By Liam Emerton
After coming agonisingly close to knocking off the second-placed Mackay Meteors, the Rockhampton Rockets will look to ply their trade on the road.
It is going to be a tough NBL-1 North double-header for the Rockets who face two gruelling trips including one interstate.
The first of the games will be against the South West Metro Pirates on Friday night at Hibiscus Sports Stadium in Upper Mount Gravatt.
The Pirates have won the same amount of games as the Rockets this season but have played one less match.
Because of that South West Metro sit above Rocky on the ladder but our home side would leapfrog them with a win.
A win against the Pirates would also play a massive part in the next match which will be a big test for our men’s side.
They will have to fly out of Saturday morning before touching down in the Northern Territory where they’ll meet the Darwin Salties.
The Salties have been very strong this season and currently sit in third position on the NBL-1 ladder.
The only team from outside Queensland in the comp has eight wins this year and with an impressive home record, the squad will be extremely tough to roll.
The squad had a triple-header on the road last round but still managed to win twice, only losing the final game to the Brisbane Capitals.
Those tired legs will be refreshed with six days of recovery time before the Rockhampton men’s team comes to town.
Our Rockhampton squad lost their last game out to Mackay 90-100 in an overtime thriller at Bravus Arena.
With just seconds on the clock our Rockets were down by three, Damian Prgomet stepped up in the biggest way scoring a corner trey to even the score at 84-84 with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
That time wasn’t enough for Mackay to score a game winner so the teams entered overtime.
But a dominant performance in defence proved to be the difference maker as a 16-4 extra period knocked off our Rockets at home.
Matthew McCarthy was on fire for the Rockets in that match with a game-high 29 points helping keep Rockhampton within touching distance.
Kendall Stephens (24 points) and Damian Prgomet (18) both contributed to our total with solid scores but it wasn’t enough as our local rivals ran home with a 10-point victory.
Looking ahead to our Cyclones fixtures the team will look to bounce back after losing 87-85 against the Metorettes on Saturday.
The Rocky women will take on the South West Metro Pirates and the Darwin Salties in the same double-header as our men’s squad.
The difference for the Cyclones is that both those teams sit below them on the NBL-1 North women’s ladder and our side will be looking to keep it that way.
After that heartbreaking defeat to the Mackay squad, our Cyclones will be eager to pick up a perfect weekend and walk away a place higher on the ladder.
Lara McSpadden’s 27 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks made for a great performance against Mackay but she would certainly trade those stats in for a couple of wins this weekend.