Reading Rockets suffered late heartbreak when a late referee call when against them to give Leicester Warriors a narrow away victory.
In a most competitive game, it was a contentious referee’s call in the last minute when Rockets were ahead by the slightest of margins, a single point, one of the referees called a foul and Warriors went to the line to hit four from four from the penalty stripe.
Rockets had to foul to try and regain possession quickly but Warriors were again secure from the free-throw line to take the win.
Warriors had a slow start to their season with a 0-7 run but then they signed 7’0” Morakinyo Williams so coupled to 6’11” Henri Langton.
Warriors won the tip and opened the scoring before Rockets’ power forward Leome Francis went inside to score before adding a pair from the free throw line. When Sam Toluwase drove and finished well, the game was tied on six apiece.
A Warriors treble was matched with a Reis Pinnock treble and the lead swapped with virtually every possession before recent Rockets signing Jaz Bains was introduced to the court and helped himself to five quick points including a trademark treble, the first of five Bains hit throughout the game, seeing Rockets with a double digit lead at 32 – 21 as Francis slammed home the advantage.
A Lattrell Maitland dish to Bains to stroke another treble was the highlight of the first quarter as the academy player again impressed and saw Rockets 35-27 in the lead.
Though Rockets started the second period with possession it was Warriors who scored first before a top of the key treble from O’Showen Williams and a Kivuvu Live spin and finish increased their advantage to 40-31 before a 9-0 Warriors run saw the game tied on 40 apiece.
A Warriors buzzer beater was equalled as Bains drained another treble but with Rockets in team foul trouble Warriors capitalised and took a 54-49 advantage into the third quarter.
A pair of Warrior trebles against hard work inside from Francis saw Rockets eight points behind early on.
Rockets picked up the pace again and Toluwase spun and scored as Williams drove and finished well and when Bains hit back to back trebles Rockets were just 65-69 down with three minutes of the quarter to go.
Ben Dixon drove to score and add the bonus free throw before scoring with a floater though again Warriors hit vital penalty throws to stay ahead by 75-72 as the final period beckoned.
Williams scored off Rockets’ first possession to make it a single point game which was soon tied on 76, 87, 93, and 96 with 1 minute 47 seconds remaining.
A Francis offensive rebound and score edged Rockets ahead at 98-97 before the tough call determined the fine game.
Rockets now see the top two teams of this season in a double-header weekend next Saturday and Sunday.