Semi-Final Success for Rockets

From a double digit deficit in the opening quarter and without the experienced captain , Lewis Champion (personal reasons), a full to overflowing Loddon Valley witnessed a great comeback as Rockets soared to the National Cup Final, the most prestigious in English basketball.

Top of the table Rebels with only one league defeat this season, were quick out of the blocks stroking three trebles whilst Rockets couldn’t sink anything beyond the arc but a trademark charge taken by Reis Pinnock and a pair of free throws at the end of the period saw Rockets trail 16-24.  However a 8-0 run early in the second quarter saw the Rockets right back in the fight for victory . Elijah Maynard and Fin Porter kept Rockets tantalizingly a couple of points adrift of the league leaders whilst Jermiah Jenkins hit the first of his 8 trebles complimented with Pinnock stroking one too before the interval and seeing the game tied on 41 apiece before Rebels hit the last 4 points to go the locker room 45-41 ahead.  

Reis Pinnock of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Essex Rebels in NBL Cup Semi-Finals.

Rockets turned up the pressure in the third period and took it 27 -24 getting even closer at 68-69 thanks to Mitch Clark increasing his influence and Jenkins stroking trebles from way ‘downtown’ , usually keeping Rockets close to Rebels and with Rockets even taking the lead at 56-54 . Turnovers were costing Rockets but the team dynamic increased as the loud and expressive supporters made themselves heard at The Valley. A brace of late Jenkins trebles saw Rockets 68-69 down as the final session began. Could the Rockets make the final ?

A 25-19 quarter said yes they could as the team stopped Rebels offenses, lit up the arena with glorious plays tying the game on 71, 73 and 75 before a Clake treble eased Rockets ahead. Both Head Coaches took time outs to keep their respective teams focused for the end game scenario . A further pair of Jenkins trebles saw Rockets 86-80 ahead but back came Rebels to tie the game on 86 each with 2 minutes 31 secs remaining. This was anyone’s game right now. Zack Powell drove to edge Rockets ahead before both teams missed opportunities to score and with just 1 minute 6 seconds left Chris Alexander scored inside to give Rockets a 4 point advantage. Rebels hit a jump shot to come within one shot of victory but a couple of steals by Clarke from which he was fouled saw him extend Rockets lead from the free throw line back to 4 and effectively seal the well deserved victory taking Rockets to Manchester on Sun 21st Jan where they’ll play Milton Keynes Breakers .

Finleigh Porter of Reading Rockets. Reading Rockets VS Essex Rebels in NBL Cup Semi-Finals.

Man of the Match was Jermiah ( Flip ) Jenkins who hit 8 from 10 trebles to score 32 ably assisted by Mitch Clarke who not only hit 20 pts but also made 9 assists. With Chris Alexander hitting 13 pts and Reis Pinnock 11