|Home Team||Raptors - National|
|Visitor Team||Derby Trailblazers|
|Location||Haslingden Sports Centre|
|Match Date||Saturday, 14 December 2013 - 17:15|
|Match Score||65 - 51|
The Raptors continued in their rich vein of form this week winning their 5th league game in a row and eighth overall win going into the Christmas break in joint second position in the league.
Derby Trailblazers were the visitors to Haslingden Sports Centre on Saturday evening. The Raptors only narrowly beat Derby in the first fixture of the season and were wary of their opponents particularly considering that the home side were without their Captain and second highest points scorer Aitor Estrada. Rossendale started well in the first quarter and opened a narrow lead of 14-12. From that point the Raptors seemed to grow in confidence offensively whilst retaining a defensive intensity that has slowly been building over the course of the season. At half time the Raptors led 33-25 in what was the best defensive half the Raptor have had all season.
The major highlight in the first half was a huge slam dunk from Raptors big man Tom Sutton who got the crowd off the seats and set the tone for an above the rim rebounding, shot blocking performance where he and his team mate Anthony Kuszaj dominated the area around both baskets and gave the Raptors a great platform defensively.
There was more to follow in the second half behind a stunning display of shooting from young guard Conor Porter who scored 17 points overall with a variety of long range shots and excellent moves to the basket. Stephen Gayle chipped in with a game high 18 points on a relatively quiet performance for him and the Raptors won the game 65-51.
Raptors centre Tom Sutton enjoyed the game: “It was a really good win against a very competitive Derby team. We’re on a good run at the moment but there’s a long way to go and a lot of games to play. We’re improving every week, particularly defensively and if we continue to get better we’ll hopefully have a good second half to the season.”
The Raptors now have a mini break over the winter period before returning to action on the 4th of January away against Sefton Stars who are also tied for second place with 8 wins.