U14 Girls National League Quarter-Finals
Ipswich Basketball 93 - 50 South Essex Swifts
This weekend saw the final home fixture of Ipswich Basketball’s season. The U14 Girls were in action in the Quarter-final of the National League tournament and following on from a clean sweep of the East Midlands Conference and after advancing through the previous two Play-Off rounds, confidence was high at the Copleston Centre on Saturday morning.
The regular season success of the Ipswich side had positioned them as the second seed in the competition and there reward was the visit of the Swifts side that had emerged as runners-up in the extremely competitive South-East Conference and who had been ranked seventh overall.
A packed out Sports Hall witnessed a dream start from the Ipswich side that hit the ground running and raced out to a 12 point lead after only 3 minutes. The visitors managed only a single basket response before Ipswich went on another unanswered run, at the mid-quarter changeover the score was 20:2. The Swifts side pushed back straight from the restart with a scoring run of their own and quickly closed the gap to only 10 points. Ipswich struggled to deal with the resurgent Swifts but managed two vital scores towards the end of the quarter, that halted the visitors’ recovery and left the score at the first break 24:14 in favour of Ipswich.
The 2nd Quarter followed an almost identical pattern to the previous period. Ipswich dominated the floor and pushed the scoreboard on by 13 points before the visitors registered a score and then mounted a small recovery. At the halfway point Ipswich were sitting on a useful 23 point lead, 49:23.
The 3rd Quarter would prove to be decisive in the game. The Ipswich starters further demonstrated their dominance by limiting the visitors to only 8 points in the quarter whilst pouring in 29 points of their own. With the lead at 44 going into the final period the game was starting to look safe, a celebratory atmosphere began to envelope Headquarters.
Photo: Pavel Kricka
The 4th period played out quietly, finishing 15:16 in favour of the visitors and an Ipswich victory was secured. A fantastic victory, and one that was characterised by some tough defence and an ability to push the tempo and score from the open court, aspects of play that have been the team’s signature for much of the season.
The win was on the back of valuable contributions from throughout the roster, but displays of phenomenal pace and finishing from Edwards and the shooting of Manning and Hawes underpinned this great performance.
The prize for this victory was to be a trip to the Basketball National Performance Centre in Manchester for the ‘Final Four’ stage of the competition, where the Girls will play on Saturday 4th May against London Youngblood Lioness Cubs.
Yasmin Edwards 27
Olivia Manning 21
Ella Hawes 16