A depleted City of Birmingham Rockets side fell to a strong Essex Rebels outfit 90-64 in a tough defeat at Nechells Wellbeing Centre on Saturday evening in our latest NBL Division One outing.
Rockets went into the game with a 4-1 record and were looking to continue their bright start to the season against an Essex side that sat second in the league with a 5-1 record going into the game.
The challenge was always going to be complicated by the unavailability of two huge offensive assets, with Sam Toluwase and Orlan Jackman not available for selection.
The first quarter started, and Essex were on fire from beyond the arc.
Rockets struggled to keep up with our visitors’ shooting and nothing was falling on the offensive end for Coach Nuno’s side.
Essex showed their quality on both ends of the floor and that, paired with Rockets poor offensive efficiency, gave our visitors a commanding lead early on.
The first quarter ended 29-8 to Essex Rebels with Rockets having lots of work to do.
The second quarter started as the first ended, with Rockets struggling to get into any sort of rhythm on the offensive end.
Kayne King showed some good footwork to drive into the paint and layup but Rockets baskets were increasingly hard to come by during a frustrating period of play.
Rebels continued their great offensive form and that, paired with a few contentious officiating decisions, began to frustrate the home crowd.
Essex continued to build on their lead and looked commanding on both ends.
A shellshocked Rockets went into half time trailing by 36, 53-17 with an uphill battle on their hands in the second half.
The third quarter started, and Rockets came out looking slightly brighter as Kayne King hit a three point shot as we looked to try and cut the deficit down.
Ben Tew then looked to impose his presence on the inside as he looked to score from the post.
Essex Rebels had a strong end to the quarter particularly from beyond the arc as they looked to maintain their sizeable advantage.
The fourth quarter started with Karl Teesdale hitting a long-range three and then driving to the basket for two moments later.
The second half represented a marked improvement, but it was too little too late as the damage had long been done in truth.
Martyn Gayle finished as Rockets leading scorer with 14 points in the contest.
The game ended with Rockets falling by 34 points 94-60, a tough loss for the team – we now sit at 4-2 after a second league defeat of the season.
Come and join us this Saturday as we return to Nechells Wellbeing Centre for a pivotal weekend as we look to return to winning ways. Get your Rockets Special December Ticket for 25% off our December fixtures!
Photogrpahy by Charlie Fitzpatrick