Match Report: Rockets Men 131-128 Bradford Dragons

City of Birmingham Rockets’ Men won a dramatic triple overtime thriller as Kayne King’s buzzer beating three snatched the win at Bradford College on Saturday evening.

Rockets could have won the game sooner with King also hitting a three at the end of regulation to edge Rockets ahead with just 1.5 seconds remaining on the clock.

Bradford came out from the ensuing time out and the ball fell to Rihards Sulcs who sank a hit-and-hope three point bank shot to drag Bradford into overtime with the scores level at 94 each.

A tense period of overtime ensued with both sides maintaining the attacking intensity that had made the matchup an instant NBL Division One classic.

With the seconds ticking down and the scores once again level, this time at 105 each, Reiss Faure-Daley swung the ball out to a wide open Ronald Oberia who hit another three with seconds to play as Rockets once again looked to have snatched victory.

It was not to be, yet again, however, as Bradford came up the other end and hit another three from the top of the key to force another period of overtime.

And so, a third period of overtime was to come.

Orlan Jackman got the first points of the period before Bradford answered back with a seven point run to open up a five point advantage with just two minutes left on the clock – the scores set at 126-121 in Bradford’s favour.

Rockets had it all to do, with the prospect of falling to the Dragons for the second time in three weeks a real possibility at this moment.

Resilience and a never-say-die attitude have become hallmarks of this Rockets team and those traits were put to the ultimate test as Coach Rodrigues’ side needed to find an answer to a Bradford side buoyed by their recent run.

Ronald Oberia began the late charge, mustering the energy to throw down a trademark dunk despite the clock ticking into the fifty fourth minute of the game.

The Rockets bench and travelling support reacted in kind, lifting the team for one last push with Bradford nerves beginning to fray.

Oberia grabbed an offensive rebound after Faure-Daley’s hook shot dropped agonisingly wide; before working the ball out to Gayle who found King for another clutch three pointer to level the contest.

Oberia was at the heart of the action once again as he hit a big two point jump shot to edge Rockets back ahead for the first time since Jackman’s opening points of the period.

Our hosts forced a foul and converted two free throws to level things up for the last time before Kayne’s three-point dagger on the buzzer finally killed the game off with the contrast of emotions clear to see as the Rockets bench ran out in jubilant celebration just as Bradford’s players slumped to the floor in exhausted frustration.

And so came to an end one of the most thrilling contests in National Basketball League history as Rockets snatched the win in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Before the drama of the game’s finale and ensuing periods of overtime, it had been an even contest throughout, with neither side able to establish a double-digit advantage at any stage of the game.

Bradford started the game the stronger of the sides, racing away to an early 9-4 advantage before Rockets narrowed the margin and the blow-for-blow exchange began with nothing to separate the teams after the first with the scores level at 24 each.

The second quarter continued in the same vein, with a smart Oberia lay-up ensuring Rockets took a narrow lead into the interval with Coach Rodrigues’ side leading 49-52.

Bradford retook the lead midway through the third with their standout performer, Justin Williams, getting the go ahead basket for our hosts before Rockets once again took control of proceedings.

A late Rockets surge, rounded off by a Faure-Daley triple, saw us open our biggest advantage of the game with nine points the differential at the end of the third, 69-78.

Bradford staged an unlikely fourth quarter comeback to set up the game’s dramatic finale, but Rockets were ultimately able to edge the contest and exact revenge for our KitKing Trophy defeat against the same opposition.

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