Meteors blast past Rockets at home in last-quarter shootout
A fourth quarter explosion has secured a Mackay victory in the first home game of the new season.
With the game played in front of a capacity home crowd, Rockhampton got within two points before the Meteors pulled away to win 95-81.
Coach Joel Khalu said he was happy with how the team stayed composed in a tense final quarter.
“Basketball is a game of runs, Rockhampton has guys who can shoot the ball so one thing with our group is that we know they’re never out of it,” he said.
“Even when we’re up 10 or 15 they’re never out of it, but I had confidence in our group to get out of that situation, we just had to make some adjustments defensively.”
The Meteors did not play any pre-season games, but Khalu said the side was building chemistry and it was evident against the Rockets.
“We’re slowly but surely figuring out how to play together,” he said.
“It’s a team product and how the individuals contribute to it, we have a bunch of local guys who understand the role they’ve got to do.”
Khalu praised strong individual performances, with Chris Cedar scoring 24 points, including four threes in the second half, and Jerron Jamerson scoring 21 points.
But Khalu said he was ecstatic with the defensive efforts of forward Viliami Foketi.
“Viliami Foketi was outstanding defensively,” he said.
“In the third quarter, his pressure on the ball carrier, taking the game by the horns was really good.
“We have outstanding individual talent, from Jerron Jamerson to Manny Malou, to Chris Cedar, Viliami as well.”
The Meteors will face the Rockets next week, with the game scheduled to be played in Rockhampton.
Cedar said he was wary of the home-crowd advantage that Rockhampton possessed.
“Away crowds are always tough to play in front of, coming back home you feel the energy on your side, we got a little excited at times,” Cedar said.
“I’ve played 13 years in this league, and I think I’ve won in Rockhampton once, this is going to be one of those times we need to bring the energy and our best to win.”