Video & report: Josh Johnson stars as Ipswich Basketball Club rout Worcester Wolves 117-89
- Credit: Archant
EBL Division Two Ipswich 117 Worcester Wolves 89 Ipswich took advantage of an under-strength Worcester team and moved to two wins out of two in the league at Copleston on Saturday.
The win sets up next weekend’s double header weekend very nicely, where Ipswich will face Derbyshire Arrows on Saturday in the league and then again on Sunday in the Patrons Cup, both at home.
Despite it still being early in the season, both these games are of significant importance for the two sides.
They occupy the top two places in the league, are both undefeated and the winner of Sundays Patrons Cup tie will qualify for the semi-final of the national competition.
Ipswich are hoping that a big crowd will help towards home court advantage that will see the team continue their excellent to start to the season.
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On Saturday, Worcester arrived with a far weaker team than expected. The usual suspects that have made this such an intriguing rivalry between the two teams over the years, were not present for the Midlands side.
Ipswich, the team were still missing new recruit Jacob Lloyd, nursing a nasty sprained ankle that may or may not be recovered by next week’s double header.
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Other than Lloyd’s absence, Ipswich were at full strength and judging from the game’s opening plays it looked as if Worcester would just not be able to match Ipswich’s, size, skill level or depth on the bench.
Despite this, the away team went about their business in a professional manner, showing little sign of being intimidated by either their stronger opponents or the big Ipswich crowd looking on.
A barrage of three pointers allowed the away side some hope going in at the end of the first quarter, with the score 24-23 to the Suffolk side after one.
In the second quarter, Ipswich effectively put the game to bed. Nick Sims connected on three consecutive three-pointers to open the game up while Josh Johnson and Leigh Greenan were their usual dominant selves.
By the time the half time buzzer had sounded Ipswich held a 57-40 lead.
In the third Worcester enjoyed a mini run that brought the game back within eleven at one stage but again Ipswich were able to get more out of their bench than their rivals.
Sam Newman came alive with a pair of threes as well as some great rebounding and passing and new recruit Billy Smith also got in on the scoring act.
At the end of the third the score stood at 77-62 to Ipswich.
The fourth saw Josh Johnson put on a show. The guard, who has been scoring less than last season so far this year, erupted both in terms of making baskets but also rebounding the ball and getting his teammates involved.
Sam Newman again showed his excellent shooting range, connecting on another three while Leigh Greenan threw down a pair of thunderous dunks as Ipswich strolled to a big win.
Ipswich were led by a phenomenal performance from Johnson who scored a team season high 34 points to go with 17 rebounds and five assists, while Leigh Greenan quietly collected another impressive stat line with 22 points and 17 boards.
Elsewhere Sam Newman had his best showing at senior level with 14 points, eight boards and seven assists while Luke Mascall-Wright picked up a almost silent double-double with 10 points and 12 assists.
Head coach Nick Drane said: “It’s nice to get easy wins early in the season, especially as it’s not like we haven’t had any tough games yet.
“Next weekend is huge for us, although we are not really thinking about Sunday. Derby Arrows have clearly invested into their team with the intention of winning the league, and they beat us at their place, albeit in the Patrons Cup.
“We will be working very hard this week to be well prepared for Saturday.”
- The club are running a Halloween themed day next Saturday. Spectators are invited to dress up and there will be various spooky themes, music and activities going on throughout the day.
Ipswich also play Arrows on Sunday at 12 noon in the Patrons Cup with a place in the semi-final at stake.