READING ROCKETS suffered defeat on the road against Leicester with an injury hit squad leaving them light on the court.
An already injury stricken Rockets side travelled to the Midlands having just heard that joint captain Ed Potter was out with an injury and the ever improving Kivuvu Live was sick. Pau Mayor was shirted up and was keen to try out his Achilles strain but Matias Boho’ knee injury continues.
Warriors opened up an 8-2 gap within the opening exchanges before Nick Richards took down his own offensive rebound to get Rockets troubling the scoreboard. Recent signing Leome Francis had a personal following as he was previously with nearby Northampton and he scored five quick points with an inside move, a coast to coast score and a penalty point to level the game on nine each.
The scores were tied on 11 and 13 before Rockets went on a 11-3 finishing run as part of a 20-5 run to lead at the first break 24-16
Warriors took the second quarter 20-13 having begun this period with a 7-0 run before a Richards tip in kept Rockets ahead by a single point. Academy youngster David Chive stroked the first of his three trebles but Rockets soon found themselves in team foul trouble from which Warriors capitalised.
Another Academy player David Obediah took an assist from Liam Davis to score before Davis made a key tip in himself. With the game in a nip and tuck phase, it was anyone’s guess as to who would lead at the interval but that honour fell to Rockets with the slenderest of margins at 37-36.
Warriors’ American guard T J Henderson was on fire as he stroked trebles from all round the arc as Warriors hit Rockets with a storm taking the quarter 31-11 having hit five trebles in this time as Rockets turned the ball over and just couldn’t finish even within a foot of the basket.
With a score line of 48-67 it was going to take an almighty effort from Rockets to take the victory in the final period but when Chive hit a treble and Richards drove to score, Warriors looked a little concerned.
However Rockets missed four from four from the line whilst Warriors hit all theirs so Rockets found themselves adrift by 17 points after just over three minutes of the final stanza at 54-71. Davis picked up too many fouls so together with Chive was fouled out of the game but Richards and Francis worked tirelessly to keep Rockets close as with Rockets having won the home game by 15 points, with the league being so tight, Rockets wanted to keep the head to head should the league points be level in late March.
This they did after Head Coach Alan Keane called his final time -out as a reminder and the guys not only stopped Warriors but also saw Francis score leaving the deficit at the buzzer just twelve at 71-83.
Rockets find themselves in a scramble with six other teams vying for a home tie in the Play-offs when they hope to have a fully fit squad .
Top scorers for Rockets were Nick Richards with 26 pts., seven rebounds and six steals with both Rockets’ big guys having double doubles as Liam Davis scored 14 points, and took down 11 rebounds whilst Leome Francis hit 13 pts., and took down 13 rebounds though Warriors American guards was supreme on the day as he hit 40 points, took down nine rebounds and made five assists.
Report by Gary Johnson