Tom Sadler fires Ipswich to first win of 2017 at Derby Arrows

Captain Tom Sadler led the way for Ipswich at Derby

Captain Tom Sadler led the way for Ipswich at Derby - Credit: Archant

NBL Division Two Derby Arrows 66 Ipswich 75 Ipswich Basketball repelled a second-half comeback to beat hosts Derby Arrows on Saturday, recording their first win of 2017.

Leigh Greenan had a fantastic all-round game

Leigh Greenan had a fantastic all-round game - Credit: Archant

Nick Drane’s men were coming off the back of a tough loss at league leaders Thames Valley Cavaliers last weekend, and showed plenty of intent as they raced to a 42-28 half-time lead.

Ipswich controlled the early tempo as Luke Mascall-Wright scored several times in transition early on.

At the other end, Ipswich’s dominant centre Leigh Greenan blocked five shots in the first quarter alone, and as a result the Arrows began to settle for jump shots more regularly.

In the second quarter, Ipswich kept up the pressure, with reserve big man Colin Dockrell adding a couple of quick scores and young guard Rory Winter moving the ball with confidence.

Having taken a 14-point lead into the break, and despite collectively acknowledging the need to keep up the effort, Ipswich saw their hard work undone by a hot start to the third period by Derby guard Andreas Lycoudis.

The hosts would get it back within one at one stage, but finished the quarter down by three.

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Having done the hard part the Arrows came up against a reinvigorated Ipswich offense in the fourth quarter, and while the game remained close, veterans Dockrell, Tom Sadler and Edson Ferreira all hit big shots in the final minutes to keep the hosts at bay and close out a victory.

Sadler produced an outstanding long-distance shooting display going 5-of-7 from 3-point range, and finished with a game-high 23 points.

Mascall-Wright finished on 16 points, while Greenan put together a faintly ridiculous stat line of 11 points, 19 rebounds, seven blocks and five assists.

Caleb Fuller added eight points and nine assists; Dockrell and Ferreira scored eight apiece.

Although they got big contributions from Lycoudis (18 points) and back-up guard Nat Nembhard (16), it was the regular standouts who struggled for Derby.

Joseph Baugh, who averages 17 points per game, was held to 11 and made just four of his 18 field goal attempts, thanks to a stellar defensive effort all game by Fuller.

Together with Dennis Scott, who was held to eight, and key reserve John Broodie, the three combined to knock down just 10 of 46 shots, such was the consistency and persistence of Ipswich’s defense.

“Today was big,” said coach Drane. “Not only did we get over the hump and actually close out a tight game, but it was against Derby Arrows, a team that has come back and beaten us late in games the last three times played them.

“I think we’re now in a position to push on and make a run at a decent playoff seeding.

“We had great leadership today – everyone was excellent but in particular our veterans stood up and were counted.

“Tom and Colin both had their best games of the season, and Leigh was a beast again!”

Drane will be boosted in the playoff chase by an easier run of games over the next month.

Prior to the Derby victory, Ipswich had played the division’s top four teams five times in six games, but they now look forward to six consecutive games against lower-placed opposition.

“It’s time to take advantage of the schedule we were dealt,” said Drane.

“Our 6-7 record right now is still no reflection of where we are as a team, and hopefully we have an opportunity to put that right in the next month.”

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