Ipswich head coach Nick Drane admits his side aren’t good enough to go up

Sam Newman scored 20 points at Derby

Sam Newman scored 20 points at Derby - Credit: Archant

Ipswich head coach Nick Drane believes the dream of winning promotion this season is over, after an 88-84 defeat at Derbyshire Arrows on Saturday left them with a record of eight wins and six losses.

“We will be in Division Two again next season. I am not being defeatist, I am being a realist. We are not good enough to go up this season,” Drane said.

Ipswich have been dealt several set-backs throughout the season, including the loss of Ryan Wilson before a ball had even been shot in pre-season.

The high-profile American recruit was declared ineligible due to new guidelines from the Home Office. Then the signing of Taner Adu didn’t work out, with the former England international struggling to commit to the team due to work commitments.

Captain Tom Sadler’s groin injury kept him on the sidelines for much of the first half of the season, while star centre Leigh Greenan was never match fit and was ruled out for the season in December, needing knee surgery.

The team have hobbled their way through a season that could have been so different.

However, Drane maintains his stance that they have had more than enough opportunities to push for a top-two finish this season and their poor performances in late-game situations have been on nobody’s shoulders but their own.

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“Of our six league losses, in three of them we have held a lead going into the fourth quarter and have just gone away from what was working,” added Drane.

“We haven’t learned from our mistakes this season and while I take a lot of responsibility for how the team performs, frankly, the players need to be accountable for some of the idiotic mistakes that have been made.”

On Saturday, Ipswich held an eight-point advantage with under two minutes to play but somehow managed to give up 12 points in 90 seconds, and throw away what would have been a vital road win against one of their closest rivals.

“Derbyshire Arrows do a brilliant job of keeping themselves in the game and I have to say the job they have done, clawing back late deficits to gain important wins, has been more than impressive,” Drane said.

“If we had their late game mental toughness we would be 11-3 and talking about winning a championship and that’s in spite of all of our injuries. Instead, we are in the bottom half of the league.”

Ipswich travel to Liverpool on Saturday – a loss there would put the Suffolk side within one defeat of eighth place in the league – however if Ipswich can get an important road win then they can potentially mount a bid to creep up the league table, with a top-four finish and home court advantage in the play-offs a very realistic target.

“The best we can hope for is the top four,” Drane added.

“Which is the grand scheme of things will mean it hasn’t been as bad of a season as we had thought. This is a very tough division with some excellent teams,” conceded Drane.

Ipswich’s 88-84 loss on Saturday was the team’s sixth league loss of the season. The club have since parted ways with guard Josh Johnson, who Drane had nothing but praise for.

“Josh has been our leading guard for the past three seasons, he has had some amazing performances for this club and has helped put us on the map at senior level. It just hasn’t worked this year, that’s all,” he said.

Ipswich were led by a great performance from Tyme Regent-Bascombe who recorded 22 points to go with 11 rebounds, Tom Sadler added 21 and six while Sam Newman added 20 points, including three more three-pointers.

Top Scorers: Tyme Regent-Bascombe 22, Tom Sadler 21 & Sam Newman 20.

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