Weakened Ipswich lose on road in Kent
- Credit: Archant
Patrons Cup Kent 70 Ipswich 66 Ipswich nearly pulled off an impressive second half comeback, coming up just short to Kent Crusaders, who were relegated from NBL Division One last season.
Ipswich were without head coach Nick Drane, who was serving the second of a two-game suspension.
The team were also missing their on-court leader Tom Sadler, who continues to nurse injuries sustained in the off season. In addition, key veteran back-up Colin Dockrell was also absent.
Kent started the game the better of the two teams, jumping out to a 10-2 lead before Ipswich brought things back to 10-9.
Throughout the first quarter things were nip and tuck with Kent eventually taking a 24-20 lead into the interval – a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
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In the second, after Ipswich initially closed the gap, Kent extended their lead.
Luke Mascall-Wright was keeping the Suffolk side within touching distance, collecting 14 points in the first half, but the hosts extended their lead to 45-33 at the interval.
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The third quarter saw Ipswich bring things back within six points almost straight away with Leigh Greenan asserting himself, while Eddie Ferreria connected on consecutive three-pointers as the momentum swung Ipswich’s way.
However, Kent extended their lead with a late run. After three Kent led 56-46.
In the fourth Ipswich did all they could to bring the game back. Some excellent defence brought things back within a point with less than two to play, but a key turnover cost the visitors the chance to take the lead.
And when Ferreira picked up his fifth foul, the hosts were able to wrap things up from the free throw line, winning 70-66.
Mascall-Wright led Ipswich with 22 points, while Ferreira added 13.
Greenan had 10 points and 10 rebounds, as did Daniel Calucio.
Ipswich coach on the day, John Ellis, said after the game: “I now understand even more why Nick (Drane) gets so stressed!”
Watching from the stands, Drane added: “We were without myself today, which is my own fault and without Tom’s savvy and leadership we were lacing some chemistry for periods of the game.
“But overall, there are some major positives to take away and we should feel optimistic about the season ahead.
“The Patrons Cup is a great pre-season exercise and I think we will be in great shape when the league season starts in three weeks.”
Ipswich host London Pioneers this Saturday at 5pm at Copleston. A big crowd is expected for the team’s first competitive home game of the season.