Tough weekend for Ipswich Basketball but they come through it with fine victory over Pioneers

Ipswich's Leigh Greenan in action against Kent. Photo: Pavel Kricka

Ipswich's Leigh Greenan in action against Kent. Photo: Pavel Kricka - Credit: Archant

National League Division II Ipswich Basketball 62 Kent Crusaders 66 London Greenhouse Pioneers 64 Ipswich Basketball 91

The flying Caleb Fuller in action for Ipswich

The flying Caleb Fuller in action for Ipswich - Credit: Archant

A tough double-header weekend began with defeat but ended with a thumping victory for Ipswich Basketball.

Ipswich took apart a veteran London Greenhouse Pioneers team on Sunday in a statement 27-point victory which reinforced the Suffolk club’s claim on fourth place in the league and a home seeding for the first round of the play-offs.

That win followed a narrow defeat in a grind-it-out game on Saturday against high-lying Kent Crusaders.

The scoreline was close throughout with neither side leading by double-digits at any stage. Small details cost Ipswich in the final minutes of the game, with a couple of missed free throws, a shot-clock violation and a couple of big shots by Kent forward Obi Agu enough to make the difference.

Leigh Greenan led Ipswich with 20 points and ten rebounds, while Tom Sadler chalked up 18 points and Luke Mascall-Wright added 16.

On the back of that defeat a determined Ipswich travelled to central London and blew the Pioneers away behind a second-half three-point barrage and some exceptional gritty team defense.

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Greenan again topped the scoring charts with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but with Sadler, Mascall-Wright, Caleb Fuller, Edson Ferreira, Colin Dockrell and Rory Winter combining for 13 three-pointers, Ipswich’s offense was too hot to handle.

In a very even first half, which Ipswich edged 44-42, Greenan’s now customary dominance in the low post caused constant headaches for the Pioneers frontcourt. Pioneers guards Nick Fearon and Josh Johnson scored enough to keep the hosts within reach, the hosts were running out of gas by the middle stages of the third quarter and scored just 22 points in the second half, to Ipswich’s 47.

Nick Drane’s men moved the ball with precision and purpose in creating one open jump shot after another, and after closing the third quarter on an 11-2 run to start the fourth quarter up 70-55, Ipswich did a professional job of closing out the game.

“Sunday’s performance was the response I was looking for after going down by four on Saturday,” said Drane. “I don’t think we’ve shot the ball that well many times this season. It’s unusual for us to go 50% from three-point range.”

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