A gallant final quarter fightback from Rockets saw us put up 29 points, but it was not enough as we fell to a four-point defeat at Nottingham Wildcats Arena on Sunday afternoon.
An even first quarter preceded a couple of strong quarters from our hosts, leaving Rockets with an uphill task heading into the game’s finale.
Despite this, we would eventually claw our way back into the contest, eventually drawing level with under two minutes to play, before Nottingham snatched the win right at the death.
Mike Thiep opened the scoring after a Faaris Mughal fast break before Mughal turned scorer, sinking a three to put us 5-0 up within two and a half minutes as Rockets started strongly.
Jordan Dawes then opened his account for the day with a three, before another two from Thiep kept Rockets on top as Nottingham began to fight their way back into the contest.
The Hoods drew level just after the halfway point of the first quarter, with the game looking to be on a knife edge as both teams attacked with high intensity.
Elvis Zeiluks added another three to Rockets’ total before Mughal and Thiep converted from close in as we kept pace with our resurgent hosts.
Rockets eventually pulled ahead and established a five-point lead, yet Hoods came back in the final minute of the quarter to go into the break level.
Hoods pulled ahead early in the second quarter, establishing a five-point lead of their own as Rockets missed several good opportunities in the paint and often found themselves denied by Nottingham’s strong defensive rebounding.
Nottingham were incredibly efficent for the remainder of the second, opening up a 16-point advantage, before youngsters Miles Moore and Ethan Woodward combined with Mughal and Nathan Ramsdale-Owen to bring the deficit back to just five points with three minutes to go until half-time.
However, another late run from our hosts saw us trail by 11 points as we went into the halfway point.
Our hosts opened the scoring in the third quarter, going on a seven-point run and stretching their advantage to 15 points.
Hoods then extended their lead due to a mixture of clinical finishing and tired shooting from Rockets, as fatigue from playing two games in two days looked to set in.
Louis Rogerson-Evans got his first points of the evening as we brought down the deficit to just six points with three minutes of the penultimate quarter to play.
However, Nottingham yet again showed their ruthless side as they once again extended their advantage to lead by 15 going into the final 10.
Threes from Mughal and Price, combined with a succession of dunks from Thiep pulled their lead back to just two points with two minutes to go.
Thiep brought the scores level with one and a half minutes left to play, before Hoods pulled away in the last minute to go four points up in a cruel blow to Rockets.