Ipswich Men made the trip into London to take on Baltic Stars in the opening game of their National League Division 2 season.
Both teams started strongly with well executed offences and the lead changing hands on several occasions. A strong Baltic Stars team capitalised on moments of a lack of defensive focus early on by the visitors, but Ipswich showed more intensity as the game progressed.
Lead by captain Will Ashby’s 22 points (including 6 from 7 free throws down the stretch), 10 rebounds and 8 assists - Ipswich rallied as the game became more physical and Harry Gent, Rio Murray and Ben Stewart won the inside game and the battle of the boards in the second half.
Aaron Williams gave his all as he was given the tough assignment of taking care of Baltic’s talented point guard in a change of defensive tactics. There were also strong contributions from the bench, in particular both Blake Read and Tyrese Perry-Huggins providing bursts of high energy when they entered the game.
A huge three pointer from Luke Mascall-Wright relieved some of the pressure in the back end of the fourth quarter. Ipswich then kept their composure as Baltic continued with their aggressive pressing game sending them to the foul line multiple times and the blues finally came away with the win - 100 – 89
Coach Mark Lloyd commented after the game:
“It’s always a tough challenge when you come to play in London and Baltic Stars typically showed their aggressive style of defence and displayed some outstanding perimeter shooting. Our guys are developing into a great group who are fighting hard for each other and that is the culture that kept them together to see out the win. We are sharing the ball better and we were really pleased with the points spread – everyone scoring and five players in double figures”
The men return to HQ on Saturday with a home game against London Greenhouse Pioneers at 6pm and then play again at home on Sunday for the second round of the Cup against West Suffolk Wolves.
Top scorers: - Will Ashby 22 - Benjamin Stewart 15 - Rio Murray 15 - Harry Gent 14 - Luke Mascall-Wright 13