Video: Ipswich Basketball Club claim league and cup double over Derbyshire Arrows
- Credit: Archant
EBL Division Two Ipswich 71 Derbyshire Arrows 68 Patrons Cup Ipswich 86 Derbyshire Arrows 81 Ipswich moved to the top of the league and into the semi-final of a national cup competition with a pair of impressive wins over title rivals Derbyshire Arrows at the weekend.
Both teams went into the high stakes Copleston clashes unbeaten in the league, and looking to lay down an early marker of strength in what will be a long and competitive season.
And it was Ipswich who emerged from both battles victorious, sending a message to the rest of the league that the road to the title will go through Suffolk in 2014/15.
On Saturday, in a game that head coach Nick Drane made clear was the more important of the two, the Suffolk side used a balanced attack, led by a huge performance from captain Tom Sadler, on the way to a 71-68 victory.
The game had the feel of a heavyweight boxing match with two big hitters taking big swings at each other. And when it comes to big hitters, nobody is bigger or hits harder than Ipswich seven-footer Leigh Greenan.
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Though he had a relatively quiet game scoring-wise (10 points), Greenan exploded for a season-high 21 rebounds in leaving his mark on the game physically.
On the offensive end, youngster Sam Newman once again showed his blossoming game with 16 points to compliment captain Sadler’s team-leading 21 points.
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With a minute to play Ipswich held a slender five-point lead, which the Arrows cut to one with 14 seconds to play.
But Newman wound the clock down before finding Greenan for the big dunk to seal the victory. Derbyshire’s impressive American pro Corey Standerfer scored 29 points in defeat.
Coach Drane praised a rounded team performance that included solid efforts from Aaron Moseley, Josh Johnson and the returning Jacob Lloyd.
He said: “These were the types of games we slipped up in last season – we could have easily thrown that away down the stretch, but we stayed mentally strong and got it done.
“I am particularly pleased because we had a game plan today, we stuck to it and we won.”
Sunday’s game followed a very similar pattern to the previous day with the two teams slugging it out against each other.
Greenan would again be the X-Factor, leading the way with 16 points, but five different players scored in double figures, with reserve Colin Dockrell (15 points) the star with an epic performance off the bench. Sadler, Luke Mascall-Wright and Johnson all added 13 points.
Ipswich again made it harder than it needed to be, up by double figures with time winding down but in Standerfer, Derbyshire have a player as good as any in the division, and the Arrows pushed the home side all the way.
Drane said: “We wanted to win, not just to qualify for the semi-final but to make the statement that yesterday was not a one off. We are proud of our club, our team and what we are doing.
“Top of the league and into the semi-final is all well and good but we want to win things, not just be happy with doing well.
“They are two excellent results, no doubt. But I don’t think we actually played that well this weekend. We have a heck of a lot of work to do if we want to get our hands on some silverware this season.”
- Ipswich Men host Brixton Topcats this Saturday at Copleston, at 4.30pm. Before that, Ipswich Women welcome Anglia Ruskin (2pm.)