Ipswich Basketball head coach Nick Drane calls for players to step up after record losing streak

Josh Johnson in action against the Nottingham Hoods

Josh Johnson in action against the Nottingham Hoods - Credit: Archant

Patrons Cup Ipswich 61 Nottingham Hoods 79 National Cup Ipswich 70 Hemel Storm 96 Ipswich Basketball Club head coach Nick Drane has called on his players to step up and prove they are winners after his side stumbled to back-to-back defeats at the weekend.

Ipswich captain Tom Sadler shoots against the Nottingham Hoods

Ipswich captain Tom Sadler shoots against the Nottingham Hoods - Credit: Archant

Coupled with the previous weekend’s loss at Loughborough, Drane’s charges are now riding a three-game losing streak – the longest since the senior men’s team was formed in 2011.

On Saturday, Ipswich were humbled at home in the Patrons Cup, losing heavily to Nottingham – a side they had beaten by 17 points just three weeks earlier.

And things got worse on Sunday, as the Suffolk side were well beaten by the Hemel Storm – a club which play their basketball a league above Ipswich in National Division One – in the National Cup.

Drane is trying to take the positives from the defeats though, before Ipswich start their league campaign in Worcester on October 17.

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He said: “You learn way more about yourself and your players when you lose than when you win.

“In the past, we have made excellent starts to the season, everyone is walking around patting each other on the back, telling each other how great they are and then at some point, in every season you hit a low and you learn about people’s characters – we are getting that out of the way now, this team has already been through some serious lows and that will make us stronger for the regular season.

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“Last season, when the going got tough I learnt who was in it for the team and the club and who was in it for themselves.

“Winning solves everything, when you are winning, nobody complains.

“When you lose, you see who is in it for the long haul, who the quitters are and who wants to take responsibility and help the team reach their goals. The Patrons Cup is essentially a pre-season cup competition, I am not just saying that because we are out, I’ve been saying it all along, so from that perspective it’s been a great way to figure some things out.

“The National Cup was a chance to measure ourselves against some teams from the league above – we did that, and we now know we are not there yet.

“It’s also not a bad thing that with no cup competitions left to play in, we have just the 22 league games to get it done. that’s less travel, less wear and tear on people’s bodies and less time away from our families.

“We have one focus, one goal and I believe we are in a good place to build towards that.”

On Saturday, Nottingham led from start to finish, with Ipswich looking lifeless and out of sync.

Every push Ipswich made in the game was met by a bigger push from their hungrier opposition.

The only bright sport for the faithful Copleston crowd was debuts being handed to academy players Cameron Hawes and Jonny Hall.

Taner Adu and captain Tom Sadler led Ipswich with 11 points, while Sam Newman added seven in the losing effort.

A day later, Ipswich put up more of a fight against the Storm, a team from the league above them.

The Suffolk squad kept pace with their foes, and actually had Hemel rattled in the second period.

The Blues took advantage of their physical size and pounded the ball inside, getting Hemel’s big players in foul trouble and allowing themselves to control the tempo.

They also got a major spark from 16-year-old Caleb Fuller.

The England international connected on two three-pointers to help the team swing the momentum.

But Hemel, who led by just four points at the break, showed the consistency which makes them title contenders in Division One this season, and pulled away in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 20 points within four minutes of the restart.

To their credit, Ipswich didn’t cave and traded baskets for the rest of the game. Josh Johnson and Sadler led Ipswich with 15 points each and Leigh Greenan added nine.

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