Ipswich miss chance to reach summit

Ahmeed's consistent tough play and defensive effort earned him praise from Coach MacDonald (Image: Nick Winter)

Ipswich Under-16 Boys hosted the unbeaten Worthing Thunder at Copleston, with the winner having the opportunity to move to the summit of the South Premier table.

Worthing got off to a fast start, holding Ipswich scoreless until the fourth minute and taking the quarter by eight points, and although the blues fought-back in the second frame, cutting the Thunder lead to two points at one stage, the guests edged away again to take a 37-43 halftime lead.

Thunder pulled away in the third quarter, as they held the hosts to just six points while adding 20 of their own, and while Ipswich again clawed their way back into the game in the final frame, they never managed to get within three scores, before Thunder pulled made it safe in the closing minutes, en route to a 68-84 win.

“There’s only one place for us to begin, and that’s putting the ball in the basket,” said Coach Arron MacDonald. “We missed thirteen layups and ten free-throws in a sixteen-point loss, so as good as Worthing were today – and they really were good – I can’t help but feel like we handed this one to them.”

“Then we had Veron limp off early in the second half, Ethan playing through some back soreness, and were also missing Troy and Matt – all of which conspired to rob us of some of our more established depth and several of our more creative players – so it’s easy to feel like luck’s against you. But we’ll dust ourselves off and get ready to go again next week, and hopefully, put in a better performance.”

“The play of the two Copleston guys off the bench was fantastic. That was easily Rhakeem’s best performance of the year, he caused them some problems at both ends of the court, and I’m running out of superlatives for Ahmeed Yusoof – it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone who plays as consistently hard as him, and he’s improving so quickly too.”

Ben Winter led Ipswich in scoring with 22 points, adding four steals, while Yusoof came off the bench to add 14 points and 8 rebounds – along with some stellar defence on England international Hosana Kitenge. Lewis Tebbit also notched 11 points for the Blues, before fouling-out.

Next up for Ipswich is a trip to Newham Youngbloods on Saturday 12th November.