Rockets return home in blazing glory with 100-87 win
BASKETBALL: Hegvold Stadium erupted in cheers on Saturday night as the Rockhampton Rockets pulled ahead in the fourth quarter against Toowoomba Mountaineers for a 100-87 win.
Despite Jack Lopez being away and American professional Ray Willis carrying an injury from last week's game against Southern Districts Spartans, the Rockhampton side returned home in enviable style.
"It's always good when you're fighting those battles and you come away with a win,” Rockets coach Neal Tweedy said.
"I thought we got off to a good start, which led into quarter time and led to 48-40 at half-time.
"We tried to slow their offence and changed up our defence to different types of zones to slow them down.
"We achieves that in the first half.”
When the visiting team were leading by five points going into the third quarter, Rockets switched up their defence strategy again and played hard into the fourth and final quarter to break away with the win.
"Ray was limping there in the fourth quarter and I'm not sure if that was from a hit he copped or his previous injury,” Tweedy said.
"He struggled through and came up big... he will be assessed and hopefully another week of rest will get him a bit better again.
"We've got a great contribution from a number of players, especially from Hayden Richardson, our 16-year-old off the bench who played his first game in QBL.
"He got 18 points in 22 minutes and was outstanding. He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Next week, Rockets will go up against Townsville Heat at home.
"We'll be concentrating on defence again,” Tweedy said.
"We need to restrict some teams in scoring.
"Townsville is a big team and we'll be working out how we can control the rebounding and keep them off the rebound.”
Undeniably the atmosphere of Saturday's home game was a welcome change from four games straight on the road.
"The guys appreciate the support we're getting,” Tweedy said.
"The crowd knows how important these games are on the back of the season and hopefully we get that energy from them for the rest of the season.”
Rockhampton Cyclones also defeated Toowoomba Mountaineers 103-60.