Ipswich claw Brixton Topcats to continue title challenge
- Credit: Archant
Brixton Topcats 60 Ipswich 77 Ipswich Basketball head coach Nick Drane hailed his players after a banged-up squad travelled to the legendary Brixton Topcats and came home with a vital win.
In front of a hostile crowd, the Suffolk side were missing influential captain Tom Sadler and veteran big man Colin Dockrell while centre Leigh Greenan, guard Sam Newman and youngster Caleb Fuller were all carrying knocks.
With both Loughborough Riders and Nottingham Hoods both losing, Ipswich had the chance to put increased pressure on the early pace setters as the Christmas break edges ever closer.
The first quarter couldn’t have started better for the visitors with Leigh Greenan establishing his usual dominance early, while Josh Johnson, Taner Adu and Sam Newman also got it going.
Ipswich opened up a 9-2 lead, forcing Brixton into an early time out, which led to a 6-2 two run by the hosts.
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However, Ipswich again answered, opening the lead up to 15-9 at the end of the first period.
The second period saw Ipswich further establish their lead.
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Taner Adu again connected from three to get Ipswich going. Tendai Simbai was inserted into the game and the seven footer once again changed the tempo with his exceptional size.
However, Brixton, notorious for their ability to fight in games, scrapped their way back into the game.
Billy Smith went into the line up for Ipswich in the period and added an instant spark with seven points and six rebounds in the quarter but Brixton’s John Stewart also came alive, and took over the hosts’ offence as they came back again.
The score at the half was Brixton 35, Ipswich 38.
The third quarter saw the game somehow become even more scrappy.
Brixton again narrowed the Ipswich lead, who just couldn’t buy a basket, while Brixton had the wind in their sails.
The score was 50-48 at the end of the third.
The fourth was all about Ipswich youngster Fuller.
The 16-year-old, who was a major fitness concern before the game, collected ten points in the period including a three-pointer and a huge ‘and one’ to spark an Ipswich run that led to the game very quickly running away from the hosts.
A Sam Newman three on the buzzer sealed an emphatic fourth quarter as Ipswich closed out a significant 77-60 win.
Head coach Nick Drane said: “This was massive for us.
“With yesterday’s results, a win today was essential. However, with Tom and Colin both out and Caleb also a big doubt I knew this would be a battle. There are no easy games at Brixton Rec. However, we showed real character today and the depth of our squad.
“Billy did a heck of a job off the bench, stepping up when we needed him and Tendai came in and again created a major swing.
“However, down the stretch Caleb sparked the run that sealed the game alongside Sam, Leigh, Taner and Josh.
“Tyme (Regent-Bascombe) was also again great today”
“We’ve got to soldier on for another fortnight and see where we are at Christmas.
“It’s clear anything can happen this season.”
Newman led Ipswich again with 19 points, while Adu added 14 and Fuller 13 respectively.
Ipswich are at home this Saturday against top of the league London Pioneers (6-1). There is a Christmas special offer on for this game, just £1 entry, as the club set their targets on a record attendance.