The team’s first game of February was away against Leeds Force, a game that many fans thought would get us back to winning ways, having lost the previous two games. However Leeds scored 20 unanswered points to come from behind before clinging on to secure a 79-77 win. Leeds had lost the previous five games and their losing streak was set to continue as they fell 11 points behind midway through the third quarter. Refusing to be written off, Leeds closed the quarter on a 15-0 run. 5 more unanswered points to open the final period followed and Force were in the driving seat. Rocks pulled within 2 points in the closing moments before Leeds Kwan Waller drained four free throws in the final 13 seconds to make sure of the victory. It was Leed’s first success since late December – and first-ever against Rocks in the BBL – lifting them into the Play-Off positions. Former Force forward Will Hall scored 14 points for Rocks, as did Armin Mazic, but it was not enough to prevent a third defeat in a row.
Two days later the Rocks were back at home to face the improving Surrey Scorchers. Surrey’s previous visit to the Emirates resulted in a convincing win for the Rocks and it was hoped this game would follow a similar script. However it took a 30 point performance by Captain Kieron Achara to ensure Rocks clinched an 88-82 win against Surrey. Back from injury, Achara proved unstoppable as Rocks eventually shrugged off their opponents in the last minute to take the win and avoid the wrath of head coach Sterling Davis in what was his 350th game in charge. With nothing significant between the teams throughout, the game came down to the team who executed down the stretch, with Jonny Bunyan hitting a huge 3 pointer when it mattered. The game had been locked at 77-77, but it proved to be the go-ahead triple as Rocks did enough to see off a valiant effort from the visitors.
Valentines day saw the Rocks head to Cheshire where once again a 3rd quarter meltdown saw the Phoenix overturn a 16 point deficit and take the win 90-81. Ex Rocks player Danny Huffor was once again the key to Cheshire’s success, scoring a game high 24 points. Kieron Achara scored 14 points and had 13 rebounds and Will Hall and Warren Gillis scored 18 points and 14 points respectively. The Rocks had a strong start in the opening quarter and went in 13-27 ahead as Cheshire allows us many open looks both inside and outside. A second quarter 12-0 by Cheshire saw them reduce the Rock’s advantage and the half ended 34-40. The start of the third quarter showed the Rocks continue to dominate before Cheshire rallied and tied up the game at 59-59 going into the final quarter. The fourth quarter saw Cheshire lead by as many as 12 points before Riley Grabau scored a three pointer to bring the deficit back to single figures.
Friday 19th February saw the news break to Rock’s fans that Marcus Ware had left the club. Friday 19th February also saw the Rocks complete a season sweep of London Lions as Kieron Achara capped an dramatic 81-80 win at the Copper Box. The Rocks seemed set to cruise to a third BBL Championship success against their hosts as they jumped out to a 25-14 lead after 10 minutes, but the Lions gradually regained their composure and began to establish the upper hand and led by as many as 8 points during the fourth quarter. However the Rocks never gave up and Will Hall scored 8 points in a row for the visitors to pull them back within two. Warren Gillis then produced two key steals inside the final minute. The first teed up Riley Grabau for a 3 pointer pointer to reduce the deficit to two points once more. The second allowed Kieron Achara to tie things up with four seconds on the clock and convert the associated free throw awarded from the foul. Achara had a team-high 18 points for Rocks, as well as 11 rebounds. Warren Gillis scored 15 points and Riley Grabau, Will Hall and Adam Hammerschmidt scored 13 points as Rocks recorded a victory that will mean so much more, given that they were forced to run with just seven active players.
24 hours later the Rocks were visitors to Leicester Rider’s new arena (did anyone know they had a new arena…?). It would have been understandable if the Rocks were lacking in energy due to their efforts the previous night. However, led by double-doubles from the inside duo of Kieron Achara (24 points and 15 rebounds) and Will Hall (16 points and 11 rebounds), it was Glasgow’s biggest win against the Riders since 2010 as they kept the hosts to their lowest points tally of the season so far, and condemned them to a first league defeat in ten outings. The Rocks led for all-but the first minute of this game, soon establishing a 12-4 edge as Hall and Achara shared nine early points. Riders came back through Ant Rowe and Drew Sullivan, but Jonny Bunyan’s 3 pointer early in the second quarter helped the visitors maintain their cushion. Riders were struggling to narrow the deficit and, despite being the best three-point shooting team in the BBL, were 0/14 from long-range in the first half. The closest Leicester came was after a 7-0 burst in the third period, bringing them back to 40-38, sparked by Tyler Bernadini’s ‘and-one’ play. But, once more, they could not quite get back on level terms, before Hall, Achara and Warren Gillis responded immediately with six points in little more than a minute. Gillis scored a total of 14 points. The decisive run came midway through the fourth quarter, when Rocks rattled off 17 unanswered points to see the lead peak at 71-50: Achara scoring the first five, before JB and Riley Grabau hit triples, and Gillis scored the last six points in the spell. They held Riders scoreless for five minutes in what was Glasgow’s best defensive performance of the season so far. Both teams were depleted on the night, Rocks only having six players in double-figure minutes, and Riders missing Coach Rob Paternostro after the birth of his second child, and Shane Walker through illness.
A huge thanks to the travelling fans who made the journey to London and Leicester and helped back the team to the wins! It was a perfect end to February’s games and one that many wouldn’t have predicted.
Who was your Player of the Month for February? Vote below!
Who Is Your Player of the Month for February 2016?
- Kieron Achara (46%, 36 Votes)
- Warren Gillis (38%, 30 Votes)
- Will Hall (8%, 6 Votes)
- Adam Hammerschmidt (6%, 5 Votes)
- Jonny Bunyan (3%, 2 Votes)
- Riley Grabau (0%, 0 Votes)
- Armin Mazic (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jordan Clarke (0%, 0 Votes)
- Bantu Burroughs (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 79