THE MINECORP Rockhampton Rockets hushed the usually rowdy crowds at Candle Stick Park as they held off the defending champions Mackay Meteors' to win 86-82 in round six of the hotly contested Queensland Basketball League.
Saturday night's win was hugely satisfying for the Neal Tweedy coached Rockets side that proved they had the goods to be there at the business end of the season.
Mackay got out to a good start and quickly piled on points, but the Rockets quickly reigned their hosts back in to lead by three points. Brad Williamson sprung into action in the second quarter, firing up his team mates, and they raced out to a commanding 15-point lead.
"We didn't execute well at the end of the that quarter and Mackay got the score back to 10 points...I thought we took the crowd out of the game a bit, which was good as it is such a hard environment to play in and we did well be up by 10 at Mackay," Tweedy said.
Despite the Meteors making some late runs at the Rockets, the visitors executed their game plan well, and managed to hold on to win while maintaining their top-of-the-table position.
Justin Watts top scored with 24, while Williamson chipped in 22 points, and Stephen Weigh shot 21. Tweedy said it was a real team effort with everyone contributing to the victory. The top scorers for Mackay were Chase Spreen (22) and Greg Vanderjagt, who shot 21 points.
Next weekend, teams have a bye, and Tweedy said it came at a handy time for his squad.
"We can rest Peni's (Nasalo) injured foot some more while Mitch Philps and Justin Watts flew out yesterday (Sunday) to trial with the Sydney Kings this week...it gives us a good nice break so we can reset and get ready for our stretch of six out of eight games at home," the coach added.
MEANWHILE, in the women's clash between an undefeated Mackay outfit and the Frenchville Rockhampton Cyclones, the hosts thrashed their visitors 80-51, at their first home game of the season on Saturday night.
It was a severely depleted Rockhampton side that clashed with last year's champions as the Cyclones had a long injury list.
"Chandrea Jones had a season-ending knee injury last weekend, Amy Brown injured her leg, Katrina Clifford hurt her knee as well and Maddy Chandler has been out with an ankle injury," Cyclones' coach Heath Millar said.
The coach added he was realistic about how difficult the match up would be, but saw it as an opportunity to give some floor time to younger girls in the player group.
Mackay finished the first quarter with a 28-8 lead., leaping to 46-18 at half-time. Although the Cyclones stepped up their defence to close the third quarter 67-36, the Meteorettes were too powerful.
QBL Men: Rockhampton Rockets 86 def Mackay Meteors 82; QBL Women: Mackay Meteorettes 80 def Rockhampton Cyclones 50.