Rockets Men’s First Team extended their unbeaten streak to 14-0 with a comfortable 92-61 win over third placed Derbyshire Arrows at Nechells in our first home game of 2023.
The team were coming off the back of a big win away at Myerscough Academy and had to overcome an Arrows side with a 8-5 record going into the game.
Both sides started strongly in the opening minutes of the first, the game swung back and forth as both teams looked dangerous on offense.
Rockets’ three point shooting was vital in this quarter to eventually create some distance between the two sides.
Showing hustle in abundance, Coach Gayle’s side forced turnovers and steals throughout, with Derbyshire struggling to cope with our intensity.
By the conclusion of the first quarter, a late Rockets surge had opened up an eight point lead with the scores at 24-16.
Karl Teesdale and Ron Oberia were both on good shooting form, hitting threes early in the second to add to the lead.
On defense, Luke Okosieme looked dominant as he picked up three blocks in the game with Derbyshire struggling to adapt their play to deal with his size in the paint.
Rockets also rebounded really well with Sam Toluwase and Martyn Gayle putting up 8 and 12 during the course of the game.
The game looked to be getting away from Derbyshire as early as halftime in truth, with the difference at 17 by the interval, the scores set at 46-29.
The third was Rockets’ best defensive quarter as they limited Arrows to just eight points whilst scoring 22 to put the game out of reach for the visiting Arrows.
Rockets’ ball movement was proving too much for Arrows, while efficient shooting saw Coach Gayle’s side continue their dominance in the third, with the score at the end of the period 68-37.
The final quarter saw both teams come out firing as Derbyshire looked to restore some pride to a scoreline which threatened to get even further out of hand at times.
Both sides put up 22 in an entertaining finale, with Rockets demonstrating their athletic prowess with a dunking clinic in the final moments, much to the delight of the packed Nechells crowd.
Sam Toluwase top scored on the night, impressing on his return to the starting five with an 18-point display.
Luke Okosieme also had his best scoring quarter in the fourth as he put up nine of his 11 points in the final quarter, including a trademark poster dunk.
A huge 31-point margin against the third best side in the league demonstrated the quality in the ranks, even with the absence of Michael Gayle due to an injury sustained in training in the build up.
Strong three point shooting and 30 points off the bench, compared to Arrows’ three, further showcased the strength in depth of the team.
An impressive performance keeps the Rockets’ momentum going, with the team now travelling to St Helens for a top-of-the-table clash against second-place St Helens Saints; who themselves have only lost one game this season – the reverse fixture back in October.
The matchup will be crucial in determining which side holds the upper hand going into the final weeks of the season – come and get behind us!
We are exploring the possibility of putting on a coach to allow fans to support the team and travel with us up to St Helens on Sunday 29th January. Click here for all the details and to register your interest!