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Alumni Recap - Conference Championships for IBC family

As the season draws to a close, let’s look back at some of our Ipswich Basketball alumni and how they’re getting on! Many of our former players have had incredibly successful seasons in 2023-24, with several in contention for playoff glory.


Junior Ethan Price has had another strong season, clinching another individual honour (All Big Sky 2nd Team) as well as helping his Eastern Washington Eagles to a second consecutive Big Sky Conference Championship. Completing his third season in the red, white and black, Ethan has now played in and started 100 games during his EWU career, also scoring his 1,000th career point against Northern Colorado. His stats have remained consistent, with Ethan bumping up his scoring to 12.2 points per game, adding four rebounds and 2.2 assists. Perhaps most impressive, though, is how efficient Ethan has been as a shooter - increasing his three point attempts to over 3 a game and hitting them at a 37.4% clip and shooting over 52% overall. Unfortunately for Ethan and his Eagles, the season would ultimately end in disappointment, losing in the second round of the Big Sky Tournament after such a strong regular season.



Sophomore Susannah Rafiu has seen a dramatic uptick in minutes in her second season in New York City. Averaging 14.3 minutes per game (up from 5.4 as a freshman) and grabbing 11 starting spots, Susie has played in 26 games, averaging 4.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Over the last third of the season, Susie saw some big minute efforts, such as 30 minutes at Yale (11 points, 7 rebounds) and 26 minutes at Harvard (12 points and 7 rebounds). Most significantly, Susie’s Columbia Lions also clinched a second consecutive Ivy League title, adding to an already significant honours list for the talented Forward. Columbia begin their quest for the Ivy League Tournament & League double on March 15th.



In Gonzaga, Junior Esther Little has has another strong season, averaging just over 14 minutes a game for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, including a season high 8 rebounds (3 offensive) against Portland at the end of February. Gonzaga had a superb season, finishing 30-3 and 16-0 in WCC play, ensuring that Esther joins Ethan and Susie as Conference Championship Winners for the 2023-24 season. Unfortunately, Esther’s Gonzaga side lost in the WCC Tournament Final by just one point, 67-66, with Esther playing 18 minutes off the bench. Gonzaga will now wait to learn their fate on Selection Sunday, hoping for a place in the NCAA Tournament.


Freshman Anya McKenzie found playing time hard to come by in her first year at Tarleton State, but did see action in four games. Most notably, 15 minutes on the 9th March against Seattle University saw Anya score her first NCAA points as well as grabbing four rebounds and blocking three shots. No doubt the Tarleton crowd will see more of that next season!


In NCAA D2, Ella Pearson has played a significant role for Newberry College, averaging 16 minutes per game and shooting a career best 48.9% from the field. Ella overcame a slow shooting start to be a key contributor to the Wolves season, registering over 20 minutes in each of the final six games. Newberry finished the season 8-20 (6-14 in conference).


Millie Pearson has been part of a very successful season for Eastern Arizona College. With an overall record of 27-4 (20-3 conference), Millie has seen action in 23 games, averaging 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, with a highest points total of 8 on December 30th against Bismarck State College. Millie will be joined at EAC by Yazmin Edwards this summer, with Yaz joining a side that has won back to back ACCAC Conference Championships. (Yes, that is another member of the IBA family to win a conference championship this season! 4 players, if you’re keeping count…!) 


Next year, we will have even more students to keep an eye on, with Olivia Forster, Yazmin Edwards and Christabel Osarobo all committing to NCAA schools.

Hoping to join them in college basketball are two former Ipswich Basketball Academy players, Ben Michaels and Tyreese Perry-Huggins, who have spent the last 12 months in the high school basketball system.


Ben Michaels of Long Island Lutheran has had an exceptional senior season in a talented squad, alongside highly rated Baylor commit VJ Edgecombe. Ben has held down a consistent starting role, averaging roughly 20 minutes per game, 5.75 points and 2.42 rebounds per game in the EYBL. Significantly, Ben also shot 58% from the field, 50% from 3 and 80% from the free throw line. Recently, Ben celebrated his Senior Night, being joined by his family in New York, pictured below. LuHi ended the season with a 21-4 overall record, 10-2 in the EYBL Scholastic competition, worth 2nd place. They also achieved 10 wins v the ESPN top 25, ranked #1 in New York and between #2-5 in the ESPN Top 25 all season. They are hoping for an invite to the Chipotle Nationals in early April. As you can see, an incredible achievement from Ben and his squad, and an amazing opportunity for the former Ipswich junior product.



Down in Florida, Tyreese Perry-Huggins has also had a strong end to the season for the Stars Athletes Academy. They won the PHSBA Regular Season title, division championship and Florida Sun Basketball Conference state championship. On a personal note, Tyreese was awarded 2nd team All-Central Division, capping off an excellent season for the 6’8” forward who spent two years with us at Ipswich Basketball Academy before heading to prep school for his final year.




Fingers crossed for some more big news coming from these two in the coming weeks and months!


In France, Josh Apple signed for Brest Metropole Basket this season, in the Nationale 2 division. Unfortunately, the Brest side has had a tough season, sitting near the foot of the table with a 5-10 record.


Back home in England, Cameron Taylor-Willis bounced back from an extended period of absence through injury to see action in 14 games for the Essex Rebels in the WBBL, averaging 14 minutes per game and getting 3.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. The Rebels stand at 9-5 in WBBL action, good for 5th in the standings.


Joining Cam in the WBBL this season was Maya Price, whose senior season for Eckerd College was cut short by injury in 2023. Maya landed on her feet in joining the London Lions on a professional contract, where she has played her part in a historic season, leading the WBBL with a 12-0 record and becoming the first British team to reach a EuroCup final, which will be played on the 3rd and 10th of April. Since making her WBBL debut in February, Maya has seen the court in 5 WBBL games, with an 8 point 11 rebound effort against the Cardiff Met Archers being the season highlight.


Read more about their Eurocup success here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/basketball/68550859 


In the National Basketball League, brothers Ben and Rory Winter have enjoyed a successful season with the Essex Rebels, with Essex sitting at a 16-3 record as we enter the close of the season. Just one game out of top spot, with a game in hand, Essex will be hoping to secure the League title in the coming weeks. 


Another team with two former Ipswich players is the Hemel Storm who have Veron Eze and Sam Newman. While their Hemel side has been unable to repeat the historic unbeaten season they had in 2022-23, they are at 15-4 a contender for the playoffs. Eze went viral recently for a last second buzzer beater, with the assist coming from Sam. We’ll probably claim an assist in there as well, given Sam and Veron both came through the junior programme with us in Ipswich!



Essex and Hemel have five games remaining and the two matchups between the two (24th and 30th March) will go a long way to deciding who clinches the title. League leading Derby Trailblazers will be hoping that somehow they both lose, though do arguably possess a more favourable late season run in.


Jake Enyon has also had a solid year for Worthing Thunder, sitting at 6-13 in the NBL Division One, having transferred from London Elite early in the season. Between both sides, Jake has averaged roughly 22 and a half minutes per game, averaging 7.9 points per game. Moyo Adekeye’s Nottingham Hoods are 7-12. Moyo has only featured sparingly for the Hoods, the headline being 20 points against Barking Abbey back in October.


Last, but by no means least, In the WNBL Division One, Saruna Gudza has featured heavily for the title chasing Brent Bulls, who have been one of the primary teams challenging our Ipswich Women for the WNBL D1 championship. The former Academy guard’s Bulls hold a 14-6 record entering the final few fixtures. While the league title is now beyond them, they will be seeking positive momentum in the lead up to the Playoffs.

 

 We'll be back once the seasons are over to see how some of our playoff hopefuls got on! 

 


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