Coach Baker was in reflective mood after the game: “playing against Solent is always a great test, they have set the standard across the last couple of seasons emphasised by their 50-0 record in NBL matches. It’s truly an excellent achievement” he said.
“We made a commitment at the start of the season to give opportunities to our academy guys to compete in D1 to establish a British player pathway. I was proud to see them compete against one of the best teams in the country. I have seen a positive shift in our intent over recent weeks and this is what we are emphasising with our group.”
Wolves’ men couldn’t build on a good start as they went down 98-77 at home against Reading Rockets, on Sunday afternoon.
Thomas Baker’s side rushed into a early 14-4 lead and were 60-58 ahead with three minutes of the third period remaining before the visitors outscored them 40-17 in the final third of the game.
The home side out-rebounded the Rockets 56-45 but a poor shooting night saw them convert only 34 of their 84 field goal attempts and were cold from downtown as they hit only 5-31 of their three-pointers.
AJ Roberts led the home side with a 22 point, 15 rebound double-double, adding two assists and a couple of blocks. Academy player Kane Daley continued his good season with 15 points while Jordan Santiago returned from injury to finish with 12 points and nine assists despite a difficult shooting display.
Rockets were led by 19 points and seven rebounds from Leome Francis while Jaz Bains hit four three pointers on his was to 14 points. American guard O’Showen Williams was held to a season-low 13 points on 4-from-17 shooting, adding seven points and as many rebounds.
Ahmed Ketiri and Roberts gave Wolves a 4-0 lead before Francis and Sam Grant replied but back-to-back triples from Seth Wiley saw Oaklands blow into their biggest lead of the game at ten points. Scores from Obi Egbunike and Ketiri saw the hosts lead 22-14 heading into the final two minutes of the period before Rockets finished strongly to cut Wolves’ advantage to 22-20 at the first break.
Daley hit a triple early in the second period, but Rockets chipped away and took their first lead of the game through Reiss Pinnock with 6:16 on the clock Roberts’ triple kept the hosts in touch, and four straight Daley points meant Wolves went into the locker room trailing 51-45.
Francis opened the second half scoring but the next three minutes saw Wolves play some of their best basketball of the season, rattling off 11 straight points and forcing two shot clock violations. Roberts drained a triple and hit a lay-up in the run and Santiago added two baskets as the hosts took a 56-53 lead.
Scores from Roberts and Santiago kept Wolves ahead by two before Rockets launched the game winning run with seven of their 14 points coming at the foul line before Bains hit a triple to put Rockets in charge at 72-64 going into the fourth period.
Francis and Ben Dixon took the lead out to 12 early in the fourth period before Ray Akpofure – who had a season high in both points (11) and rebounds (10) – briefly made it a ten-point game before Rockets closed out the win.