Rockhampton Rockets lose games both on the road
IT WAS a miserable northern two-game road trip for the Rockhampton Rockets, losing both their matches to a rampant Townsville Heat 87-73 on Friday and succumbing to a strong Mackay Meteors 86-74 on Saturday.
Rockets coach Neal Tweedy knows just how hard it is to win on the road, and he doesn't want to make excuses, but making the job more difficult was the Rockets' three-week layoff coming into the away double-header.
The Rockets went into the matches after winning their last five games, but the long break, which included no matches over two weekends didn't help. Their winning momentum had been lost.
"There is no doubt the break did us no favours," Tweedy said.
"We were on a roll but it's hard to maintain when you stop and start like that. There are no excuses, that's the draw we got this year and we just have to work with it."
The Rockets started poorly in both games, down 26 -10 in the first quarter against Townsville and down 25-10 against Mackay. Tweedy believes the effort and energy required to play catch-up basketball and get themselves back into both matches was another factor in their undoing.
"We really did start poorly against the Heat," Tweedy conceded.
"We were down by 16 point at the end of the first quarter and early in the second that had blown out to a 21 point lead. We used so much energy to dig ourselves out of a hole that it cost us in the end. It was just too hard for us to close it out and Townsville were just too good for us."
The Rockets certainly started to fire mid-way through the second stanza, winning it by 25-20 and were only one and two points adrift respectively in the third and final quarters. But the damage had been done in the first quarter and they lost by 14 points.
The following game was almost a mirror image, the Rockets again started slowly which allowed Mackay a nine point lead, 25-14 at the first break. The Rockets again replied, narrowly winning both the third and last quarters, but it wasn't enough and the Meteors ran out 12 point victors.
"Again, it was another poor start by us," Tweedy admitted.
"And our defence was also weak and we just gave up too many points, too easily.
"We also struggled to get any flow into our offence and we struggled to score. You won't win a basketball match when both your defence and offence aren't working."
Despite the losses, Tweedy remains confident the problems in defence and attack are fixable and strengthening the Rockets defence will be his first priority.
"We need to fix our defence first and then the other stuff will come," Tweedy said.
"I wouldn't say we were lethargic in both those matches but we were poor, we know we have to fix some issues."
"If we do I am confident we can quickly get back on track."
The two losses saw the Rockets slip to fifth on the Men's Queensland Basketball League (QBL) ladder, with five wins and three losses from their eight games.
Their return match at home against Mackay early next month will be critical. The Meteors are undefeated, with 10 from 10. If the Rockets can beat them at home they will be "back on track."