2016 began with a short road trip on 9th January to Falkirk to take on the National League Scottish Champions Falkirk Fury, in what was the first round of the BBL trophy. The short distance meant that around 100 Rocks fans made the trip to cheer on the team in what many assumed would be training game.
They weren’t far wrong. The Rocks managed to hold Fury scoreless for the first four minutes of the game and by half time the Rocks were already 17 – 52 up. They didn’t ease off in the second half and finished the game with a 42 – 91 win, setting up a quarter final game with Worcester Wolves. Every Rocks player got on the scoresheet with Marcus Ware scoring 20 points, Will Hall scoring 16 and Mazic scoring 15. The team also broke a record on the night, as 42 is the fewest points that Rocks have ever conceded in a BBL competition.
It was a full 2 weeks before the team played their next competitive game, Bristol Flyers at home. Many were concerned the lack of game time may result in some rustiness however the team made a 15-4 start to the game and never looked back, particularly with Bristol missing two key players. At the end of the first half the Rocks were up by 12 and the lead remained in double digits for the majority of the game, though the Flyers did cut the gap to 7 briefly in the second half. However a 13-2 run saw the Rocks open up a 21 point cushion at the end of the third period. There was no let up in the fourth, and the advantage peaked at 31 points following an 8-0 run. The final score ended 87 – 58 to the Rocks who out-rebounded their opponents 41-34 and scored 18 points off of 18 turnovers from Bristol. Marcus Ware again led the Rocks with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists in 27 minutes, while Jonny Bunyan and Riley Grabau both reached double figures with 17 and 14 points respectively.
The 29th January saw the first of two games that weekend. This one at home to Cheshire Phoenix. The Rocks struggled with Cheshire last season, but with new bodies and a sense of confidence throughout the team many thought the Rocks would be able to claim their second win over the Phoenix this season. With Cheshire having signed ex-Rocks player Danny Huffor, many fans were wondering what sort of performance they would see from him. The Rocks led for almost the entire first half as they looked inside to Kieron Achara, who had recovered from his injury, to create high-percentage shots. However a 9 – 0 in the third quarter in Cheshire’s favour changed the contest. Rocks cut the deficit to 2 points with three minutes to play, only for Cheshire to respond with clutch buckets to help the visitors over the line. Danny Huffor seemed determined to show the Rocks what they were missing out on by top scoring with 28 points. For the Rocks, Achara contributed 22 points, Warren Gillis contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds and Will Hall finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The 31st January saw the Rocks head to Worcester for the quarter final trophy game. Wolves led from start to finish as they opened on a 7-2 run before netting eight points in quick succession to help grow the lead. Their advantage hit double figures in the second as Worcester compiled a 13-2 run. However the Rocks kept the gap from growing out of control and managed to edge their opponents by taking the final quarter 13-12. Will Hall led the team with 18 points, Warren Gillis finished on 16 points and Marcus Ware finished on 15 points (albeit with only 17 minutes game time).
It was an extremely disappointing end to January. However as always vote for your player of the month below.
Who Is Your Player of the Month for January 2016?
- Marcus Ware (42%, 15 Votes)
- Will Hall (31%, 11 Votes)
- Kieron Achara (14%, 5 Votes)
- Jonny Bunyan (8%, 3 Votes)
- Adam Hammerschmidt (6%, 2 Votes)
- Riley Grabau (0%, 0 Votes)
- Armin Mazic (0%, 0 Votes)
- Jordan Clarke (0%, 0 Votes)
- Bantu Burroughs (0%, 0 Votes)
- Warren Gillis (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 36