Third time unlucky for Reading Rockets
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Ball control: Harrison Gamble takes on Derby Trailblazers in a narrow defeat last weekend. Pic: MIKE SWIFT. To order pictures from this game use code 120437.
...but Rockets look set for the big time after applying to join British Basketball League
READING Rockets head coach Samit Nuruzade insists his side are still in contention for the play-offs but need to start turning narrow defeats into victories.
The Rockets' last three games have all been decided by a single point and on Sunday they were edged out 75-76 by Derby Trailblazers.
Four straight defeats in the league leave Reading outfit just outside the play-off positions for the first time since they entered EBL Division One as the Berkshire club sit in ninth place with a record of five wins and six losses heading into the final two months of the campaign.
However, Nuruzade remains upbeat as his side enter the latter stages of the season.
He said: "Despite our current league position and with all the injuries and personnel changes we've been subjected to, I'm pleased with how we've done so far and feel we are not far off from being tough to beat in the second half of the season.
"I feel we are still doing things right in terms of getting our team the best they can be.
"What we now have to do is take the next step up and turn these narrow losses into wins and we'll be right back in contention in the coming weeks. It's still an exciting time here and I can't wait for the hard work and challenges that lie ahead."
The injury-ravaged Harrison Gamble opened the scoring when hitting a superb three pointer in the opening period to put Rockets into a 10-4 lead but Derby came back strongly to go into the second period 19-12 up.
Rockets reduced the deficit to one point but Derby remained in front and with the final quarter looming, Reading still trailed 53-58.
Kastytis Normantas, Robbie Parker and Gamble combined to move Rockets into a one point lead but a treble of three pointers in a 90-second spell sealed the Trailblazer's win. Top scorer was Ryan Lohfink with 19 points.
Rockets have a weekend's break ahead of a double header away to Medway Park Crusaders on Saturday February 4 before returning to Rivermead to take on Tees Valley Mohawks on Sunday February 5 (4pm tip-off).
** READING Rockets have revealed ambitious plans that would see them compete in the top tier of British basketball.
The club have applied to join the British Basketball League containing the top clubs in the country.
It would mean Rockets, currently competing in Division 1 of the English Basketball League, would turn fully professional.
They would also have to make improvements to their Rivermead base, with the BBL receiving extensive coverage on Sky Sports.
Rockets are now on the lookout for partners and investors to help them achieve their dream. **