Ipswich Basketball 79-84 London Greenhouse Pioneers
NBL Division II
Copleston Sports Centre
An under-strength Ipswich Basketball came up just short despite a dogged effort on Saturday, unable to recover from a poor second quarter against visitors London Greenhouse Pioneers.
Having led by four points at the end of the first period, Ipswich struggled for offensive production in the second, leaving the visitors six points ahead at half-time. Without Ethan Price, Ipswich forward Marvin Isebor saw extended playing time, and it was Isebor who scored three quick baskets early in the third quarter as the hosts made their way back into the game.
Yonathon Napoleon, who dropped a season-high 50 points on Ipswich in the reverse fixture, got going late on in the third having been largely contained in the first half, and his string of three-pointers helped the Pioneers reclaim a narrow advantage by the end of the third quarter.
But Ipswich then lost Isebor to injury early in the final period, leaving coach Adam Robinson’s options even more limited. Ben Winter’s two layups were Ipswich’s only four points of the first eight minutes of the quarter, and the hosts trailed by as many as 15 before Blake Read, Luke Mascall-Wright and Winter all scored to bring the Suffolk side back within four points. That would be as close as Ipswich got, however, and a Timi Tinubu three-pointer sealed the win for the Pioneers.
“It was a tough fourth-quarter performance,” said Robinson. “We played hard and restricted their offense, but we missed one or two shots at crucial moments and couldn’t find a way back into the game.”
Jake Eynon paced Ipswich’s offense throughout, and the guard finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Mascall-Wright had his third straight double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds; Winter finished with 15 points.
Napoleon finished as the game’s leading scorer with 28 points and 18 rebounds.
Ipswich have one game remaining this season, and travel to Greenwich Titans this weekend knowing that a win will seal a playoff place and a road trip to one of Division II North’s top two finishers.
The Under-16 Girls played their last game of the regular season in front of home support on Saturday, sealing a 48-47 win over Luton Basketball Club in unusual fashion.
Having trailed by 12 at the half, Ipswich spent the second half clawing back the deficit.
Trailing 46-47, with possession and 5.5 seconds left to use, Ipswich had one final roll of the dice. Millie Pearson’s two-point shot attempt was unsuccessful, but a foul was called on the play and Pearson calmly converted both free throws with time already expired to seal the win.
Yasmin Edwards and Hannah Gray scored 11 apiece, while Pearson finished with nine.
There were two wins this weekend for the Under-12 Girls. Powered by reliable offense from Ella Heard, Catherine Ramos-Watts and Julien Bacubag, Coach Liz Thurlow’s charges secured dominant victories over Norfolk Iceni (54-20) and Reading Rockets (45-16).
Team scoring was the main highlight of the first game against Norfolk, who never threatened to make the contest close. Ipswich found consistent scoring with every new rotation of players, and no fewer than eight players made it onto the score sheet.
After Reading had beaten Norfolk in the second game, Ipswich then dispatched the Rockets with Heard, Bacubag and Ramos-Watts combining for over 30 of the hosts’ 45 points.
The Under-14 Boys welcomed London Westside in their penultimate home game of the season.
After a first half largely controlled by the visitors, a change of defensive mindset and some management of personal fouls resulted in a much-improved Ipswich defence. The hosts were then able to capitalise on defensive rebounds and score in transition in the second half, with Noah Worley shining. The game ended an 82=57 win for Westside.
“Regardless of the result, this was by far one of our best performances to date,” said Coach Craig Douglass. “Making up for the 45-point defeat from the first meeting really does show how far these boys have come.”
Worley led Ipswich with 17 points, supported by 11 from Kalen Goulbourne.
Elsewhere, there were losses for the Under-16 Girls and Boys, against Brentwood Fire and Oakland Wolves respectively.