Ipswich Basketball 78-59 Richmond Knights
NBL Division 2
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball’s Senior Men rounded out their three-game homestand with a comfortable win as a dominant second-half performance saw them past visitors Richmond Knights.
Taking a three-point lead into the second half after a finely-balanced first twenty minutes, Ipswich restricted Richmond to ten points in the third quarter while key baskets from Will Ashby and Jake Eynon helped the hosts build a 14-point lead at 59-45.
There were several positives for Ipswich to take away from this performance as they moved to 3-2 on the young Division 2 season. The offense was improved from the previous weekend’s defeat against Baltic Stars, with five different players connecting from beyond the three-point line, and the Copleston crowd also got their first glimpse in 18 months of Luke Mascall-Wright in an Ipswich uniform, as the dynamic swingman continues to work his way back from injury.
Eynon led a balanced offense with 22 points while Ashby finished with 16 having got hot from beyond the arc in the second half. Mascall-Wright blew some of the dust off with 11 points and eight rebounds, while Joel Keeble made three triples and Lee Hodges added 16 rebounds.
Richmond struggled throughout to score consistently but kept themselves in the game with outstanding aggression on the offensive glass, leading to an eye-catching 28 offensive rebounds. Denis Mesic euro-stepped his way to 22 points but only he and Knights centre Liam Adams (11 points) made it to double-figures.
“We know that we are still under-strength and unfortunately the reality is that that’s going to be the case at least until after Christmas,” said head coach Adam Robinson. “However, it was great to see Luke make his first appearance of the season and hopefully we can continue to get him healthier over the next few weeks.
“We stepped it up in the second half and had a bit too much for them when we really keyed in defensively, and Will and Colin [Dockrell] hit some massive shots when they looked like getting some momentum back. A much-improved performance after last week.”
Robinson’s men will take to the road this weekend in the first-half of a double-header as they travel to Solent Kestrels (2-3), before hosting Cardiff Met Archers (2-3) in a 3pm tip-off at Copleston on Sunday.
Ipswich had their busiest weekend of the season so far for the junior programme, and emerged with an encouraging set of results across the board.
The Under-16 Girls returned to league action at Copleston, looking to build on their impressive, breakout performance in the National Cup from the previous weekend, and delivered a convincing 104-37 victory over Cambridge Cats.
Ipswich grabbed control of this tie from the outset and on the back of some fast, running basketball, managed to build a useful 28-point lead by the first break. The pattern of the game had been set and the home side played out a convincing win, with useful scoring contributions coming from throughout the team.
Cerys Leach led all scorers with 31 points. Maia Wiseman finished with 19 and Emma Quinton added a further 15.
There was also victory for the Under-18 Men, who ground out a gritty 80-76 win at London Lions. Although a smaller London side had out-worked Jack Goodrich’s charges in the early going, Ipswich produced a much better and more disciplined display after half-time.
Ben Michaels led scorers with 30 (14 in the fourth), supported by 21 from Joe Pulic and Vuyo Bango's 14 off the bench, nine of which kept Ipswich alive in a sloppy first quarter. Ipswich, though out of the National Cup, have a 2-0 start in the League.
Also putting wins on the board were John Yorke’s Under-13s, who registered their first two wins of the season in the Oaklands central-venue league by beating West Herts Warriors 56-33 and hosts Oaklands Wolves 36-34.
Ipswich's Under-18 Girls faded late on to fall to defeat at home to Reading Rockets.
Having survived a turnover-ridden first half to go in tied 40-40 at the break, Ipswich stayed locked in a deadlock with the visitors until around the four-minute mark of the final quarter, when a couple of defensive breakdowns combined with empty offensive possessions gifted the Rockets a ten-point advantage.
Ipswich attempted to stage a late fight-back but weren't able to convert on three-point opportunities as time ran out.
Makenna Williams top-scored for Ipswich with 20 points, while Abbie Yorke finished with 18 and Yazz Edwards contributed 13.
Elsewhere, there was defeat for the Under-16 Boys, who fell to an 80-62 defeat at home to title contenders Lewisham Thunder despite 16 points from Harry Laws and 14 from Sam Wood.