a double double with 16 pts and 12 rebounds, Lewis Champion 17 pts and 5 assists, Jermiah Jenkins and Mitch Clarke top scored with 18 apiece and Reis Pinnock hitting 10 pts and taking down 7 rebounds.