Ipswich off the mark with high-flying win

Caleb Fuller scythes down the lane for another layup. Nottingham couldn't contain Fuller's athleticism (Image: Pavel Kricka)

Ipswich Basketball 77-61 Nottingham Hoods
National League Division II
Copleston Sports Centre

Caleb Fuller exploded for 28 points, Luke Mascall-Wright went close to a triple-double, and Ipswich Basketball Club registered their first National League Division II victory of the new season in emphatic fashion.

Nick Drane and his coaching staff were left purring by an Ipswich defense which restricted Nottingham Hoods to 36 points over the final three quarters of the game, and by the offensive eruption of their two hugely athletic starting wings.

“We made the conscious effort to put more responsibility on Luke and Caleb’s shoulders… that really worked” – Nick Drane

Visitors Nottingham represented a new, almost unrecognisable threat from last season, when they were anchored by Spanish centre Miguel Lorenzo, who had some epic battles with Ipswich skipper Tom Sadler last season, and shooter Luke Mitchell who is now in college.

The first quarter was a furious back-and-forth in which the two sides combined for nine turnovers and both sides missed chances going to the basket. Plenty of opportunities were being created by the Ipswich post pairing of Leigh Greenan and Daniel Caluico, as well as the hot-starting pair Fuller and Mascall-Wright, but they were being matched at the other end by jump shots from Nottingham’s Kieran Wright, Kallum Dunn and Liam Jefferson. The period finished 25-25.

Beginning in the second quarter, Ipswich began to take control of the game. Still managing the tempo to their liking on offense, the hosts got a shot in the arm from the outside shooting of Colin Dockrell and a timely triple from Cameron Hawes at the buzzer, which gave Ipswich a 42-36 lead into the half-time break.

Colin Dockrell knocks down three of his 11 points (Image: Pavel Kricka)

Nottingham’s offense was no more successful in the second half, as they struggled to find ways to the basket through Ipswich’s athletic defence, anchored by Greenan’s three blocks and an outstanding collective rebounding effort.

Entering the final quarter with a 57-47 lead, Ipswich got a hot start to the period with several uptempo possessions and Fuller’s two handed dunk along the baseline put the exclamation point on a controlling performance.

“It’s a rather different-looking Ipswich team than we may be used to, but if it keeps producing like that, I’ll be a happy man,” said Drane following the win.

“That takes a little bit of the pressure off and reminds us how good we really are as a unit when everyone is motivated and locked in mentally.”

Fuller finished with 28 points to lead all scorers. Mascall-Wright added 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Dockrell tacked on 11 from the bench.

“We have had to adjust our style of play with Tom’s on-going absence – he’s highly unlikely to be available next weekend – and we made the conscious effort to put more responsibility on Luke and Caleb’s shoulders,” added Drane. “Today, that really worked and this result gives us a real boost ahead of next weekend’s double header.”

And the coach reserved special praise for his impact substitute: “Colin was awesome today – how he stepped up just demonstrates how important he is to this team and why we missed him so much in London last week.”

Ipswich are on the road next weekend, with a double-header in Middlesbrough and Newcastle. The team are next at home on Saturday, November 19th, tipping against Doncaster Danum Eagles at 5pm.