Wednesday, 20 July 2016 vs Reserves
Wednesday night saw the fans treated to a David vs Goliath matchup between the league leading Rockets (10-2) and the last placed, winless Reserves (0-12). While anybody without a head injury would predict a Rockets win, the team themselves showed caution heading into the game, with laurel-resting a possibility with a top-2 finish all but sown up. The Rockets were without Procopio for this game and the remainder of the season due to an ill-advised European escapade.
A quick start found the Rockets up 8-0 courtesy of a timely return to form from the outside by Binder. The Rockets zone defence was on song from the start as it limited any easy shots for the Reserves who were forced to rely on some lucky 3 point baskets to get themselves on the board. The Rockets seemed to be approaching some of their best form in the first half, despite Rey throwing garbage-time style passes barely 10 minutes into the game, much to the chagrin of teammates. The Reserves took a timeout to try and stem the bleeding, however were unable to limit the influence of Binder and Gurry as the Rockets closed out the half leading 22-8.
The second half was much less exciting for the neutral viewer as baskets were difficult to come by for both teams. The Rockets held their lead throughout as they turned for home with a 31-17 lead with minutes remaining. The Reserves made the score respectable with some late consolation baskets but were unable to get any closer than the final 31-23 score line. Binder led the way for the Rockets with an 11-10-3 while Gurry contributed an 8-7-2. Rey and Smith both chipped in 6 points to round out the scoring for a Rockets team looking towards the playoffs.
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 vs Blue Jets
Last Wednesday night saw the second matchup of the season between the 2nd placed Rockets (9-2) and the 3rd placed Blue Jets (8-3). After a Steven Bradbury sporting miracle-type win in the previous matchup, the Rockets were looking to sweep the season series and consolidate a top-2 finish as the regular season enters it’s final weeks. The Rockets were without the injured Rey (Knee) and Gurry (Lame).
A typically sluggish start from the Rockets quickly found them trailing 6-2 before a vintage virtuoso performance from Procopio helped the Rockets to keep the game close during a dire first half. With turnovers and missed shots haunting almost every other Rocket on the court, Procopio nailed three first half 3-pointers as the half ended Blue Jets 11 – Procopio 11 and a slim 13-11 Rockets lead.
Blue Jets wasted little time in evening the scores early in the second half, and with the Rockets offense looking as threatening as a legless Oscar Pistorius, it seemed only a matter of time before Blue Jets would take control of the game. Thankfully Binder, Smith and Golding were able to trouble the scorers as the Rockets rode the coat-tails of Procopio’s 16 points as they finally broke the spirits of Blue Jets in a 28-23 victory.
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 vs Joy City
Last Wednesday night saw the second matchup of the season between the 2nd placed Rockets (8-2) and the 6th placed Joy City (2-8). With the Rockets dominating game one of the season series to the tune of 63-22 it was apparent during the starting line-ups that Joy City had engaged in some heavy mid-season recruiting.
A slow start to the game from the Rockets allowed Joy City to gain some much needed confidence after being Rolf Harris’d in their previous clash, with that confidence, eventually, turning into made baskets as they were able to take advantage of a lacklustre Rockets zone defence, Liam Blanchart proving especially dangerous with 4 first half 3-pointers. Had it not been for the Rockets work on the offensive boards, in particular Houghton’s first half Moses Malone tribute show, the Rockets would have found themselves in a much deeper hole than the 23-19 one they found themselves in.
The Rockets lifted the intensity with a man-on-man defence for the second half and found themselves back in the lead within minutes as Gurry started to fire from midrange. The teams traded baskets until a Rey 3-pointer keyed a 13-0 run that saw the Rockets take control of the game 40-28 on their way to a 44-35 victory. Houghton was the star of the game with a 12 point double-double, Gurry chimed in with 10 and Procopio contributed 9, despite a poor shooting night.
Wednesday, 8 June 2016 vs M’Lady
Last Wednesday night saw the second matchup of the season between the 1st placed Rockets (6-1) and fourth placed M’Lady (5-3). Having been held to a season low 17 points during their previous meeting, M’Lady was looking for revenge on a Rockets team missing their leading scorer Procopio who was a late withdrawal with a back injury.
Smith found his form early on for the Rockets as he posted the team’s first 5 points of the game before the two teams traded baskets for the rest of the half. Late baskets from Gurry and Smith edged the Rockets to an 18-13 half time lead.
With the league’s leading scorer Kingston well held by the defensive efforts of Binder and Golding, M’Lady would turn to Matthews as he helped key an early second half run to have scores locked up at 22 apiece. With Binder disappearing on the offensive end like a McCann in a Portuguese villa it would be Smith again who would break the deadlock before an unlikely hero would emerge with Rey calmly sinking two long range daggers as the Rockets finally created some distance and cruised home to an important 41-34 victory. Smith (12 pts) and Gurry (12-9-4) led the Rockets charge with Rey (8 pts) and Binder (7 stl) providing the offensive and defensive cameos respectively.
Wednesday, 1 June 2016 vs Reserves
Last night saw the second matchup of the season between the 1st placed Rockets (5-1) and the last placed Reserves (0-7). With the Round 2 clash between the teams a 36-29 battle, the Rockets were looking to avoid complacency against a team that, on paper, should provide little resistance. The Rockets were without Rey (Injured – Knee) however regained Binder from an ankle injury.
The first half began as a closely contested affair as the Rockets looked to shake off their bye-week cobwebs and subsequent lack of intensity. 3-point shooting was key for the Rockets as the team worked hard to get their shooters open shots, Binder proving especially dangerous with 4 first half 3-pointers. Only an inability to keep the Reserves off the offensive glass denied the Rockets a larger advantage as they closed to a 23-14 halftime advantage.
The second half began with Binder continuing his best Andrew Gaff impression as he remained unconscious from deep, and with Procopio and Smith landing long range daggers of their own the game quickly descended into a blowout with Gurry snuffing out any potential fightbacks as he caught fire from 15 feet. Every Rocket player made the scoresheet as they ran out 57-32 victors, Binder the standout with 21 points (7 3-pointers), well supported by Gurry (13 pts) and Procopio (11pts).
Wednesday, 11 May 2016 vs Joy City
Last night saw the first ever matchup between the 1st placed Rockets (3-1) and the 5th placed Joy City (1-3). Having come off a heartbreaking 1 point loss last week, the Rockets were looking to bounce back and found an under-sized and under-manned Joy City standing in their way. Despite missing their starting centre Houghton (Injured – Knee) it appeared nothing short of a formality for a Rockets win.
A quick start thanks to some early 3’s from Binder saw the Rockets out to a 13-4 lead and Joy City attempting to regroup through an early time-out. Unfortunately this had no effect on either end of the floor as the Rockets seemed to do as they please in building a commanding 28-7 halftime lead.
After a quiet first half Gurry made the opposition look like an U13 girls team as he bullied his way to game highs of 15 pts and 18 rebs. He was well supported by Rey (14 pts) and Binder (13 pts) on the offensive end, while Procopio demonstrated his versatility finishing with an impressive 11-14-7.
The Rockets would go on to record a 63-22 cakewalk and will take much needed confidence from the game as they look toward a heavyweight matchup next week against old foe Blue Jets.
Wednesday, 4 May 2016 vs Buckets
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 vs Honey Badgers
Last Wednesday night saw the first matchup between the Rockets and Honey Badgers. With both teams’ sights set firmly on a top two finish, this early season clash gave each team an opportunity to test themselves against high quality opposition. Coming into the game without Ch’ng (injured) and Gurry (lame) an understrength Rockets squad looked to be slight underdogs against a strong Honey Badgers outfit.
Both teams came out shooting in a first half that will not be remembered for defensive displays. Procopio continued his strong early season form for the Rockets and was well supported by the hot shooting Smith who hit four three pointers in an impressive first half performance. However, the Honey Badgers had their own shooting highlights, especially from the mid-range and, along with the Rockets’ inability to keep them off the offensive glass, ended an entertaining first half with a narrow 28-26 lead.
The second half was a closely contested affair with both teams smelling a W. After a scoreless first half, Binder was now finding his range from deep and with Smith and Procopio showing no signs of cooling off the Rockets had their offence J.K Rolling. A 51-46 advantage with only a couple of minutes left looked to have the Rockets in firm control of the match however they conspired to give up consecutive offensive rebounds at the free throw line after slapping themselves into team foul trouble. The Honey Badgers took advantage to level the scores before the ball found its way to Binder who calmly drained the open three with seconds remaining for a 54-51 edge. Immediately sent back to the free throw line the Honey Badgers ran out of time to respond as the Rockets walked away with the 54-53 victory and first place on the ladder.
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 vs M’lady
Wednesday night saw the Rockets take on M’Lady in Round 3 action. The two teams had faced each other in preseason where M’Lady’s Moose proceeded to dominate the smaller Rockets with an impressive 20-14 in a comfortable win for the league newcomers.
The Rockets came in to the game needing to amend their defensive strategy and they did just that, with “Moose Hunter” Golding given a rare start along with the responsibility to limit the opposing centre’s influence as the Rockets showed a daring man-on-man scheme. The Rockets determination and intensity was evident from the outset as M’Lady struggled to manufacture easy shots. Continuing his recovery from back soreness, Procopio was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the Rockets as they battled to a 17-9 halftime lead.
The Rockets relentless defence did not let up in the second half as offensive possession after offensive possession from M’Lady was consumed by an aggressive Rockets team defence. A fiercely contested second half saw the Rockets hit enough shots to pull away with Procopio, Gurry and Binder leading the way. The M’Lady Moose looked a shell of his early season self with Golding not giving an inch all night in an impressive defensive display. As the buzzer sounded on a 29-17 Rockets win all that was left for M’Lady was a deflated looking “Liver Mousse”.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 vs Reserves
Wednesday night saw the first game of the new season for the Rockets who found themselves up against a familiar foe in the Reserves. Coming off a Round 1 bye, the Rockets were looking to put a short and unsuccessful pre-season behind them as they look towards a return to the C2 playoffs.
The Rockets lack of seasoning showed early on as turnovers and wayward shooting plagued the first 10 minutes. The Reserves, by contrast, were all salt ‘n’ pepper as they jumped to an early 12-3 lead with last seasons top scorer Stehens putting constant pressure on the Rockets defence. The Rockets would turn to their bench for inspiration and Rey and Golding would not disappoint. Looking more comfortable offensively and tougher defensively, the Rockets would work there way back into the game as Binder took over with 11 first half points, including a ‘hot knife through butter’ layup and capped by a big 3 pointer with seconds remaining to have his team in front 23-19 at the break.
The Reserves started brightly in the second half with the contest closely fought and looking likely to go down to the wire, however when Stehens picked up fouls 4 and 5 in quick succession he was forced to watch the rest of the contest from the sideline. With their number one option off the floor the Reserves looked devoid of ideas on the offensive end while the Rockets gained momentum with Smith (12 pts) hitting from range and Procopio (7 pts, 8 rebs, 6 ast) willing his way into the paint and to the free throw line.
As the buzzer sounded, the Rockets were 36-29 victors, looking better for the tough hit-out as they look to improve as the season wears on.