Rockets celebrate their state championship win on Sunday.
Rockets celebrate their state championship win on Sunday.

Rockets get back to business showdown



BASKETBALL: IT will be back to business tonight for the Rockhampton Stadium Nightclub Rockets at Hegvold Stadium.

After a wild night of celebrations on Sunday, the newly crowned QABL state champions will return to the training court ahead of this weekend's national quarter-final showdown with the Sutherland Sharks in Sydney.

The Rockets claimed Rockhampton's first state championship since 1996 in front of their army of blue and white supporters on Sunday afternoon.

Led by veteran Ben "BT" Thompson, the Rockets were too hot for the Townsville Heat, winning 97-80 in the championship decider after an action-packed finals series in Rockhampton.

The Rockets booked a home grand final with a hard-fought 96-85 semi-final victory over the Brisbane Capitals on Saturday night while the Heat ended South West's season, winning 100-76.

Thompson was named grand final MVP after producing his best game of the season in the decider.

The former NBL star hit a game-high 30 points, including six of eight three pointers, collected eight rebounds and three assists.

Point guard Rhys Martin was just as lethal, finishing with 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Stephen Weigh also chimed in with 21 points but it was his defensive job on Townsville captain Michael Cedar, restricting the Heat sharp-shooter to just 19 points, which earned praised after the match.

Martin was rewarded for his stellar season with selection in the QABL's All Star Five and also finished as the competition's steals leader.

The Rockets now travel to Sydney on Saturday for a rematch with Waratah League champions the Sutherland Sharks, led by former Sydney Kings guard BJ Carter.

After gaining a wildcard entry into last year's national finals series, an injury-hit Rockets were bundled out in week one of the play-offs by the Sharks.

But the Rockets are quietly confident of revenge on Saturday night and booking a place in the big national semi/grand final weekend in Melbourne on August 30-31.



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