Ipswich lose two games to fall from top of league

Josh Johnson drives against Derbyshire Arrows

Josh Johnson drives against Derbyshire Arrows - Credit: Archant

NBL Division Two Loughborough Riders 75 Ipswich 58 Ipswich 98 Derbyshire Arrows 100 Ipswich went into the double-header weekend sitting top of NBL Division Two, knowing that one win from the two games would see them retain their position at the top of the league.

But a disappointing performance away to league favorites Loughborough Riders and a unexpected home loss to Derbyshire Arrows means that the Suffolk side now sit in mid-table after four games, already looking at their chances of winning the division less favorably than they had hoped during pre-season.

On Saturday in Loughborough, the team masterminded their own downfall, struggling to beat Loughborough’s pressure defence, which resulted in a team record 31 turnovers.

Loughborough, who have a roster most Division One teams would be jealous of, were clinical from start to finish behind the dominance of star forward Raheem May-Thompson – who is the early front runner for Division Two National player-of-the year.

For Ipswich, the offence was led by Josh Johnson’s 16 points, to go with 11 rebounds, and Taner Adu’s 15 points.

Loughborough took the win by a slightly flattering 75-58 scoreline.

Ipswich knew that they now needed to get the win against a talented Derbyshire Arrows team on Sunday.

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A win would see the Suffolk side regain top spot in the division but a second loss so early in the season would put a significant dent in the team’s promotion ambitions.

In what could be describe of nothing short of a classic for the neutral spectator, Ipswich came up short in the final 30 seconds after holding a six-point advantage going into the final period.

Behind the play of outstanding American guard Alex Burt, and athletic forward Joseph Baugh, the visitors took home a hard earned and well deserved two-point win.

For Ipswich, who put in a much-improved showing, the highlight was Leigh Greenan who poured in 34 points and 12 rebounds while Johnson added 19 and 11.

But it was not enough, as Derbyshire took the 100-98 win home with them.

Ipswich head coach Nick Drane said: “This was not a good weekend for us.

“I can live with an away loss to Loughborough, I don’t think many teams will beat them, but to lose at home 24 hours later not only hurts, but it will quite possibly cost us.

“We’ve had our battles with Derby Arrows in the past, but I have to say they have done a heck of a job this weekend.

“Credit has to go to their organization and coaching staff for preparing their team to get two massive wins this weekend.

“Despite two losses, we got better this weekend.

“There are positives, we will do a lot of training between now and our next game in a fortnight.”

Ipswich have a rare weekend off before they face Liverpool at Copleston on the November 14, in what is now a must win game.

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