It was a successful day for Ipswich Basketball Club on Sunday as both the u16 and u18 girls teams enjoyed comprehensive victories to see them advance to the National Cup Finals in Manchester on Saturday the 21st January.
Up first were the u16 girls who hosted Richmond Knights, a team they had narrowly beaten at Copleston earlier in the season by single digits, so a tight affair was expected – with two of the top clubs in the country going head to head. With the teams locked in a back-and-forth affair for much of the first half, Ipswich held a slender six point advantage going into the half time break. However, a 12-0 run to start the third period was enough to open the game up for Ipswich, who would then steadily build on that lead for the remainder of the period, winning the quarter 27-8, giving them a slightly unexpected 62-37 lead going into the final stanza.
The fourth quarter was Ipswich trying to protect their lead without taking too many risks – and while Richmond battled valiantly, winning the period, the mountain was too big to climb for the visitors who put any significant dent in a very impressive Ipswich lead.
Ipswich would eventually take a comprehensive 76-55 win, setting up a dream final at the National Basketball Performance Centre in Manchester against….. You guessed it… Manchester.
Cerys Leach led the way with a huge 35 point haul to lead her team to the final, however it was a total team effort.
With the packed out Copleston Centre in good voice after such a thrilling win for the u16’s, it was the turn of the u18 women to take centre stage, and they did not disappoint, also recording a huge win to seal their own ticket to the prestigious final (their third u18 National Cup Final in a row). Solent Kestrels, like Richmond, fought hard, but Ipswich were in ruthless form, winning all four quarters comfortably to record a 94-44 win, with all twelve players getting to enjoy the occasion. Ipswich now face the mighty City of London Academy in the final, a repeat of last years final where CoLA won in impressive fashion.
Ipswich were led by 23 points and eight rebounds from Louisa Gibbins, who was helped by double-doubles from Yazmin Edwards and Christabel Osarobo.
Ipswich and CoLA are two of the dominant forces in the girls and women’s national league. The two programmes have literally both won everything there is to win in recent years.
The National Cup Finals will take place on Saturday the 21st January 2023 in Manchester.