Ipswich Basketball 89-76 Erkenwald Basketball Club
Copleston Sports Centre
Ipswich Basketball got their pre-season underway with a win yesterday in a tough match-up against Erkenwald Basketball Club of the Essex League, a squad essentially resembling last year’s Eastside Eagles from Division II.
Six Ipswich players finished with double-digit points tallies, and the game served as a useful return from injury layoffs for Caleb Fuller and Leigh Greenan – who has not played since January while dealing with injury issues.
Back-up forward Joshua Apple, fresh off the back of his international experience this summer, impressed from the bench, leading the team with 15 points in just 20 minutes of action. Tom Sadler and Luke Mascall-Wright followed him with 13 apiece, while Rory Winter and Daniel Caliuco each added 11 and Greenan 10.
“This was exactly what you want out of a pre-season game” – Nick Drane
Head Coach Nick Drane played around with line-ups and different groups throughout the game, but was hugely impressed with the way his team closed out in the fourth quarter.
Erks, anchored by Craig Pringle and Laurie Lewis and benefitting from the sweet shooting of Dominic Gray, were right in the game for the first 30 minutes, leading by as many as 10 in the third quarter having trailed by 3 at the half.
But a 30-point fourth quarter for the hosts left the Essex side with no way back, and in the end Ipswich cruised over the last couple of minutes to an 89-76 victory.
“This was exactly what you want out of a pre-season game,” said head coach Nick Drane after the game. “They’re a really experienced group who have played together for ages, and were always going to be a tricky prospect for us, so our bench had to really step up and prove its worth today – which it did.
“We got scoring contributions from all over the place, Eddie Ferreira (13 assists) did an incredible job of getting guys open and our team rebounding was pretty solid too.”
Ahead of tomorrow night’s marquee match-up with the USA Select team, Drane rotated consistently, and only Mascall-Wright and Ferreira played over 25 minutes.
“The plan was always to try to rotate guys as much as possible,” he added. “Josh made it very hard to take him out, the way he was rebounding and reading the passing lanes – he and Eddie were excellent at that today – but overall I’m happy that we got guys the minutes they needed ahead of Monday night, which is a rather different challenge.”
Gray was the game’s leading scorer, finishing with 21. Lewis added 20 and Pringle 15, but no-one else got going for Erks as they fell away in the final quarter.
Ipswich now face USA Select at Copleston on Monday, September 12th (7.00pm tip) before opening their Patrons Cup campaign at Kent Crusaders on Saturday, September 17th.