AFTER a week off, the NBL1 Central Men’s competition resumed over the weekend with Round 9 delivering some big scores as teams looked as refreshed as ever.
One of the big winners of the round proved to be the North Adelaide Rockets, who claimed a 17-point win over the Central District Lions when the two teams faced off at The Lights Community and Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The Rockets came into the match in ripping form, having won four on the trot coming in and looking like one of the form sides of the competition. On the other hand, the Lions had won just two games from 10 outings to start the year, and were in desperate need of another victory.
Although, the visitors showed strong patches of play in glimpses, the match belonged to North Adelaide. It jumped out to a 19-point lead in the first half, and although Central District won the third quarter, it was too little, too late as the Rockets cruised home to a 113-96 win to move to 7-4 on the season.
The North Adelaide starters were one of the biggest factors in the team’s big win, particularly the performance of Koop McCalop, who was a driving force behind the result.
North Adelaide Rockets (113) def. Central District Lions (96)
Koop McCalop – 30 points, 15 rebounds, one assist, two blocks
In a game where a fair few players delivered strong performances, McCalop stood above the rest with a towering double-double. His 30 points came on quite efficient shooting, with the 29-year-old shooting 63 per cent from the field. He had the ability to score in a variety of ways, making him an extremely difficult matchup.
A total 12 of his 19 field goal attempts found the bottom of the net in a scoring performance that was unstoppable at times. Whether it was pushing into the paint and finishing through some tough contact, or popping out to the perimeter to splash home a three-pointer (he nailed three triples on five attempts), McCalop consistently found ways to generate offence for his team.
On the boards, the forward was the match’s premier presence, pulling down a game-high 15 in a dominant display. Of that total, six came on the offensive end, which allowed him to keep the team’s offence rolling with second chance points.
McCalop was also strong in protecting the paint for the Rockets, recording a pair of blocks and contesting plenty of other inside shot attempts from Central District. When the Lions could not get their jump shots to fall early in the game, they looked to
The performance of McCalop was one of the biggest positives in an excellent night for North Adelaide, with the forward producing an outstanding statline in the team’s seventh win for the 2023 season.