Mixed weekend as Ipswich Basketball Club lose to Worcester but beat Eastside
- Credit: Archant
EBL Division Two Worcester 95 Ipswich 88 Ipswich 88 Eastside 60 If ever there was a weekend that summed up Ipswich Basketball Club’s rollercoaster season it was this.
A daft loss away to Worcester in a game that the team seemingly had control of for the majority of the 40 minutes, and then an emphatic response against Eastside Eagles that demonstrated that on their day, there is strong evidence to suggest that Ipswich could be considered the best team in National League Division Two.
“I swear the guys are just trying to make things more exciting,” said head coach Nick Drane, who admits to having to change his philosophy in the closing weeks of the season, with limitations on practice time, and the logistics of having players travelling from far and wide finally starting to take its toll on the team.
“What we have achieved this season has been a miracle, there are people out there that have looked at our roster and asked why we have lost a couple of games against teams lower down the league.
“The answer is simple – we have had three training sessions since October with a full squad at practice.
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“No matter how good players are, if they aren’t on the practice floor together then you probably half your chances of being a successful team.
“To have made a National Cup Final, still be in the hunt for home court advantage in the play-offs with an outside shot at a third place finish is something to be very proud of.”
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Ipswich travelled to Worcester on Saturday looking to put things right after their disappointing showing in the Patrons Cup Final, and for the most part the team looked like coming away with a solid road win.
But a lapse in concentration with five minutes to play saw Worcester suddenly open up a double-figure lead, which Ipswich couldn’t fight back from, despite their best efforts.
Drane said after the game: “There is no crisis here, we don’t need to over analyse, we are just lacking in rhythm and maybe need to find some confidence in tight situations.”
Despite the loss, Drane was delighted with the performances of Leigh Greenan, who had a season-high 34 points to go with 15 rebounds and Dylan Costelloe, who scored an impressive 11 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
On Sunday the team got back to winning ways with perhaps their most comprehensive performance of the season, finally getting into top gear and sending a strong message to the rest of the league with the play-offs just a month away.
Eastside Eagles were hoping to beat Ipswich for the second time this season but didn’t stand a chance from the start with Greenan again in an unstoppable mood.
Also, the sudden emergence of Irish academy player Dylan Costelloe looks to have inspired the team, giving them a much-needed new lease of life with so much still to play for.
Ipswich held Eastside to just 60 points, with Greenan dominant at both ends of the floor, with Costelloe and Josh Johnson as well as young Sam Newman running the show.
Tom Sadler was his usual brilliant all-round self and Luke Mascall-Wright was back to his best with several high-flying dunks. The loyal home crowd were treated to a spectacular team performance, which Drane says the team owed them.
Ipswich play another double-header this weekend when they face bottom-of-the-table Mansfield on Saturday and London United on Sunday, who are in the race for the eighth and final play-off position.
Ipswich need to win three of their last four games to secure that all important home court draw in the play-offs.
The Mansfield game tips off at 4.30pm at Copleston Sports Centre