Team effort sees Ipswich Basketball Club go top of the table with win at London Pioneers

Ipswich's Colin Dockrell celebrates their victory at the London Pioneers

Ipswich's Colin Dockrell celebrates their victory at the London Pioneers - Credit: Archant

EBL Division Two London Pioneers 73 Ipswich 77 Ipswich travelled into London to battle a team with an impressive 4-1 record in the knowledge that a loss would give unbeaten duo Lancashire Spinners and London Lituanica a serious advantage in the league standings as the mid-season break approaches.

But a hard-fought victory in the capital, plus a Lancashire loss, saw the Suffolk side return home top of the table.

The game started perfectly for Ipswich who opened up a 5-0 advantage which was extended to 11-5 in the early going behind strong play from Aaron Moseley and Josh Johnson.

In fact, Ipswich led for the entire game, from start to finish, which is rare at this level.

No one Ipswich player stole the show, it was very much a team effort, especially at the defensive end that allowed the team to come away with a precious four point with.

The same could not be said for the hosts, who relied heavily on the precocious talents of England and GB International guard Tyrell Isaacs who single handedly kept the Pioneers in the game on multiple occasions.

At the end of the first quarter Ipswich held a 23-17 lead, which was extended to 41-34 at the half.

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Going into the third quarter head coach Nick Drane warned his team to expect a run, and Pioneers did just that, reducing the lead to just three points – but Ipswich didn’t let that phase them.

Big plays from Sam Newman, who led the team with 14 points, Tom Sadler and Luke Mascall-Wright (12 points), as well as strong defensive play, saw the team weather the storm and take a 62-57 lead into the final period.

There Pioneers again made a run behind the play of Isaacs this time getting the score within one, but big plays again from the Suffolk team, including a massive three-point shot from Colin Dockrell, again extended the lead to eight in the final minutes.

Pioneers closed the gap in the final seconds but the concentration and execution from Ipswich was enough to secure a crucial win, 77-73.

Drane said: “That’s our best performance of the season. At home we get the hype, the music, the big loud crowd and it makes getting focused and up for things pretty easy.

“On the road it’s just the players and the staff, in it together and while at times it can seem like us against the world, today we showed just how together we are.

“When you look at other teams you see they have one or two guys that do the majority of the damage - today we saw that again for Pioneers with Tyrell having to score 25 to keep them in the game.

“We pride ourselves on the way we share the ball and have multiple guys that can hurt teams. Last week it was Tom and Leigh Greenan top scoring, this week it’s Sam and Luke. That’s what makes me pleased as a coach.”

Ipswich were boosted by the news that Lancashire lost their first game of their season, going down by five away at Loughborough, meaning that the Suffolk side are now top of the league with three games to play before Christmas.

The team are away again next Saturday to Birmingham Mets as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table.

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