Reading Rockets snatch playoff glory
By Dave Ryan
Reading Rockets 88 (26,50,66)
Leeds Carnegie 63 (14,34,51)
Reading Rockets repeated their National Trophy final victory against Leeds Carnegie to collect their second playoff title in three years on Sunday.
A balanced scoring effort saw Robbie Parker lead five Rockets in double figures with 19 points. Jon May added 13 points, Matt Guymon 11, and both Niko Scott and Will Hall had ten.
Leeds' Zoltan Supola led Carnegie with 22 points, while Division One MVP candidate Adrian Fenyn had a 16 point, 13 rebound double-double.
Steve Vaughan opened the scoring for Rockets, and the Berkshire side started well. A Supola trey kept Leeds in touch, but Carnegie were forced to call a timeout with 4:48 on the clock and Reading 12-5 up.
Robbie Parker's trey extended that lead to 17-8 with three minutes of the first period left and Guymon also drained from downtown as Rockets went into the first break up 26-14 thanks to a buzzer-beater from Will Hall.
Marek Koltan made it a ten point game with the opening score of the second period but despite a Supola and-one, Leeds trailed 34-20 at the mid-stage of the quarter.
Even though Supola hit a trey at the top of the key, it was Rockets who went into the locker room leading 50-34.
Carnegie were unable to make any inroads into the deficit before coach Matt Newby called a timeout with 5:04 on the clock and Rockets 58-41 ahead.
Fenyn reduced the arrears and Koltun converted after grabbing an offensive board, then Sean Clifford stole the ball before scoring on the break to make it a nine point game, but Jon May beat the buzzer with a drive to the hoop and Rockets went into the final break 66-51 ahead.
Hall drained a three to open the fourth period and Lohfink made it a 20 point game with a put-back before Parker's triple with 4:48 on the clock made it 81-57 and effectively ended the game as a contest.
Photo - Adam Jepson