Team Solent Kestrels 77-85 Ipswich Basketball
NBL Division II
Solent University, Southampton
An outstanding fourth quarter defensive effort proved the decisive factor as Ipswich Basketball opened 2020 with a road victory at Team Solent Kestrels on Saturday.
Ethan Price and Marvin Isebor anchored a five-minute spell in which Ipswich kept their hosts to just five points, building a double-digit lead for the first time in the game and providing the platform for Ipswich to see out a win which had been far from assured in the first three quarters.
Solent started brightly, with Jordan Walker and Ebuka Ekwegh leading the scoring in the first quarter as the Kestrels built a two-point lead after one quarter.
The hosts held on to this lead through the second quarter, building a six-point gap near the break, but two steals from Ben Winter inside the last 15 seconds of the half allowed Ipswich to pull level on Ethan Price’s buzzer-beating jump shot.
Theodore King had 12 of his team-high 24 points in the third quarter as Solent once again edged ahead, leading by as many as five points in the period, but Jake Eynon and Luke Mascall-Wright combined to hit three three-pointers in the final two minutes of the frame to give Ipswich a one-point edge heading into the fourth.
With Price, Eynon, Mascall-Wright, Isebor and Blake Read on the floor, Ipswich then held Solent to five points in seven minutes to start the fourth quarter while capitalising on fast-break opportunities of their own. Price registered two highlight-reel plays with alley-oop dunks from Eynon and Mascall-Wright as the visitors built a 14-point advantage.
Ekwegh, King and Ashley Briggs hit three-pointers to re-ignite Solent’s offense, but it was too little, too late, and Ipswich were able to see out a comfortable victory.
Eynon led all scorers with an efficient 29 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Price finished with an eye-catching 24 points and 13 rebounds. Mascall-Wright chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds.
“It’s important to start the New Year with a win, even if we made hard work of it in the first half,” said Coach Adam Robinson. “This gives us great momentum for the run of home fixtures to come.”