In front of a season high 269 crowd at Wellsprings LC, Taunton knew that they'd have a tough battle as they hosted reigning Division 1 Champions and National Cup holders, Reading Rockets. And so it proved, as an impressive all round display gave Reading a comfortable victory.
You can watch the full game video here or View it on Vimeo. The match report continues below.
The game started well enough for the Tigers, with an opening 3 pointer from Sean Clifford and 2 points from Adam Rickwood taking them into a 5 – 3 lead, but that was the last time that they were ahead in the game. As the first quarter progressed, they found it increasingly difficult to penetrate a powerful and determined Rockets defence. Much of Tigers' success this season has been built around the inside work of Chris Page, but in this match he was limited to just 14 points.
Taunton's forceful drives to the basket did result in the visitors getting into foul trouble very early on but, unfortunately, they were unable to capitalise from the free-throw line. By the end of the period Tigers had fallen behind 13 – 23.
The second quarter was very similar to the first. Taunton were made to work extremely hard to get good looks at the basket, while Reading's quick movement of the ball and rebounding on the offensive boards meant that their points were coming with relative ease. At the half, the game was effectively over as a contest with the score at 26 – 42.
The second half was a much more evenly balanced. Reading again found themselves in foul trouble, with two players fouling out in the 3rd quarter. Meanwhile, Joe Mills set a good tempo for Taunton's offence, and regular scores from Paul Yabsley and Joe Andrews threatened to get their team back into the game. Taunton's defence also tightened up, denying Reading easy close-range scoring opportunities.
The Rockets showed their quality and versatility, though, as they responded with some excellent outside shooting. Their 10 successful 3 point shots were a key feature of the day.
After the game, Tigers' coach, Tom Kambouris, was full of praise for the visitors,
“Take your hat off to Reading. Every time we made a mini-run in the second-half, they answered with a big shot. Ultimately, our inability to get important stops on defence was the difference in the game.”