Ipswich well-beaten in final clash before Christmas break
NBL Division Two
London Greenhouse Pioneers 95
Kyle Diaz hit eight three-pointers and London Pioneers made every tough shot they needed as they overcame Ipswich Basketball at Copleston on Saturday.
In the final round of Division Two action before Christmas, John Ellis’ Ipswich side started strongly by building an eight-point lead early, but Diaz – one of the leading scorers in the league, started to find his rhythm by the end of the quarter as the Pioneers took a slender lead.
Diaz did most of his damage in the second, scoring 12 of his game-high 26 points as the visitors pushed their lead to as many as 12 before Eivydas Aleksa keyed a late-quarter comeback from Ipswich.
A Diaz three at the buzzer, over three outstretched Ipswich hands, took the Pioneers into half-time with an eight-point lead.
Ellis asked for a run from his side to restore parity, but it was Predrag Krneta’s London side who started the faster in the third, quickly pushing their lead back to double digits.
Ipswich’s offensive struggles in the second half prohibited them from making a serious game of it in the fourth quarter. Diaz was limited by Cameron Hawes’ excellent defensive pressure in the second half, scoring just three times, but Theo Deleligne and Mariano Lussenhoff kept the Pioneers’ lead comfortable.
Aleksa finished with 18 points for Ipswich. Ethan Price contributed 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Marvin Isebor came off the bench to add 12 points.
“We actually feel like we have played reasonably well today, in some aspects of the game,” reflected coach Ellis after the game.
“They hit tough shots at key moments which killed our momentum, particularly the buzzer beater at the half.
“But we also paid for some inconsistent offense. We missed some free throws, had some issues finishing at the basket – errors we haven’t been making recently.
“One positive was seeing Ben Winter back on the court for us, his first league appearance this season. We are getting closer to full fitness, which will make a significant difference for our campaign.”
Ipswich head into Christmas with a 3-6 record in the league, leaving them in a share of the final play-off place.