READING Rockets will be doubly represented at the Under-18 National Cup finals next month, writes Dave Wright.

The junior men's team booked their place by defeating Sussex Storm 88-78, while the girls beat City of London Academy 69-62 in their semi-final.

In the men's match, only two points separated the sides at half-time, but Rockets then found themselves 13 points adrift at 63-50 in the third period before cutting the deficit to eight points by the end of 30 minutes.

But Rockets made an excellent start to the final quarter with a 19-2 run that propelled them into a nine-point lead at 78-69 and, after Sussex had cut the gap two seven points, another 10-2 run ensured the victory for the host club.

Point-guard David Chive led the scoring with an impressive tally of 33 points.

Their opponents in the final will be Haringey Hawks.

Head coach Ben Fisher said: “I am so proud of the group, as they never gave up. We have a real resilience in this team and that showed when we were 13 down. The guys deserve this win so much and I am so pleased we get a chance to compete in a national final.”

Reading Under-18 girls overcame a skilful and tough City of London team to reach a national final for the first time.

With four minutes remaining they were six points down, but Rockets dug deep and hit a brace of key trebles whilst defending well to win the match by a seven-point margin.

There were mixed fortunes for Rockets senior men in Division 1 last weekend, defeating Loughborough Riders 101-86 before losing 101-90 to Essex Leopards.

Against the Riders, Rockets led 24-19 at the first break, 57-46 at the interval and 82-64 in the third period.

In the final minutes they had all the Academy players on court at the same time.

Tops scorers for Rockets were Trae Pemberton with 25pts and six rebounds, captain Danny Carter with 23 points and seven rebounds and five assists with AJ Carr hitting 20 points and having eight rebounds. Aidan O’Sullivan netted 12 and Sam Grant 10 points respectively.

On Sunday, Rockets found themselves 45-56 behind at the half-way stage before pulling back to 53-56 and the scores were level at 71-71.

Carter scored 11 points in the final quarter, but Leopards hit three trebles in the final quarter to win the match 101-90.

Top scorers for Rockets were Pemberton with 25 points, followed by Carr 22, Carter 15 and Sydney Donaldson 11.

Rockets, who are fourth in the table, now have break before visiting Manchester Magic on January 5.