Rockets head to the Semifinals

In a gripping KitKIng Trophy quarter-final at Loddon Valley, Rockets defeated a talented and determined Essex Rebels team. 

Having seen off Rockets in a pre-season friendly , Rebels hit the court confident but Mitch Clarke taking a charge, Finleigh Porter making a slam dunk and the returning Taylan Rowe stroking the first of his 4 trebles soon saw the hosts hit back and take a comfortable 31-19 lead at the first break.

The tight defense that Rockets were showing saw Zack Powell take a charge before he received an assist from Porter to slam home and see Rockets 15 points ahead within two minutes of the re-start. 

Christain Alexander enjoyed a customary slam for the 6’8 forward before he got back quickly to pull off a big rejection as Rebels threatened. But the visitors went on a 7-0 run seeing the Rockets advantage reduce to just 9 points, causing Rockets Head Coach Samit Nurazade to call a time-out. His team then finished the second period strongly as Porter made a 3 point play, Rowe hit a treble and Lewis Champion drove to score giving Rockets a half time lead of 56-42.

Mitch Clarke of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Essex Rebels in the KitKing Trophy quarter finals

The third period again reflected Rockets grip on the game though Rebels fought tirelessly to disrupt Rockets offense whilst scoring themselves. The quarter was edged by Rebels 21-20 though some great team basketball saw Porter finish and Rowe hit a downtown treble. Champion hit 7 from 7 from the free throw line with the returning from injury Reis Pinnock also secured from the same spot. Powell extended the lead to 20 points but another 7-0 run including a brace of trebles by Rebels saw Rockets with just a 76-63 going into the last quarter.

The fourth period was a joy to watch for Lewis Champion fans as he stroked 17 points including three trebles,  made a steal to score , and drove and finished twice.

 Porter enjoyed a dunk and three point play whilst Powell took down a big defensive rebound and Elijah Maynard made a pair of lay-ups. Champion led the team by example and thoroughly deserved the Player of the Match award before an adoring crowd who enjoyed seeing Rockets extend their KitKing Trophy journey to the semi-final.

Lewis Champion of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Essex Rebels in the KitKing Trophy quarter finals

Top scorers for Rockets were Lewis Champion with 32 pts, 4 assists and 5 steals with Finleigh Porter hitting 16 pts and taking down 7 rebounds as Taylan Rowe hit 14 pts and Elijah Maynard 10 pts and 5 rebounds.

Rockets begin their league campaign at Loddon Valley on Sun 15th Oct at 4pm as they welcome Bradford Dragons to Reading.