TEAM Solent Kestrels continued their undefeated start to their NBL Division One campaign, using a strong second-half performance to see off Reading Rockets, writes Jack O'Keeffe.

The 101-73 win moved TSK to 7-0 and within touching distance of a 50th straight win in all NBL competitions, a streak that dates back to February 2019.

The first quarter was a scrappy affair by both teams' standards. Orlan Jackman gave the hosts the lead early on and that would be followed up by a trademark Travis Charles mid-range jump shot.

Despite Sam Grant and Reis Pinnock finding scores for the visitors, five unanswered points from Brendan Okoronkwo forced coach Alan Keane into his first timeout, TSK up 10-4 inside three minutes.

Jackman briefly extended the lead to nine, but the Rockets would come steaming back to take the lead with just two minutes left in the period, 14-15, after a Pinnock offensive rebound and put back. However TSK closed the first on a 7-3 run to hold a 21-18 advantage after 10 minutes.

Luke Busumbru came off the bench to lift the tempo for TSK and he would earn an early trip to the foul line in the second, backed up by an Ian Smith triple and yet another Jackman score in close, to push the deficit to 10.

It was the Rockets who fought back once again though, this time behind Leome Francis who kick-started a 7-0 run, triggering a coach Jack O’Keeffe timeout for the hosts.

Reading tied things up post timeout but Kestrels used a 16-0 run through the back end of the half to put daylight between themselves and the visitors, now up 44-28. Yet again Rockets refused to go away and they would force a pair of turnovers to close the half, allowing them to trim the gap to nine, 44-35.

It was back and forth to start the second half as Travis Charles got in on the scoring act alongside a dominant Jackman but Williams and Francis provided quick responses for the Berkshire outfit.

Williams pulled Reading within five at the seven-minute mark of the third, but this would be as close as they would get the rest of the way. Kestrels would use a 16-2 run to close out the period behind a balanced scoring effort, as they found a number of transition scores to put them 72-50 in front with 10 minutes to play.

A quick 11-0 burst to begin the fourth for TSK killed off any lasting hopes of a Rockets comeback as the hosts moved into a 33-point lead with just 90 seconds played in the period.

An Andre Arissol triple momentarily extended the gap to 34 before Williams and Grant set about trimming the arrears for Reading. The sides traded baskets for long spells to close out the game and that would better suit TSK as they secured a 101-73 victory.

Discussing his side's performance, TSK interim head coach O’Keeffe said: "It was a game of two halves for us, we made a some uncharacteristic errors in the first half which led to defensive mistakes and turnovers on our part.

"Full credit to Reading, who came in and showed they are a difficult team to beat and have a number of tough match-ups.

"However our guys made some adjustments midway through the third quarter and that allowed us to control the game, with a number of consecutive stops on the defensive end.”

Team Solent Kestrels were led by Jackman, who was in dominant mood from the start with 28 points and 12 rebounds, whilst Smith added 19 points and nine assists and Okoronkwo chipped in 12 points and five assists. The visiting Rockets American point guard, O’Showen Williams, had 19 points to lead their scoring charge with Sam Grant and Pinnock adding 16 and 14 respectively.