Rockets take the perfect start

In a low scoring game where both sides would show a strong defense , Rockets came back from an early deficit to take the win against fellow KitKing Trophy semi-finalist.

Big man Christian Alexander opened Rockets account with a brace of plays before Bradford Dragons hit the first of their six trebles but a Zack Powell steal and slam dunk stirred the packed arena at Loddon Valley.

Reading Rockets VS Bradford Dragons in NBL action.

Reis Pinnock showed why he’s regarded as one of the very best defenders in the league with some great stops before being secure from the free throw line and then hitting a treble as Dragons edged out the opening quarter 17-16.

Captain Lewis Champion received an assist from Reis moments before he received a second assist, this time from Mitch Clarke to hit a brace of trebles giving Rockets a five point advantage within 31 seconds of the re-start.

Taylan Rowe then sent a great pass to Pinnock to make a lay-up before Dragons called a time out after an 8-0 Rockets run, their best of the game. Pinnock continued to impress with his scoring ability as he sank a buzzer beating treble. Powell enjoyed another slam dunk and the team defended so well as to cause a 24 sec violation to Dragons, much to the delight of the Rockets supporters. A Powell block and a Clarke treble saw Rockets with a 39-33 advantage at the interval.

Mitch Clarke of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Bradford Dragons in NBL action.

The Dragons hit three trebles in the third quarter but Powell and Clarke replied with a pair of trebles for Rockets and took a double digit lead with 3 minutes of the period left. A Champion steal and score coupled to great defense which Rockets turned into a great team play and Fin Porter finish was another highlight as Rockets entered the final stanza with a 59-50 lead following their biggest lead of 59-48.

Finleigh Porter did his best work in this quarter as his other big man teammate Alexander was fouled out . Dragons fought tirelessly as all of Chris Mellor’s teams do and with a 9-2 run Rockets Head Coach Samit Nuruzade called a timeout as Dragons came within 4 points of Rockets at 59-63.

A Powell rejection ensured Dragons didn’t get closer on the re-start but with Dragons next play the deficit was just one score, 2 points. Clark struck a treble and Porter finished well inside before Powell scored, drew the foul and hit the free throw which he quickly followed up with an offensive rebound and score, seeing Rockets back to a 73-64 lead. Dragons hit a treble to give them more encouragement but with Champion secure from the penalty stripe and Clarke hitting his 4th personal treble Rockets finished powerfully and took their first league game of the season with a confidence building victory at 79-71.

Finleigh Porter of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Bradford Dragons in NBL action.

Top scorers for Rockets were Finleigh Porter with 17 pts, 6 rebounds and 3 steals followed by Zack Powell with 16 pts and 6 rebounds. Mitch Clarke and Reis Pinnock scored 14 pts each with Pinnock taking down 6 rebounds and making 6 assists whilst Clarke hit 4 trebles. Captain Lewis Champion was also in double figures.

The Rockets now take on the Thames Valley Cavaliers on the road this weekend, before returning home on the 29th to take on the Loughborough Riders.