Ipswich Basketball Club senior men show their flaws in loss at leaders London Lituanica
- Credit: Archant
EBL Division Two London Lituanica 91 Ipswich 65 With two minutes to play in the third quarter on Sunday, Ipswich trailed league leaders London Lituanica by just three points, with the Lithuanian side in foul trouble and looking the closest they have looked all season to losing their undefeated home record.
Twelve minutes later, they were celebrating a 26-point victory.
This summed the Ipswich season up. They are close to being able to claim to be as good as the two best teams in the division, but are also capable of playing as badly as the teams at the bottom of the league.
On Sunday, in top gear, Ipswich were playing stifling defence, with Sam Newman, Josh Johnson and Tom Sadler doing a phenomenal job on Lituanica’s main three threats.
Luke Mascall-Wright was flying to the basket, Johnson was doing a bit of everything while Sadler and Leigh Greenan were dominant. But the team combined this with poor decision making, unforced errors and missed defensive rotations at crucial moments in the game.
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Lituanica led 20-17 after the first, but mid-way through the second Ipswich took the lead.
With the Lithuanian big men in trouble, they had no answer for seven-footer Greenan (19 points) as Ipswich pounded the ball inside. Captain Tom Sadler was locking down Ausridas Petraitis, the league’s best player, while Newman and Johnson contained the other two danger men for the hosts.
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However, what sets London Lituanica apart from every other team in the Division Two is that literally any player on their squad is capable of stepping up and being the difference in the game.
Out of nowhere, Paulius Adomaitis came off the bench and connected on three consecutive three-pointers to give the home team a nine-point lead going into the interval at 47-38.
In the third, despite Greenan having to leave the game due to an ankle injury, Ipswich kept chipping away at the lead, and with two minutes to play in the period had narrowed it to just three.
Sadler (16 points) had it going for Ipswich, but it was again their defence that was causing the most problems.
However, a sequence of poor decisions and turnovers, led to a pair of three-pointers and a wide open lay up, meant that Lituanica were suddenly up by 10 at the end of the quarter.
Things went from bad to worse as Lituanica opened the quarter with five-point run.
Frustrated coach Nick Drane was then called for a technical foul, after which Lituanica scored four more unanswered points to run the lead to 18.
With five minutes to play in the game, Ipswich had not managed to swing the momentum and Drane opted to rest his tired starters and run his bench. The Lithuanian onslaught continued as they eventually ran out winners 91-65.
Drane said: “Like we already know, when we are on the same page, doing things together, then we are an excellent team. But as soon as we lapse in concentration and go away from what is working then we fall apart.”
He added: “We have a chance to finish third, if we win both games next weekend and if we do that then we haven’t taken any backwards steps from last season.”