READING ROCKETS fell to a home defeat after an exceptional performance from Solent Kestrels as they hit triple figures.
Having lost to the league champions elect in the National Cup Final four weeks earlier, Rockets knew what a talented team would take to the Rivermead court, especially as the Kestrels had added another excellent recruit in the form of TrayVonn Wright to their roster.
Having become the first team from division one to secure a BBL Trophy Cup Final spot having overwhelmed Bristol Flyers at Southampton by 36 pts before losing by ten away, the Kestrels appear to be going from strength to strength with no team looking forward to meeting them in the Championship Play-offs next month.
Rockets opened the scoring as Pau Mayor finished with a floater though Solent his three consecutive goals to edge ahead. The outstanding Nick Richards drove for the first of his scores before Liam Davis struck Rockets first treble to regain the lead at 7-6 though that was the last time the Berkshire outfit led despite the valiant efforts of Richards who was the games’ top scorer with 27 points and a subsequent winner of the Nando’s Impact Player of the Game.
The game was played at a fast pace with clinical finishing from Solent who were between 55 and 72% across all scoring stats. Richards stroked a brace of trebles to keep Rockets in touch at the end of the first period though adrift 21-29 but then Kestrels had a 32-15 second quarter to go the locker room 61-36 ahead after commanding the boards and hitting three more trebles as they took control of the game.
Head Coach Alan Keane used the fifteen minute break to correct and redirect his chargers with Leome Francis scoring six points and competing on the boards as the returning Spaniard Matias Boho stroked a treble but Solent again took the quarter 26-16 with a buzzer beating treble to lead 87-52.
In line with the Rockets mantra of giving the young academy guys plenty of court time, it was good to see them contributing with scores and assists against such quality opposition . Rockets scored 50% of their points in the final period moving from 52 to 78 as Mayor and Davis hit 8 points each though Solent hit another 4 trebles to secure another victory and extend their unbeaten run in this Division back to Feb 2019, some awesome record.
The final score was 78-110 with Rockets top scorers being Nick Richards with 27 points, five rebounds and a block as Liam Davis hit 15 points, and took down 6 rebounds and Leome Francis had 11 points, and took down eight rebounds. Pau Mayor had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Report by Gary Johnson