GAME REPORT: Rocks comeback too late to threaten Phoenix

Cheshire Phoenix 85 – 69 Glasgow Rocks

Match report by Alan Caldwell & image from Adam Day

A valiant effort from the Rocks away to the Phoenix, however, a strong first and third quarter performance from Cheshire saw them win this game at home.

The first quarter started off excellently for the Rocks as Julius Van Sauers got in the lane to make a layup before Fraser Malcom hit a long three, as these two baskets got Glasgow’s first points of the evening.

The quick start from Glasgow continued as Isa Brandon made a layup of his own, however, it wasn’t without response from Cheshire as they went on an 10-0 run to retake the lead early in the contest.

Despite this, Glasgow managed to keep the game close for majority of the first quarter, as a layup from Jacdonmi and a three from Jonny Bunyan stopped the Phoenix run. However, with two minutes left in the first quarter again it was Cheshire who went on a 11-0 run to end the quarter, putting them up 26-14.

At the start of the second quarter, it was Marc Kwedi who came in for the Rocks off the bench to hit a three, which was then followed up by a Fraser Malcom three, hitting his second of the game as the Cheshire Phoenix lead is cut down to single digits again.

The scoring for Cheshire seemed to slow down slightly in the second quarter, along with the fact that Glasgow’s offence had became a lot more officiant, scoring 14 points in the second quarter with four minutes left to play, this was as many points as they scored in the entirety of the first quarter with the Cheshire lead being trimmed down to just seven in the game.

This lead was only made shorter by the Rocks, as Mpdondo hit a three pointer to cut it to just four in the game, however, this was short lasted as Phoenix’s Kahron Ross hit a wonder shot right at the end of the shot clock which sparked a 6-0 to Cheshire, putting their lead back up to ten points, undoing a lot of the terrific offence in the second quarter.

Going into the interval, it was a 12 point ball game with Cheshire up 47-35, despite the second quarter being an even contest with both teams scoring 21 in the quarter. Leading scorer for the Rocks at halftime was Fraser Malcom with 8 points as he continued taking advantage of the starting lineup role given to him for the final stretch of the season.

Going into the second half, Isa Brandon opened up the scoring for the Rocks with a lovely crossover and finish at the rim as Glasgow look to cut the Cheshire lead back down to single digits again, with this game definitely not out of sight just yet.

Despite this, it was Phoenix who started the third quarter off faster than the Rocks, outscoring them 14-6 in the first four minutes of the second half to extend the Cheshire lead to now 20 points, their biggest lead of the night so far.

To end the third quarter, Cheshire kept their lead, extending it out even more, outscoring the Rocks 24-14 in the quarter and putting them up 73-49 going into the fourth quarter with the game now looking over as a contest.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Rocks now playing for pride as they knew a 24 point deficit would be near impossible to claw back in just one quarter of play. However, they did not give up as it was Fraser Malcom, who opened up the fourth quarter scoring with his third three of the night, making him the first Rocks player to get to double digit scoring on the game.

With the pressure now off, Glasgow could play with a bit of freedom knowing their mistakes doesn’t really affect the course of play, this seemed to help the Rocks as Mpondo hit a three pointer after some smooth ball movement and assist from Van Sauers as the Rocks opened up the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run.

Things only got better for the Rocks in the fourth quarter as they continued to out score the Cheshire Phoenix, holding them to just four points in the eight minutes of play whilst the Rocks scored 17 points of their own, cutting the lead back down to single digits again with Fraser Malcom and Isa Brandon each scoring six points in the fourth quarter.

Despite this, it was the Cheshire Phoenix who still came away with the win as their lead gained earlier in the game was enough to see them out winners despite a fourth quarter scare from the Rocks, Cheshire win 85-69.

Three Rocks players finished with double digit scoring as Isa Brandon, Fraser Malcom and David Mpondo coming off the bench, all scored 14 points.

Next up for the Rocks is another tough away game tomorrow night against the Leicester Riders for a 7:30pm tip-off live on Sky Sports.

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