Ipswich fall to Thames Valley Cavaliers but take aim at play-offs

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Pic

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

NBL Division Two Ipswich 71 Thames Valley Cavaliers 94 A creditable second-half performance gave Ipswich some positives to take away from their final home game of the 2017-18 regular season, as talented visitors Thames Valley Cavaliers sealed their promotion to NBL Division I on Saturday evening, writes Rob Schatten.

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Pic

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

The Cavaliers, who have lost just three league games this season, broke the game open with a five-minute spurt in the second quarter which turned a seven-point lead into a 24-point advantage.

Martelle McLemore, who finished with a game-high 24 points, scored seven points in the run.

Ipswich had begun the game in strong fashion and shot the ball well early. Cameron Hawes and Colin Dockrell hit three three-pointers in the first three minutes of the game, but the hosts led for the last time at 11-9.

In the second quarter, Thames Valley’s aggressive, fast-paced offence allowed them to force open a gap, while Ipswich stuttered at the other end.


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After the break, John Ellis’ side found some rhythm offensively and also slowed down the visitors, but although Ipswich edged the second half, the result was already decided.

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Pic

Ipswich captain Colin Dockrell fights to make the lay-up inside against Thames Valley Cavaliers. Picture: PAVEL KRICKA - Credit: Archant

Dockrell finished with a team-high 20 points to go with 11 rebounds, the captain leading by example as he has done so often this season. Ryan Wilson added 15 points for Ipswich while Ben Winter finished with 11 points off the bench.

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McLemore was supported by 20 from Cavaliers veteran Phil Perre.

The win confirmed that after missing out by one win last season, the Cavaliers will be playing at the highest tier of NBL basketball next season, and coach Ellis acknowledged the quality of the visitors after the game.

“Obviously, they’re a great team, they’re probably the deepest squad in the division,” said Ellis.

“We battled really well with them in the first quarter but we went quiet for a couple minutes in the second, and you see the impact of a team that good getting the momentum.”

Ipswich travel to Birmingham this weekend knowing a win will guarantee them a playoff place.

“That’s our goal now, and we will certainly be looking to take a scalp in the first round and earn another home game,” promised Ellis.

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