By Kia Croom
The Richmond Rockets kicked off their season with an exciting 78:71 inaugural win over the Bay Area Matrix.
Hundreds of basketball fans of all ages poured into Richmond Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center to watch the Rockets display their on-court talents and make history.
“I’m here to see the Richmond Rockets,” shouted Kathy Clemmons, a long-time Richmond resident and team fan, as she and her friends proudly rooted for the Rockets from their courtside seats.
“With this team comes a since of pride and ownership for our community. It´s something fresh, something new,” she said enthusiastically.
The cheerleaders weren’t the only ones rooting for the team. Eager fans chanted “Richmond Rockets” over and over. Brightly colored signs were flying high as fans showed support for their favorite players. Many in the audience who did not initially have a favorite player most likely left with one. The Rockets took off on the court, and a love affair began between them and the people who had come to see them.
Excitement and intensity increased as both teams vied for the win. There were a number of pivotal moments where it was seemingly either team’s game. Rockets fans nearly leaped from their seats as Joel Smith closed the first quarter with a three-point shot, with just moments on the clock, leaving the Rockets up 22:13.
Rockets’ fans were anxious at the end of the second quarter with their team and the Bay Area Matrix tied at 37 to 37. The Matrix had the ball. Rockets player Chris Adams grabbed the rebound and scored for two, giving the Rockets the lead.
In the third and fourth quarters, the Rockets held a narrow lead, ultimately winning their first victory.
Eric Marquis, the team’s Chief Executive Officer, was excited to see the players’ hard work pay off in such a big way. “We put in time day and night, night and day, he said. “To see the support from the community is lovely and then to win the game is the icing on the cake.”
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.