London Greenhouse Pioneers 70-65 Ipswich Basketball
NBL Division 2
Harris Academy, St John’s Wood, London
A late fourth-quarter rally was enough to lift hosts London Greenhouse Pioneers over Ipswich Basketball in London on Saturday.
Adam Robinson’s short-handed visitors had led from the opening minutes, but ran out of offense down the stretch as two clutch three-pointers by Timi Tinubu turned the tide in favour of the Pioneers.
Ipswich entered the contest with seven players unavailable, but made a tremendous start behind early offense – and two huge dunks – from centre Lee Hodges, and two threes from Joe Thomas, in his first senior start. By the end of the first quarter, Ipswich had seen six players score and led 22-14.
The Suffolk side continued to push the tempo of the game un the second quarter, and created a double-digit advantage when they took a 41-30 lead into the half-time break.
After half-time, however, the Pioneers started to establish themselves at the defensive end. The hosts were able to halve the gap in the third period by holding Ipswich to ten points.
With four minutes to go, Ipswich went ahead 61-53 on a Ben Michaels layup, but Tinubu then struck with his second and third triples of the contest to spark a furious late fightback by the Pioneers, as Ipswich coughed up a couple of turnovers in critical possessions to hand a decisive advantage to their hosts.
Hodges finished with 21 points for Ipswich, with Michaels adding 13. Guard Hani Samad led all scorers as he poured in 26 for the Pioneers.
“The way we ended the fourth quarter was certainly frustrating but I have to praise this team for their commitment to the plan for most of the game,” said head coach Robinson.
“We were making it up on the fly a lot today, with a patchwork roster and rotation, but I’m very proud of the attitude the team showed on court – they were prepared to go to battle for each other and until the last couple of minutes where the lack of familiarity showed, we almost made it work against a tough and disciplined opponent.”
Ipswich are at home this weekend as they welcome another familiar foe, London Westside, to Copleston Sports Centre.