Match Report: Rockets 71-66 London Greenhouse Pioneers

A youthful City of Birmingham Rockets side, heavily supplemented by Under 18s, defeated London Greenhouse Pioneers in a midseason friendly at Nechells Wellbeing Centre this afternoon.

With a packed 2023 schedule set to get underway in the coming weeks, today’s game offered an ideal opportunity for the team to maintain fitness during the winter break while allowing a host of players from our development system to experience senior-level basketball.

Both sides traded early points in a fast-paced opening, with London coming out strong and taking a lead into the first quarter break.

Dume Okibe started the game well for Rockets, with his presence in the paint crucial to keep plays alive as shots failed to hit early on.

A late spell of Rockets pressure saw Ron Oberia race away to grab a couple of fast break points before Martyn Gayle hit a three on the buzzer to reduce the gap to just two as Rockets trailed 20-22.

Kayne King’s passing caused our visitors issues throughout and his vision and execution was key as Rockets began to turn the screw in the second.

King was on hand to level the scores at 34 each towards the end of the second, absorbing the contact and finishing to set up the and one – which he duly converted.

Martyn Gayle followed this shortly after with a trademark midrange jumpshot to edge Rockets ahead before adding a pair of late threes to open up a more comfortable 42-36 advantage.

With Rockets continuing to pull away as the game progressed, it proved an ideal opportunity for the Rockets youngsters to test themselves and gain experience against Division Two Men’s opposition.

Barra Secka rounded off a Rockets move with a well taken three, much to the delight of those in attendance and the young Rockets bench.

Nektarios Papadopolous checked in and converted from midrange to keep a resurgent London from mounting a serious fightback.

Alasan N’Jie Morgan, a former Rockets youngster currently playing for Phelps School in Philadelphia, also suited up for Coach Gayle’s side and showcased why he is making a name for himself stateside with some impressive moments.

All in all Rockets had too much for our southern conference visitors – the game ended 71-66, with the outing acting as an ideal way to maintain that all important match sharpness ahead of the new year!

Come and see the team in action in 2023! Tickets for all remaining regular season games are on sale now – come and show your support…