A RELIEVED Minecorp Rockhampton Rockets coach Neal Tweedy was pleased to score a round one win over Gladstone Power Men, but he said he believed Gladstone would be a threat in the 2013 Queensland Basketball League.

Rockhampton had their "ups and downs" in Saturday night's clash at Gladstone's Kev Broome Stadium but managed to overcome the Power, 97-87.

"We played well at certain periods but our defence lacked effort at certain times, which allowed Gladstone to go on a bit of a scoring run... however we turned that around," Tweedy said.

Gladstone recruited well during the off-season and picked up American power forward Justin Baker who dominated play in his debut for the Power, scoring 25 points and gaining 25 rebounds.

Rockhampton got out to an eight-point lead in the first quarter before dropping behind in the second.

The scores were locked at 73-73 by three-quarter time, and the Rockets went on to build a fourth-quarter lead to win by 10 points.

"I felt we played a much more up-tempo game and we just have to adjust and know when to run and when to do half-court sets and structures," the coach said.

Import Justin Watts, 28, shone in his first regular- season game for the Rockets, while defensively, Glenn Scott performed well.

The Power's emergence as a strong outfit in the 2013 competition meant Central and North Queensland looked particularly strong this year, Tweedy said.

Last year's champions Mackay, Rockhampton, Cairns and Townsville - with their alignment to NBL programs, along with Gladstone would make it a tough contest.

"I think it will be a very good competition with a lot of quality teams...it will be hard to get road wins, which will be crucial at the end of the season," Tweedy said.

Meanwhile, Frenchville Sports Club Rockhampton Cyclones suffered a 94-67 loss to last year's grand final runners-up, Gladstone.

The Power's WNBL talents of Natalie Hurst, 28, and Jessica Bibby, 23, led the scoring onslaught against the Cyclones, who trailed 23-8 after the first quarter, and 44-31 at halftime.

Despite the efforts of the Rockhampton girls, with Chandrea Jones, 26, top- scoring for the Cyclones, and Amee Brown contributing 15 points, the Power were too strong for the visitors.

Next weekend, the Rockets and Cyclones will play Cairns on Friday, and Townsville on Saturday.



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