Under-16s play with Fire – and get burned

Ben led Ipswich in scoring, but it was Brentwood who had the better of this one (Image: Nick Winter)

Ipswich under-16 Boys welcomed Brentwood Fire to Copleston in their most recent South Premier Division tie. Fire, one of the pre-season favourites for a playoff berth, entered the game at 0-3, and showed their determination from the first tip not to fall four games below .500.

Brentwood started brightly, and were helped in carving-out an early lead with Ipswich shooting one for six from the foul line, however, a dunk in transition from Veron Eze and a lay-up and three from Ben Winter tied the game at 8 apiece, before an 8-0 run from the guests helped them seize control of the quarter, with only Veron getting on the scoresheet in the remaining five minutes of the first, ending with a 12-19 advantage to Brentwood.

Ipswich opened the second with a three from Joe Hindley and a pair of free-throws, as they cut the Fire lead, but Brentwood held the Suffolk side without a field goal for six minutes, as they snapped off a 13-6 run to stretch their lead to 13 points, before Jack Barnes and Ahmed Yusoof sparked an 8-2 run in the closing minutes, with Captain Winter’s frustration evident as he missed a buzzer-beating opportunity to cut into the lead further. With Ipswich trailing 29-36 at the half.

Brentwood dominated proceedings in the third quarter, holding Ipswich without a field goal for the opening seven minutes of the quarter, and extending their lead to 24 points in the process, before running away with the fourth in a similar manner in a 49-92 loss for Ipswich.

Ben Winter (14), Veron Eze (10) and Joe Hindley (6) led scoring for Ipswich.

Joe and Ben combined for 20 points (Image: Nick Winter)
Joe and Ben combined for 20 points (Image: Nick Winter)

After the game, Coach Arron MacDonald had this to say: “Today was our biggest test of the season to-date – and we failed, spectacularly.”

“It was a bad day at the office all-round. Our shots didn’t fall, our defence and communication were not to our standards, and our heads dropped far too quickly – we simply failed to move onto the next play with any regularity and we were punished for that.”

“We have to remember that they’re young men, they’re not professional players – so there’s going to be some inconsistencies from week-to-week, what we need to make sure though is that we absolutely are consistent in our effort and communication moving forwards – those are standards we’re not going to bend on.

“There are still positives to take away from the game though, through the first half we were down seven points – and our missed free-throws just about covered the points differential at that time – we’d made a really good run to end the first half as well, and we’d made some changes tactically during the course of the game which the guys responded to – but we didn’t really seem to come out for the second half, and we can’t get away with that against teams like Brentwood.

“The main positive for me was seeing how angry and disappointed the lads were after the game. There were a lot of people in the gym who showed up to watch us, and we didn’t give them the performance we’d hoped for. But the fact that they’re so disappointed shows how much they care – I’d be more upset if they just shrugged their shoulders and got on with things.

“The fixture list has thrown us another contender next week at home, so as tough as it might be, we need to pick each other up, dust ourselves off, and move on to the next game – and I fully expect us to be better, and go out there and give our best effort of the season so far.”

Ipswich now move on to face NASSA at Copleston on Saturday 22nd October at 1pm.