Congratulations to Jalen Billups who won our October Player of the Month vote.
November saw the team play 5 games, 3 away and 2 at home. First up was the London Lions at the Copperbox on November 3rd. Over the last few seasons Rocks seemed to have Lions’ number (apart from THAT playoff game last season…) however the Lions had already beaten us twice, once at the All Stars Game and once in pre-season. It wasn’t to be for the Rocks as the Lions comfortably defended their home court with a 86-70 victory. The Lions made a fast start and never once fell behind in the game, taking the first quarter 25-17. Lions were equally as dominant in the second quarter despite Gareth Murray trying to get the Rocks back into the game with a 6-0 run close to half time. The Lions’ dominance on the glass was evident as was Paul Guede’s contribution which included 4 steals in the game and a strong third quarter performance. The Lion’s lead was never threatened in the second half and they ran out 86-70 winners. Kieron Achara top scored with 14 points and both Martez Harrison and Ali Fraser contributed 10 points. The positive about this day? Rocks managed to get Dizzyfish on board as a new partnership.
It was back to home court on November 5th as the Rocks were in BBL Cup duty against the Wolves. Silverware was one of our owner’s aims this season and so fans knew that this was a great opportunity to take a step towards that goal. However the Wolves had other ideas and played their way into the final four. The Rocks got off to a slow start and the visitors quickly took advantage with a double-digit cushion inside the first. Rocks did mount a comeback but the Wolves were able to respond after half-time and led by as many as 21 en route to the win. The Wolves also took care of the battle of the boards, 44-37 and came up with six rejections as they defended the paint to keep Rocks at bay. Gareth Murray led the scoring with 24 points, Kieron Achara put up 15 points and Earl Brown contributed 14 points.
After a losing weekend, the Rocks decided to try and cheer us all up. They announced the sponsorship of Herbalife. Our statement can be read here!
Despite the cup loss to Wolves, Rocks could get revenge the following weekend as they made the trip to Worcester on November 10th. When George Beamon (Wolves) dropped a three-pointer to make it 45-36 in the third quarter, things looked tricky for the Rocks. However the team responded and scored 23 points in the remainder of the quarter to flip the game on its head as they sunk a flurry of scores from long-range. In total the Rocks managed to convert 10 triples from 20 attempts in recording a 76-82 win. Kieron Achara had 17 points, while Earl Brown had an impressive 12 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
The following day saw the team travel to Bristol Flyers and it was the Flyers who scored a home win over the Rocks for the first time in the BBL Championship, at the sixth attempt, beating them 74-71. After the Rocks had put on a third quarter run to take a strong lead, Flyers turned the game on its head with a 13-0 surge early in the fourth quarter, going ahead at 58-56 with five minutes to play. Rocks remained within one shot, but the game was settled when Flyers hit another triple heading into the final minute. Also notable was the fact that the Flyers held the Rocks scoreless for six minutes in the fourth quarter while they shot 9/14 attempts. Once again Achara top scored for the team with 18 points, Kofi Josephs had 16 and Gareth Murray contributed 10.
The final game of the month was at home to Surrey Scorchers. The end.
The Rocks were slow out of the blocks, with Jalen Billups missing a few early attempts as Scorchers raced into an early 7-0 lead. Gareth Murray scored his first three of the night three minutes into the tie to settle Rocks nerves but Scorchers remained a threat in the first quarter as it ended 20-24 to Surrey.
Billups opened the second quarter with a one handed slam but Surrey kept the scoreboard ticking over with Joshua Steel sinking more points to keep the visitors in front. Halfway through the second quarter, two Bantu Burrough’s steals edged the Rocks into the lead for the first time, giving them a 35-34 lead. The second quarter ended 46-49.
Scorchers started the third quarter in blistering fashion, going on a 16-2 run in the opening four minutes, putting them comfortably in control. Seven points in the final minute from the Rocks meant they trailed 82-60 heading into the final quarter. However the team were unable to claw back the difference and Surrey took the game 85-104 as boos rang out around the Emirates Arena. It was a game where perhaps the only positive was Bantu Burroughs’ play. More musings on the weekend can be read here.
Not a great month. Was there any player that stood out for you despite the performances?