Rocky Rockets fire to score big win over Power
SHOOTING guard Jordan Gregory fired as the McDonald's Rockhampton Rockets launched their 2016 QBL season with a 41-point win over Gladstone Port City Power on Saturday night.
The American import set Hegvold Stadium alight, finishing with a game high 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Tom Garlepp, the Sydney Kings co-captain who has joined the Rockets on a short-term contract, scored 23 points as the home team rallied to overcome an early deficit to then completely control the game.
Auryn MacMillan was brilliant in his dominance of the defensive rebounds, and captain Mitch Philp led from the front with his lightning quick breaks proving difficult for the Power to contain.
Rockets' coach Neal Tweedy was pleased with the victory.
"Look, first game to win by 40... obviously got to be happy with that," he said post-match.
"I thought we shot the ball very well there for a period in that second and third quarter and really got a good break on them.
"Defensively I thought we were good at certain times. I didn't think we started that well, being down 12-2. I didn't think we came out with a lot of intensity with our defence."
Tweedy acknowledged Gregory's performance and the efforts of the younger team members, including Jared Blanchard who played with a confidence and maturity beyond his years.
"It was a good game for them to come in early," Tweedy said. "We probably didn't expect to win by that sort of margin or have that sort of lead at half-time so they got to play quality minutes early and I thought they did well. Jared came off the bench and played well. I probably would have liked to have given him more court time but when we've got to rotate 12 through, it's hard to get everyone in."
Tweedy said one focus for the Rockets heading into the game was to build pressure on their opponents
"I think when we get back-to-back stops and dominate rebounding we can get out and the flow becomes a little easier and we get those open links with Jordan," he said.
"It's a good game to start with but we know we've got a big step-up in opposition next week."
Power coach Brian Waters said his players would have learned a lot from Saturday's game.
"Our guys gave it their all and we got in foul trouble early and they just took advantage," he said.
Waters was offering no excuses but said the Power missed Ray Willis, who was not available because of visa issues.
"I'm just looking forward. I think we can win the championship - that's our goal. We're just going to go out there and keep playing our game," he said.