Rockets and Cyclones blitz Mackay in round eight at home
BASKETBALL: Rockhampton Rockets and Cyclones were on fire again on Saturday, taking out two more wins in round eight after their successful bids against Townsville last week.
At home at Adani Arena again, the Rockhampton outfits took on Mackay Meteors and Meteorettes, winning 102-86 and 67-62 respectively.
Rockets coach Neal Tweedy said the win was another step to what the team has been building towards over the last couple of weeks.
"We're starting to get some time together as a group and we're looking better every day,” Tweedy said.
"What we're doing in the training sessions is transferring into the games.
"We had a lot of confidence out of beating Townsville last week and obviously will have more confidence this week.
"Our systems are in a place that now we can compete with the highest teams in the league.”
Jamaal Robateau led the team's scoring with 29 points, and point guard Shaun Bruce stepped up with the most assists.
"He was the floor general through me,” Tweedy said.
"He's been doing a wonderful job, not only offensively but defensively as well particularly when (Mackay's) Chris Cedar and Verle Williams III came into the game.”
Despite the successful win, Tweedy said the team would still "take time” to flow and learn the offensive and defensive systems, but further training and playing together would push them forward.
"We had a number of contributions. Our front line is starting to be more imposing now with AJ Ogilvy, Sean O'Mara and Nelson Kahler in that line up,” Tweedy said.
"Opposing teams aren't getting a rest. We've got size consistently on the floor now and we need that size in this league.
"Making the top four is the goal.
"It's easy when you host play-offs, you can take care of business at home, but you've got to be able to win on the road as well in this league. There are quality teams around.”
Next week, Rockets take on Sunshine Coast Phoenix at home.
"They're a quality team, well-coached by Jamaal's father,” Tweedy said.
"He'll know a lot about our team and we will know a lot about theirs.
"It will be an advantage for him knowing Jamaal but obviously Jamaal knows his style.”
Cyclones' coach Chris Muggeridge said he was "extremely happy” with his team's win, which has now put them second on the QBL ladder.
"We're taking each game as it comes. This is only the second game we've played together (as our full team),” he said.
"(Saturday night), our offence was clunky and not as smooth as I wanted it to be.
"We will spend a lot of time this week getting better and making some adjustments to the team we've got now to suit the players we have.
"The competition is super tight this year and obviously every win is important for our goal to host the finals.”
Stand-out players included Jessica Thomas and Brooke Blaire who Muggeridge described as "outstanding” on the court.
"They led the team in scoring and assists,” he said.
"They stood up and helped get us over the line even when the offence was a bit clunky.
"We showed character and if we weren't such a tight-knit group, the result could've gone the other way.
"It was good to see that when times got tough, we held strong together and trusted and believed in each other.”
It's "always tough” going up against one of the top four teams in the league, and Muggeridge said securing a win against the Mackay said was "fantastic”.
"Once we get everything right we will build a bit of rhythm and start to work out how everyone gets together, where to get the shots from and where we play the best ball,” he said.
"It will be an exciting time ahead. We have a very very good team.”
Muggeridge said the team will focus on different actions within its offences and targeting the players' particular strengths.
"We need to make sure everyone is put in the best position to be themselves and work their strengths,” he said.
"Sunshine Coast (pending Sunday's result) have the same amount of losses as us - two, so it will be a fantastic game next weekend.
"We'll make sure we're ready for next week and no doubt we will be better.”