Rockets win again, run streak to 10
on February 11, 2012
The Rockets just keep on climbing.
Just days after the new American Basketball Association power rankings placed the Richmond Rockets in eighth place nationally, the first-year squad went out and played like a title contender, running the visiting Port City Pirates ragged in a 109-85 win at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium Saturday.
The win was the Rockets tenth straight, and runs their record to a Pacific North Conference-best: 15-3.
“We had good shot selection, intense defense and we kept our turnovers down,” said Rockets coach Phrank McKinney. “I’m proud of our guys.”
Port City, the franchise from Stockton, came out strong and kept the game tight early with rim-rattling forays to the hoop and rugged offensive rebounding.
Out of an early timeout, a long jumper by star guard Lindsey Hughey put the Rockets up 13-12 with 5:05 remaining in the first, a lead they would never relinquish.
At halftime, for the first time this season McKinney eschewed his locker room pep talk, instead standing alone in a dark corridor nearby. “I want to let them figure it out,” McKinney said. “It’s a long season. I want my players to grow as leaders.”
In the locker room, Rockets players converged on an imperfect circle of benches and trainer’s tables, chipping in ideas and encouragement.
“We gotta turn it up on defense,” said guard Tita Davis, last year’s ABA scoring champion, as his teammates looked on. “Stay with your man and do your rotation.”
The Rockets pulled away in the second half. The combination of slashing guards like Davis and Hughey with Joel Smith’s dominance on the inside was too much for the Port City team.
Justin Baker drained a long three-pointer at 2:15 in the 3rd quarter, stretching the Rocket’s lead to 81-61, effectively icing the game.
Friday’s crowd included Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, former Councilman Jim McMillan and a contingent of residents from the North & East Neighborhood Council.
The Rockets next game is against arch-rival Bay Area Matrix, the franchise based in Clayton, at 6:30 p.m. tonight in Pleasant Hill.
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