Hayden Richardson led the scoring for the Rockhampton Rockets in their CQ Cup grand final against Mackay Meteors. Photo: Jann Houley
Hayden Richardson led the scoring for the Rockhampton Rockets in their CQ Cup grand final against Mackay Meteors. Photo: Jann Houley

Rockets players ‘gave everything they could’ in final

THERE was no joy for Rockhampton’s Rockets and Cyclones in their respective ConocoPhillips CQ Cup grand finals on Saturday night.

They were both beaten by Mackay, with the Rockets going down 71-59 and the Cyclones 88-67 at McDonald’s Mackay Stadium.

Mackay were the benchmark in the men’s and women’s competitions, and Saturday night’s results completed unbeaten seasons for the Meteors and Meteorettes.

Rockets coach Neal Tweedy said it was a hard-fought men’s final, and it was his team’s inability to maintain their scoring that ultimately cost them.

The Rockets scored only eight points in the opening quarter but found their rhythm in the second, putting on 28 points to lead 36-34 at half-time.

Unfortunately, they could not maintain that momentum, and managed just four points in the third quarter to again find themselves trailing Mackay.

Trevor Corrigan was one of the Rockhampton Rockets best in Saturday’s showdown with the Mackay Meteors. Photo: Jann Houley
Trevor Corrigan was one of the Rockhampton Rockets best in Saturday’s showdown with the Mackay Meteors. Photo: Jann Houley

The Rockets tried valiantly in the fourth, but Mackay would not be denied victory on their home floor.

Tweedy said his players “gave everything they could” in what was a dour battle.

“It was a very low-scoring game and that’s where we probably needed to be if we thought we were going to cause an upset but we just couldn’t score enough points ourselves,” he said.

“We were feeling pretty happy (at half-time) that we’d got ourselves out of a difficult situation but unfortunately in the third quarter it dried up again for us offensively.

“We scored just four points and that’s probably where we needed to really put the scoreboard pressure on Mackay.

“They didn’t score that much themselves, but you just can’t go through long scoring droughts.

“We battled back, we got it back to five or seven in the fourth, but just couldn’t score enough points in the end.”

Leon Christensen had another big game for the Rockhampton Rockets in Saturday night’s grand final. Photo: Jann Houley
Leon Christensen had another big game for the Rockhampton Rockets in Saturday night’s grand final. Photo: Jann Houley

Tweedy said the Rockets’ defence was exceptional and the players stuck to the game plan.

He said his starting five - Leon Christensen, Hayden Richardson, Jared Blanchard, Matt Hancock and Trevor Corrigan – all worked tirelessly playing big minutes.

Richardson finished with a game high 24 points.

Tweedy hailed the CQ Cup a success.

The four-way competition, which also involved Gladstone and Bundaberg, was put together after the NBL1 North season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“It was great to just be playing basketball again,” Tweedy said.

“Our local boys got the opportunity to play a higher level of basketball than they get to play in the Tuesday night club league.

“It’s not NBL1 standard but I think they were good quality games.

“We’ll reassess over the next few weeks and work out starting dates for the pre-season for next year’s NBL1.”

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