Rockets player Ray Willis.
Rockets player Ray Willis. Chris Ison ROK170618crockets3

Rockets win in nail-bitingly close home-game clash

BASKETBALL: The Rockhampton Rockets returned home this week to serve up a slam-dunk win against the Cairns Marlins.

It was a nail-bitingly close call, with the match going into overtime, however the Rockhampton side managed to pull ahead and finish the scoring at 86-78.

The energy levels were up for the Rockets, with renewed confidence from their home town's support.

Rockets coach, Neil Tweedy, said the five-minutes overtime play was especially exciting for the fans.

"It's good to get a win in front of home,” he said.

"We got ourselves down by seven points at one stage but we fought our way back.

"We got it back and made the big play in the overtime period.

"It was a struggle because both teams were very good defensively.

"Normally there would have been higher scoring in an overtime game like that.”

At full time, the scoreboard was 74-all, with both teams locked down defensively.

"Anthony Fisher for the marlins was outstanding and got 35 points for the game,” Tweedy said.

"[Rockets player] Ray Willis did a very good job on him when the game was on the line and we needed to lock down on him.

"I thought Ray had an outstanding game for us.

"I think he scored in the 30s himself and came off with big defensive plays for us and locking down Fisher in crucial moments.”

The win has done wonders for the team's confidence, after suffering from three devastating losses on the road leading up to the match.

With a relatively young new side this year, the Rockets are set on improving themselves from every game.

"Our team's defence is improving every week... and you improve each week offensively,” Tweedy said.

"It was good to get the monkey off our backs and win a close game.

"We're playing pretty well at the moment and we haven't been getting the results so it was good to see them on Saturday night.”

Young, new addition, Ben Wright, joined the team two weeks ago and has been making roads in integrating into the team and learning the ropes.

The more experienced players are also playing a hand at helping the newer players find their fit.

"I think Peni Nasalo, who is an experienced player, coming back is fantastic for our younger players,” Tweedy said.

"He's got an old head, I suppose, and he knows how to win games.

"He came up with some big defensive plays last night and had two steals late in the game.

"He's been great for our group and I think we need players like that to bring the younger players through.”

Next week, the Rockets will go up against Gold Coast on home turf, with the hope to deliver another win in front of a home crowd.

"We want to continue with our defence,” Tweedy said.

"For our time, defence is very important.

"I think our guys, with their size and length, are good at switching defence and that's something.

"When we play good defence, our offensive runs from that.”

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